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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from Seton, 19 May 2007
By 
Misfit (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
I am so pleased that this author's novels are being reprinted, I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them, especially Katherine. This is a fascinating tale, based upon the Radcliffs of Derentwater (Devil Water), staunch catholics and loyal to the Stuart cause, and descended from Charles II via the wrong side of the blanket. Charles Radcliff, the younger brother has a secret marriage to a lower born woman who gives birth to the love of his life, his daughter Jenny.

The story takes you from the moors of Northumberland to the Jacobite rebellion of '15 to the tobacco farms of Virginia, and back again to London for a nail biting finish after the final Jacobite rebellion and the battle at Culloden. Seton has a wonderful way of setting her scenes so that you can almost feel you are right there with it. I also enjoyed her way of writing different dialects (the Northumbrians, and the Virginia "twangs"), which definitely enhance the reading experience.

All in all a highly entertaining read, and one I will pick up again and again over the years. It's not quite up to the same par as Katherine (that's a 10 star book in my rating) or the Winthrop Woman but definitely worth the time, especially for any lover of historical fiction.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FINELY CRAFTED HISTORICAL FICTION..., 18 Jun 2008
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
This best selling novel by Anya Seton showcases her at her best. A master storyteller, she weaves a spellbinding work of historical fiction about the Catholic Radcliffe family. It tells the tale of James Ratcliffe, the Earl of Derwentwater, and his younger brother, Charles, first cousins on the wrong side of the blanket to exiled James Stuart, Catholic son of the deposed King James II of England, who had seen his crown usurped by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William, the Prince of Orange.

By right, James Stuart should have been King James III of England. He would see his crown usurped by Mary's sister, his own half-sister, the Protestant Anne. In aligning themselves with the cause of the Catholic Stuarts, James and Charles Radcliffe would become involved in a Jacobite rebellion that was to color and change their lives and the lives of those whom they loved.

The book also focuses on an early misalliance that Charles would have in Northern England that would give him the love of his life, his daughter Jenny. The lives of Charles Radcliffe and Jenny are artfully drawn, taking the reader through two Jacobite rebellions and the political wheeling and dealing that such engendered. The impact that these political intrigues would have upon their lives is well drawn, as is life in early eighteenth century England with all of its grandeur, cruelty, and class distinctions.

The author also takes the reader on a trip to the plantation wilderness of the early colony of Virginia in the New World. It was in Virginia that Jenny would seek refuge from the political quagmire that was England and search for Rob, the man whom she loved who had been transported for something he had done in service of her. It was in Virginia that Jenny would find great happiness, as well as great sorrow, only to discover that to show loyalty to her father she would have to make one final, heartbreaking journey to England.

Based upon actual historical events, the book is a beautifully drawn portrait of early eighteenth century England, as well as the colony of Virginia. Vividly descriptive and replete with the politics and well-known personages of the day, it details the struggle of the Stuart Dynasty to try to regain the throne of England through a number of ill-fated uprisings that were to impact greatly on any number of families, including the prominent Radcliffes. It is a rip-roaring good read and historical fiction at its finest.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE IMPACT OF THE JACOBITE REBELLIONS ON A PROMINENT FAMILY., 26 May 2004
By 
Lawyeraau (Balmoral Castle) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Devil Water (Hardcover)
This best selling novel by Anya Seton showcases her at her best. A master storyteller, she weaves a spellbinding work of historical fiction about the Catholic Radcliffe family. It tells the tale of James, the Earl of Derwentwater, and his younger brother, Charles, first cousins on the wrong side of the blanket to exiled James Stuart, Catholic son of the deposed King James II of England, who had seen his crown usurped by his Protestant daughter Mary and her husband William, the Prince of Orange.
By right, James Stuart should have been King James III of England. He would see his crown usurped by Mary's sister, his own half-sister, the Protestant Anne. In aligning themselves with the cause of the Catholic Stuarts, James and Charles Radcliffe would become involved in a Jacobite rebellion that was to color and change their lives and the lives of those whom they loved.
The book also focuses on an early misalliance that Charles would have in Northern England that would give him the love of his life, his daughter Jenny. The lives of Charles Radcliffe and Jenny are artfully drawn, taking the reader through two Jacobite rebellions and the political wheeling and dealing that such engendered. The impact that these political intrigues would have upon their lives is well drawn, as is life in early eighteenth century England with all of its grandeur, cruelty, and class distinctions.
The author also takes the reader on a trip to the plantation wilderness of the early colony of Virginia in the New World. It was in Virginia that Jenny would seek refuge from the political quagmire that was England and search for Rob, the man whom she loved who had been transported for something he had done in service of her. It was in Virginia that Jenny would find great happiness, as well as great sorrow, only to discover that to show loyalty to her father she would have to make one final, heartbreaking journey to England.
Based upon actual historical events, the book is a beautifully drawn portrait of early eighteenth century England, as well as the colony of Virginia. Vividly descriptive and replete with the politics and well-known personages of the day, it details the struggle of the Stuart Dynasty to try to regain the throne of England through a number of ill-fated uprisings that were to impact greatly on any number of families, including the prominent Radcliffes. It is a rip-roaring good read and historical fiction at its finest.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read, 23 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
This is one of my favourite books, I love most of Anya Seton's books but this is one of the best, bought again because my copy was loaned and not returned. If you are a lover of history this is a must.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anya Seton's novels are adictive., 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
I read all of Anya Seton's novels as a teenager in the 60's and 70's and became hooked. I found myself reading Devil Water and Katherine every 10 years or so. I lost my copies of these books so am delighted to find they have been reprinted. I visited Dilston Castle ruin and the Devil Water when I was a young woman and it made the reading of the book a more profound experience. Having now replaced my copies of these books I am looking forward to re-reading these novels with great anticipation,
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4.0 out of 5 stars Devil Water, 26 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
This was a present for a friend I haven't seen her recently so I can't say if she liked it. I read it years and years ago and I loved the book.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deserves to be back in print, 17 Jan 2004
This is a really great novel. I hesitated before ordering it as I thought it would be just a historical romance. It is (with a difference) but it is also far better than that.
Seton's book brings to life 18th century England, and the book could easily make a good film or TV drama. It's not often that I find a book that I can't put down, but this one was very addictive.
A large part of the book focuses on a child he supposedly had with a common Northumbrian woman. I haven't seen any proper evidence to support this supposition, but it makes a good story.
Leaving aside the story of Jenny and Rob, almost everything else in the book appears to be historically correct.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love all of Anya Seton's books, 7 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
Bought this book to reread after many years. Love all of Anya Seton's books. Just as wonderful as remembered.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars anya seton the queen of historical romance, 23 Aug 2009
By 
L. mckay "brookes_bargain_books" (scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
Don't be fooled that Seton writes only "historical romances" she does, but the are based on real events, with very well written characters. Seton writes in a manner that allows the reader to get to know the charactes, and feel the confines which the time in which they lived.
I haved loved all Setons books, and Devil Water is no exception, enjoy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent historical fiction set during the Jacobite Rebellions, 9 Oct 2011
By 
Helen S - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Devil Water (Paperback)
Devil's Water is the name of the river that flows past Dilston, a village in Northumberland in the north east of England. In the early 18th century, when Anya Seton's novel begins, Dilston is home to the Radcliffe family. James Radcliffe, the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater, and his younger brother, Charles, are descendants of King Charles II and were both real historical figures.

The first half of the book concentrates on the life of Charles Radcliffe and his secret marriage to a working-class Northumberland girl, Meg Snowdon, with whom he has a daughter, Jenny. Both Charles and his brother, the Earl, are Catholics and Jacobites (supporters of the Catholic James Stuart who is living in exile in France while his half-sister, the Protestant Queen Anne, reigns in his place). In 1715 the Radcliffes join the Jacobite Rising in an attempt to put James, who they consider their rightful king, on the throne. When the rebellion ends in defeat, Charles escapes to France and leaves Jenny to be raised in London by his friend, Lady Betty Lee. Throughout the second half of the book the focus is on Jenny's adventures which take her across the Atlantic to the plantations of colonial Virginia in search of Rob Wilson, the man she loves.

This book was particularly interesting to me as I'm from the north east of England myself. There are very few novels set in this part of the country so it was nice to read about places that I'm familiar with. I appreciated the effort Seton made to reproduce various local dialects, depending on whether a character comes from Northumberland, London, Scotland, Ireland, Virginia or elsewhere. Although the northern dialects didn't always seem quite right to me, it wasn't a bad attempt and it gave the book a more authentic feel. And the characters never sounded too modern or used language that felt out of place either.

Although I knew absolutely nothing about the Radcliffes before reading Devil Water, you can always trust that an Anya Seton novel would have been well researched and as historically accurate as she could make it, while bearing in mind that it's still fiction and not everything that happens in the book will be completely factual. This book includes two author's notes at the beginning and end in which she details the research she carried out and explains which parts of the story are likely to be true. There are also some useful maps and family trees which I found myself referring to occasionally. Don't worry though, because the book is easy enough to read and doesn't feel like a history lesson at all.

So, I loved the settings and the time period (I've read historical fiction about the Jacobites before and it always makes me feel sad, knowing what the outcome will be) but I did have one or two problems with the book. I thought it was much longer than it needed to be and seemed to take forever to read; the pacing didn't feel right either - some parts of the book dragged and there were some big jumps forward in time, often leaving gaps of ten years. But the main thing that prevented me from really loving this book was that some of the characters were very difficult to like. I never managed to feel any connection to Charles and was more interested in his brother, the Earl of Derwentwater. And another character, who I had just started to warm to, does something really unforgivable that completely changed my impression of them. I did like Jenny (and a few of the minor characters, such as Betty Lee) but because the people around her were so unlikeable, the story didn't have the emotional impact on me that it might otherwise have done.
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Devil Water
Devil Water by Anya Seton (Paperback - 6 Sep 2007)
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