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FINELY CRAFTED HISTORICAL FICTION...,
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.