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The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland. With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first ch The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland. With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.


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The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland. With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first ch The year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland. With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.

30 review for Born of Persuasion

  1. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Griep

    All right. I’ll admit it. I LOVE the villain in Born of Persuasion. Mr. Macy is the most suave and endearing creepy character I’ve ever met…hence my honorary title of President of the Macy Fan Club. No, really. When you’ve finished reading the book, check the acknowledgements. Author Jessica Dotta has penned quite a memorable novel debut—not a light and fluffy read. The writing is exquisite, with danger and intrigue shadowing every scene. A strong undercurrent of who to believe and what to believ All right. I’ll admit it. I LOVE the villain in Born of Persuasion. Mr. Macy is the most suave and endearing creepy character I’ve ever met…hence my honorary title of President of the Macy Fan Club. No, really. When you’ve finished reading the book, check the acknowledgements. Author Jessica Dotta has penned quite a memorable novel debut—not a light and fluffy read. The writing is exquisite, with danger and intrigue shadowing every scene. A strong undercurrent of who to believe and what to believe runs throughout. This is the kind of book to curl up with on a dark, windy evening with a cup of tea and candlelight. Julia is the heroine. Sometimes you’ll ache for her, other times you’ll want to shake some sense into her. Either way, she will evoke emotion in you. Hers is a haunting story, sad and forlorn, yet glimpses of love and hope are sprinkled in at times. Other characters step directly off the pages of an Austen novel or appear to be from Downton Abbey. Nancy, the say-it-like-it-is lady’s maid. Mrs. Windham, a Mrs. Bennett wannabe. Lady Foxmore, conniving and underhanded. All of them are an unforgettable cast. The settings are just as spectacular, think Bleak House mixed with Jane Eyre. Do not expect all your questions to be satisfactorily answered by the end of this first book. In fact, you’ll likely have just as many questions as when you start—which will make it all the more exciting to devour books 2 and 3 when they come out. This is a series that has earned a permanent place on my bookshelves. Highly recommended.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Natalie Vellacott

    I have mixed feelings about this one. I don't really enjoy romance but sometimes make an exception for historical romance provided there is an interesting plot. The book starts off well with interesting characters. I especially liked the character Mrs Windham although I noted that a fair number of the things that she says and does seem to have been borrowed from the character Mrs Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Having watched that movie more times than I can count and read the book recently, the I have mixed feelings about this one. I don't really enjoy romance but sometimes make an exception for historical romance provided there is an interesting plot. The book starts off well with interesting characters. I especially liked the character Mrs Windham although I noted that a fair number of the things that she says and does seem to have been borrowed from the character Mrs Bennett in Pride and Prejudice. Having watched that movie more times than I can count and read the book recently, these things jumped off the page. As a secular novel, I probably would have given this a slightly higher rating but for a Christian book I was disappointed. The main Christian character, a vicar, abandons his calling to pursue a woman that has just married someone else. There is then a fair bit of discussion as to how to get the woman out of her doomed marriage. But there were no real grounds even from a secular viewpoint let alone a biblical one. What is the message there? It hardly says much for the sanctity of marriage in the eyes of God or the importance of keeping marriage vows. In a quick divorce society it isn't really helpful for a Christian author to be advocating looking for a way out of a marriage regardless the circumstance. The underlying theme that love conquers all is also suspect... There were romantic scenes that got quite steamy in places although I wouldn't describe it as graphic. It might bother some readers. There was no bad language and only mild violence. There is barely a mention of God, indeed the main character is an atheist from a prominent family of atheists and doesn't seem to change her views during the narrative. Whilst not overly offensive, I think more could have been made of this novel especially from a Christian angle as the author states that that was her intent in her bio. She notes that at one point there was too much about God and at another not enough...I guess in the end she chose the latter option which in my view was a mistake. Trying to write a book with Christian principles to entertain a secular audience is virtually impossible. I believe authors should stick to one or the other. I cannot recommend this book and an unsure yet whether I will bother with the sequels.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Silver Petticoat

    Review by Autumn Topping Who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned Jane Austen like historical romance? Or an entertaining, Gothic and Bronte ‘esque’ suspense-filled mystery? Well, I know I eat these stories up faster than I can a piece of chocolate cake. Unfortunately, finding these types of stories (or at least good ones) outside the classics are sadly few and far between. In Jessica Dotta’s debut novel, however, I finally found one I could devour; each page hypnotizing me with its power to uncove Review by Autumn Topping Who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned Jane Austen like historical romance? Or an entertaining, Gothic and Bronte ‘esque’ suspense-filled mystery? Well, I know I eat these stories up faster than I can a piece of chocolate cake. Unfortunately, finding these types of stories (or at least good ones) outside the classics are sadly few and far between. In Jessica Dotta’s debut novel, however, I finally found one I could devour; each page hypnotizing me with its power to uncover what happens next. Born of Persuasion, the first in the Price of Privilege Trilogy is a brilliant introduction for Dotta, its magic emanating not only from its classic “sense,” but also from its very modern “sensibility.” In the year 1838, Julia Elliston finds herself orphaned under tragic circumstances and suddenly placed under the whims of an aloof guardian who plans to send her off to Scotland as a widow’s companion. With immense pressure to live as a servant, Julia feels she has no choice but to catch a husband. When her first love Edward is unable to marry her, the reader is left wondering if the impetuous Julia will instead turn to the dark, yet mysterious Mr. Macy. Part Jane Austen (Mrs. Windham strongly echoes Mrs. Bennet) and part Charlotte Bronte, Jessica Dotta weaves a Gothic story effortlessly into the world of petticoats, scandals, secret engagements, and marriage proposals. Dotta is so good at suspense that she had me questioning the characters’ motives and feelings at every corner. Does Julia love Edward despite his religious beliefs or does she love the handsome Mr. Macy who claims he can protect her from danger? And who can she truly trust when no one is exactly as they seem? Romantic and entertaining to its core (with excellent mysteries thrown in for good measure), I was literally on the edge of my seat. Sure, sometimes Julia’s choices made me want to knock some sense into her, but mostly I felt just as torn as Julia between the charismatic Macy and the moral but tortured Edward. Truly, my only real complaint is that the novel ended without an actual ending. I still don’t have all the answers I was seeking (like who can I ‘really’ trust) and will have to wait patiently for the next two books to find out. One character’s motivations are particularly open ended in a: “I really want to know the truth” way. Nevertheless, there is no doubt I will consume the next two novels as swiftly as they become available. Solid characters, alluring romances, and a vivid picture of Victorian England that transports you back in time, all make for a compelling read. If you love Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, or even television series like Downton Abbey, this novel is for you. Overall, the title Born of Persuasion sums it up perfectly; for by the story’s end, I could not help but be persuaded to love it. www.silverpetticoatreview.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    "I think I've made some progress with her. The last time I spoke to her about God she neither pitched an apple at me,shoved me in a creek, nor made a most unladylike display of herself by screaming and running away." I'm of the apple-pitching variety, so it's safe to say that I wouldn't have read this book had I realized it was Christian fiction. I guess I thought Christian fiction would be less entertaining and more informative; i.e., getting served the message. But what a surprise this book wa "I think I've made some progress with her. The last time I spoke to her about God she neither pitched an apple at me,shoved me in a creek, nor made a most unladylike display of herself by screaming and running away." I'm of the apple-pitching variety, so it's safe to say that I wouldn't have read this book had I realized it was Christian fiction. I guess I thought Christian fiction would be less entertaining and more informative; i.e., getting served the message. But what a surprise this book was! Julia's mother dies, leaving her to the care of an anonymous guardian, who plans to send her to Scotland to work as a companion to a stranger. Julia, penniless and alone, has two months to secure a better future for herself. She hopes to marry her childhood sweetheart but their relationship ends in disaster, and so Julia enlists the help of eccentric Lady Foxmore to find a husband. Lady Foxmore introduces Julia to Chance Macy, a rich and charming man with a dark past, and Julia soon finds herself the object of his seduction. This book had a lot of things going for it and one big flaw. The gothic overtones were great, the plot was intriguing, and a number of the characters were mysterious. But! The main character was passive, a reluctant observer in her own life, which may be accurate for the time period, but was incredibly frustrating to read. I wanted her to do something! Say something! Stomp her feet and scream! Steal a horse and run off! Instead, she wept and cried and sobbed, then buried her face in the chest of the nearest male. She was weak, indecisive, and naive. Had she shown a little courage and cleverness, a voice, this would have been a better book. But that said, I'm still curious enough to read the next in the series, and I hope we see some character growth. 2.5/5

  5. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I picked this up at the library knowing nothing about it but what the back cover said. It sat on my shelf till almost the due date and then I thought heck I'm bored I'll give it a try. I am so glad I did! This was great, it was much more than a Christian read or a mystery or a romance. The writing at first was a little shaky until I caught on to how the author was writing this book. A lot of looking back and a little confusion over some scenes, if I read it over again it would all make sense. On I picked this up at the library knowing nothing about it but what the back cover said. It sat on my shelf till almost the due date and then I thought heck I'm bored I'll give it a try. I am so glad I did! This was great, it was much more than a Christian read or a mystery or a romance. The writing at first was a little shaky until I caught on to how the author was writing this book. A lot of looking back and a little confusion over some scenes, if I read it over again it would all make sense. One other thing that bothered me was our lading lady. She seemed to change about halfway threw the book and close in on herself and get run over. By the end of the book I understood why she did this and had to remind myself she was only 17 and being thrown around by much older more experienced men. I loved all the characters and they were all written so well. I loved the mystery and how it unfolded and loved being shocked at the end when a lot was reveled! It was great. I was a little worried this was not going to be as clean as I like but have no fear this author keeps it clean:} Not squeaky, there are some kissing scenes and alluding to more by the characters, but nothing happens. There is no preaching, there is just a vicar with his convictions about God and a character who doesn't believe in a God and her change. A non Christian could read this and love it. This is an adult read or older teen. I have one frustration and that is that I thought the series was done and I am guessing it is just not released yet:{ And this is just the first book, lots of things get resolved and it ends ok but I wanted more. Keeping my eye on this author.

  6. 5 out of 5

    S. Wideman

    Where to begin? How about, you can literally take Julia (the FMC) out of the story and 80% wouldn't change? I couldn't even find a character I liked. Julia, through whom we see the world through, is a lump on a log. No, hold on, that's an insult to lumps and logs. I'd call her a doormat, but even those have spines. A jellyfish can move. She's a bit of spit on the floor, a weed in the ocean. No movement of her own, but buffeted about on the plans and winds of others with not a single thought in h Where to begin? How about, you can literally take Julia (the FMC) out of the story and 80% wouldn't change? I couldn't even find a character I liked. Julia, through whom we see the world through, is a lump on a log. No, hold on, that's an insult to lumps and logs. I'd call her a doormat, but even those have spines. A jellyfish can move. She's a bit of spit on the floor, a weed in the ocean. No movement of her own, but buffeted about on the plans and winds of others with not a single thought in her head except what the person is with would want her to be. Thank god it ended when it did because if she blushed or burst into tears one more time, I was going to toss my kindle across the room. She is the most useless heroine of all time. Julia is orphaned by the time the book starts, the daughter of a well-known Atheist. She has nothing in her head except what others expect of her, and they all expect her to be quiet and meek. She can't stand up for herself, and her being an Atheist only comes into play if she's alone and thinking about how wicked and cruel the church is. I think she only stands by this once in the whole book, and that is in her ONE act of outrage when she is trying to convince Edward the Vicar (and one of the men she's bouncing between) that they are incompatible. She is sent to live with her aunt, who I did get a laugh out of with her obvious drama-queening. However, she never says anything and lets her aunt roll over her, lets Lady Foxmore roll over her, and then lets Edward and Mr Macy roll over her. She never stands up for herself, even when her reputation is on the line. Oh, no, she blushes and looks down. I found this to be dreadfully dull. It was a very dialog-heavy book where there was no action to help alleviate the talk. A lot of the scenes were people talking around Julia as if she weren't there, and she barely talked in the whole book. She was stringing two men along because she couldn't stand up for herself. Instead of saying, "I love X and that's who I want to be with" she only loved X if she was with him and loved Y if she was with him. If she were presented as a character who enjoyed seduction and played with it, that would be one thing for her to accept the romantic interludes of both her suitors, but she was portrayed as an innocent who knew nothing. Which means, I hate her all the more for being such a spineless twit that she lets any man paw at her because she's too "innocent" to know the word NO. Normally in these books, the heroines are obvious 21st century feminists, but this character was the exact opposite. Instead of standing up for herself, she let those around her bully her into everything. Everytime someone decides to marry her off, she's silent. Her aunt nearly marries her off to someone, and it's her cousin Elizabeth who saves her. Not Julia, who stood there "in shock" and said nothing in the whole scene. Then Lady Foxmore decides to marry her off, and the only time she talks is to say sure. She was the most boring and useless heroine ever.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Naomi Rawlings

    Let me start by saying that the author, Jessica Dotta, has a truly amazing talent for writing. I was absolutely in awe of the way she brought some of the historical period details to light and described some of the heroine's emotions. Furthermore some of the intrigue and mystery surrounding the heroine's mother's death is really well done and kept me waiting to see what would happen. However, my enjoyment of the novel ended with the excellent writing and intrigue. The story starts rather slowly, Let me start by saying that the author, Jessica Dotta, has a truly amazing talent for writing. I was absolutely in awe of the way she brought some of the historical period details to light and described some of the heroine's emotions. Furthermore some of the intrigue and mystery surrounding the heroine's mother's death is really well done and kept me waiting to see what would happen. However, my enjoyment of the novel ended with the excellent writing and intrigue. The story starts rather slowly, but more importantly, it ends very abruptly. Literally. The heroine is at a person's house waiting for someone to return, and the novel simply ends. There's no resolution to anything, just a bunch of questions. I understand that sometimes writers will pen series in which a story line stretches through multiple books. But when that happens, I usually like a little closure at the end of each individual novel, and I usually like to know that a book is part of a continuous series before I start reading it. The book description information I found for Born of Persuasion offered no such information, nor was I able to ascertain when the second book in the series would be out or get a quick description of that book. But even more than the abrupt ending, I found the main character, Julia, to be extremely frustrating. I liked her at the beginning of the novel, but as the story progressed, she made a rather large train wreck for herself. She has rather large emotional swings, deciding she loves someone and then doesn't love them within extremely short time spans, and and she tramples all the good advice she gets from the people who clearly love and care for her. I like stories about women who face incredible odds, often fighting against society's restrictions to forge a way for themselves, but this story is quite the opposite. Julia makes herself into easy prey instead of being strong. She behaves like an out of control, moody teenager for most of the story. So then when everything explodes, am I supposed to feel sorry for her? I didn't. I felt like she got everything she deserved, but sadly, I then had to watch other honorable characters fall with her because of her reckless, emotional decisions. I usually don't write harsh reviews, but I wanted to let others know what to expect with this story. I see lots of hope for the author, and perhaps even hope for future books in this series if the main character grows up, but I didn't enjoy this novel. If you like books with a literary feel and not a strong emphasis on romance, or if you don't mind a story with an immature heroine, then you might really enjoy Born of Persuasion. I prefer books with mature characters and where the romance gets resolved, so this story wasn't for me. I received a free ebook of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gina Holmes

    This book is definitely Bronte meets Austin. The descriptions are amazing. The characters are absolutely wonderful and the storyline romantic, suspenseful and delightfully twisted. It's one of my favorite books of all times I can't recommend it enough! This book is definitely Bronte meets Austin. The descriptions are amazing. The characters are absolutely wonderful and the storyline romantic, suspenseful and delightfully twisted. It's one of my favorite books of all times I can't recommend it enough!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Loved it! So eager to get my hands on the next book! It's been about a month since I read it, so this isn't as proper of a review as I would like, but I thought I'd share some thoughts anyway. Born of Persuasion begins with a mystery, but just how layered that mystery turns out to be was quite a surprise for this reader. The twists just kept on coming. At times I didn't quite understand what was going on, but the way it all comes to light was so compelling. A lot of books get compared to Austen a Loved it! So eager to get my hands on the next book! It's been about a month since I read it, so this isn't as proper of a review as I would like, but I thought I'd share some thoughts anyway. Born of Persuasion begins with a mystery, but just how layered that mystery turns out to be was quite a surprise for this reader. The twists just kept on coming. At times I didn't quite understand what was going on, but the way it all comes to light was so compelling. A lot of books get compared to Austen and Bronte, and sometimes it's not true, but it is certainly true for this book. It has a wonderful blend of suspense and that Gothic touch that I love, and though comparisons have been made among readers, this story is by no means a carbon-copy of either of those beloved authors. The character development is strong, yet at times I was frustrated with Julia. She comes across as naive at times, however, she is very young and her behavior is true-to-life in that regard. It also felt realistic to the time period. Though she is shattered by grief and hardship, Julia is no victim and comes to fight the manipulation of those who would use her to their gain. I'm really eager to see her grow & change even more in book two. Edward, who at first appears as distant and cold as Rochester, is a pleasant surprise in the story, as more and more of his character is revealed. I was so drawn to the complexity of their relationship and shared their confusion and grief, especially because it's so tied in so well with the spiritual aspect of the story. Belief versus unbelief, duty versus love, seeing how this plays on in the next book will be intriguing for sure. And Mr. Macy...basically, I wanted to throw myself in his arms and punch him at the same time. He is the worst kind of antagonist, his power so subtle yet there in a flash if questioned, over and over again I found myself falling under his skillful manipulation right along with Julia. Truly, he is a remarkable character in the sense that he is so enigmatic - I knew I wasn't supposed to like him, my senses were on high alert, and yet he knows just what to say to sway Julia to his will. The ending is abrupt, which I was kind of expecting considering it's first in the trilogy, but it's also quite the cliffhanger too. Book two is out now, and my advice is to buy them both and save yourself the wait. I've already purchased book two and plan on reading it as soon as I can!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Another awesome freebie, you guys! :D

  11. 4 out of 5

    Iola

    Like the old nursery rhyme, when Born of Persuasion was good, it was very very good. But when it was bad, it was horrid. Julia Elliston is seventeen, recently orphaned, and about to be sent to Scotland against her will to become a lady’s companion. In order to escape this fate dictated by her unknown guardian, she goes to visit her old friends in Am Meer, in the hopes of reconnecting with Edward, son of Lord Auburn, to whom she is secretly engaged. But Julia is the daughter of England’s most famo Like the old nursery rhyme, when Born of Persuasion was good, it was very very good. But when it was bad, it was horrid. Julia Elliston is seventeen, recently orphaned, and about to be sent to Scotland against her will to become a lady’s companion. In order to escape this fate dictated by her unknown guardian, she goes to visit her old friends in Am Meer, in the hopes of reconnecting with Edward, son of Lord Auburn, to whom she is secretly engaged. But Julia is the daughter of England’s most famous atheist, and Edward is now an ordained Anglican minister. Compelled (for no known reason) to resist her guardian’s plan, she enlists the help of Lady Foxmore in finding her a husband, and they are soon en route to Bedfordshire, to the estate of Mr Chance Macy. Born of Persuasion is written in the first person, and it took a long time before we actually found out the name of the narrator (which annoyed me) or where she is (beyond being somewhere in England). It’s clear from Julia’s personal interjections that she’s telling the story from the future, and she assumes knowledge the reader doesn’t have (such as “I scarce have need to describe Mr Forrester, as his notoriety continues to this day”. It is several more chapters before we find out why Mr Forrester is notorious). I had the continual feeling of only having part of the story, as though there was a first book I’d missed (there isn’t). While first person isn’t unusual in gothic fiction, it is also something that annoys many readers. For me, it depends on whether I like the narrator. I found Julia to be an annoying narrator. I was never sure if she was naïve and innocent, or simply stupid (it would be useful to know if she’s writing from the near or distant future. If she’s writing only a couple of years in her own future, I’d be inclined to see her as naïve. As it is, she comes across as inconsistent, unreliable and unlikeable, so I’m more inclined to go with stupid). Endorsements for Born of Persuasion compare Jessica Dotta to authors such as Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Phillipa Gregory and Sarah Dunant. Yes there were echoes of Austen in the unlikeable characters, except that Austen wrote characters like Mrs Bennett and Mr Collins as jokes. There were echoes of the Bronte sisters in the gothic suspense, and there were echoes Dickens in the length and the way it took a lot of words to say not very much. I’ve not read Sarah Dunant, so can’t comment except to say that based on the titles, I doubt Tyndale, a Christian publisher, would publish her books. And the comparison to Phillipa Gregory, a novelist famous for her historical sex romps? What was Tyndale thinking? Are they going to be comparing their authors to EL James next? Because anyone who enjoyed Wideacre or The Other Boleyn Girl is going to be dreadfully disappointed at the lack of explicit sex in Born of Persuasion. I’d compare it more to the gothic romances of Mary Stewart and Victoria Holt, except that I actually enjoyed those authors. While I was relieved at the lack of explicit sex, I wasn’t impressed by the lack of Christian content. Edward, the only Christian character in the book, spends the first part of the book being totally unpleasant. He improves, but only because his character has an inexplicable personality transplant. Julia loathes the very concept of God because of the way her family was treated by the village priest. Apparently Born of Persuasion is allegorical. If so, I hope Edward isn’t supposed to be the Jesus figure. Another problem was the moral ambiguity. I like books where the hero and heroine are good, and the villain is bad. In Born of Persuasion, I couldn’t tell. This is ambiguous to the point that I'm not convinced, even at the end, that Julia is close to the truth. This leads into the final problem: the ending. While it’s not a cliffhanger ending, it’s clear the story isn’t yet complete. This is the first book in a trilogy, so I guess it’s going to take all three books before all the questions about Julia, Edward and Macy are answered, not to mention the fate of minor characters such as Elizabeth and Henry. Will I be reading the sequel? I doubt it. And I certainly wouldn’t buy it. Thanks to Tyndale and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rambling Readers

    Unpredictable, rich, and dramatic, "Born of Persuasion" is a captivating debut novel. Jessica Dotta's style is described as reminiscent of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, and the influence is clear from the beginning. A few of Dotta's characters called to mind some personalities from Jane Austen's works. The English countryside with its quaint cottages and imposing estates sets a familiar scene, perfectly complimenting the story that it frames. "Born of Persuasion" is vastly different from a Unpredictable, rich, and dramatic, "Born of Persuasion" is a captivating debut novel. Jessica Dotta's style is described as reminiscent of Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters, and the influence is clear from the beginning. A few of Dotta's characters called to mind some personalities from Jane Austen's works. The English countryside with its quaint cottages and imposing estates sets a familiar scene, perfectly complimenting the story that it frames. "Born of Persuasion" is vastly different from any of the inspirational, historical fiction novels that I have read in the past few years. This is one book that is impossible to confuse with any other; it is undeniably unique. Dotta establishes suspense and questions from the very first sentence and does not release the reader from the pull of the plot. Told in first-person perspective by the heroine, Julia Elliston, the story leaves the reader questioning the motives of nearly every character. Foreshadowing is a common element used to hint at upcoming peril throughout the course of the plot. Julia takes the reader into her personal confidence as she tells her oftentimes heartbreaking story. Her decisions are not perfect and her faith is practically nonexistent. She unveils her actions and their consequences slowly, building drama and keeping the reader's attention. I am still questioning the actions of certain characters and debating over who will ultimately be revealed as good and bad. There is enough of a conclusion to hint at the answers, but "Born of Persuasion" is full of so many unexpected turns that it is almost impossible to guess what the other two novels in the series may reveal. The only downfall is that we must wait in anticipation for a year before the next novel, "Mark of Distinction," is released. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  13. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    WOW WOW WOW Ten minutes early to work? I read. Lunch break? I read. Brushing my teeth before bed? I read. I was captivated by this novel. This is Jessica Dotta’s debut novel, and if it is any indication of what her writing career will bring, I am very much excited. She is a skilled writer who kept me glued to the pages the entire length of the novel. I was completely wrapped up in it. Julia Elliston narrates the troublesome time in her life following the death of her parents. She has an unknown gu WOW WOW WOW Ten minutes early to work? I read. Lunch break? I read. Brushing my teeth before bed? I read. I was captivated by this novel. This is Jessica Dotta’s debut novel, and if it is any indication of what her writing career will bring, I am very much excited. She is a skilled writer who kept me glued to the pages the entire length of the novel. I was completely wrapped up in it. Julia Elliston narrates the troublesome time in her life following the death of her parents. She has an unknown guardian sending her away, but in the two months she has before her departure, she seeks to attain her future. From there, things get crazy. Crazy awesome. The eerie atmosphere of this book coupled with the mystery and intrigue that fills each page creates an exciting read. Because this book is written from Julia’s point of view, we only see and feel what she feels. Thus, her confusion and uncertainty make the reader feel her emotions and fear in the midst of all that is going on around her. As Julia tries to navigate her rapidly changing life, she makes misguided decisions that further entangle and complicate her predicament. And the characters! Edward. Mr. Macy. These two men couldn’t be more different. Edward is kind, honorable, and self-sacrificing. Mr. Macy is all charm, yet there is a sinister, dangerous man lurking beneath his well-constructed exterior. Will Julia fall for this untouchable man, or be led back to the safety of her childhood love? Does she even know her own heart? And how will the things Julia does not know affect her life? So many shocking moments are in this book. I was continually surprised by unexpected twists and turns that I had not anticipated, which made this read very enjoyable. Yes, it ends on a cliffhanger. And I have SO MANY QUESTIONS. Mainly, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT? I must find out! 1st read: 6/2014 2nd read: 7/2015 3rd read: 7/2016 4th read: 8/2020

  14. 5 out of 5

    Larik

    Born of Persuasion What a mix!! Jassica Dotta has quite a talent to spin a tale full of enchanted history, heart wrenching love and a mystery that will curl your toes with worry. I devoured each chapter being even more captivated then I was by Jane Austen’s heartfelt humorous stories. I personally liked Julia and the decision she made to ditch Eduard and marry Mr. Macy. I would love to see them back together. She is one person who can heal him and redeem his dark past if she gave him the chance. Ed Born of Persuasion What a mix!! Jassica Dotta has quite a talent to spin a tale full of enchanted history, heart wrenching love and a mystery that will curl your toes with worry. I devoured each chapter being even more captivated then I was by Jane Austen’s heartfelt humorous stories. I personally liked Julia and the decision she made to ditch Eduard and marry Mr. Macy. I would love to see them back together. She is one person who can heal him and redeem his dark past if she gave him the chance. Eduard in my opinion is more of a coward. He should have married her or at least done something to protect her before she was in an untangled fix. I can’t wait for the Sequel. I know Jassica will make me count days till next one is released. I apologize if I gave away any secrets I just couldn’t help myself, I’m full of worry for what will happen next, not so much Edward but Mr. Macy. Julia doesn’t know anything about him for sure just what Eduard presumed so I believe there is still hope for his wrenched soul. Readers, this is a must read!!! Way more than I expected for a debut novel!!! Here lies true talent and I am not surprised that this story had her bind for so many years – it needed to be told. I feel ecstatic for having the privilege to read an advanced copy, I got so caught up in it that I already got a couple of friends in line to read it!!!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather Brinkerhoff Burdsal

    Worst. Book. Ever. I am absolutely astounded by the complete and utter worthlessness of the character of Julia. I have never before met a heroine who not only lacked any semblance of spine, but also common sense, curiosity, self-respect, discernment, restraint, and basic cognitive skills. The only reason I kept reading was to see to what degree Julia would let other people determine the course of her life without summoning the nerve and attention span to actually finish an important conversation Worst. Book. Ever. I am absolutely astounded by the complete and utter worthlessness of the character of Julia. I have never before met a heroine who not only lacked any semblance of spine, but also common sense, curiosity, self-respect, discernment, restraint, and basic cognitive skills. The only reason I kept reading was to see to what degree Julia would let other people determine the course of her life without summoning the nerve and attention span to actually finish an important conversation. I weep over the hours of my life wasted on this book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Wow, now that's a gothic novel! My feelings are all jumbled up and I feel more lost than Julia. A great mysterious story. I never knew what direction this was going to take and couldn't put it down. I'm so torn about Chance and Edward. I don't know how to FEEL! This is my first book by Ms Dotta and I loved it. Great writing and I'm in love with her writing style. I've already secured book two and will be reading it directly. Wow, now that's a gothic novel! My feelings are all jumbled up and I feel more lost than Julia. A great mysterious story. I never knew what direction this was going to take and couldn't put it down. I'm so torn about Chance and Edward. I don't know how to FEEL! This is my first book by Ms Dotta and I loved it. Great writing and I'm in love with her writing style. I've already secured book two and will be reading it directly.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aerykah

    Well, this was a very disappointing read... I ended up speed-reading most of it just to get to the end and see how things turned out. I didn't like the writing style or the storyline or the characters... Unfortunately, this was a very unsatisfying book. I'll have to think a while before deciding if I'll try this author again. Well, this was a very disappointing read... I ended up speed-reading most of it just to get to the end and see how things turned out. I didn't like the writing style or the storyline or the characters... Unfortunately, this was a very unsatisfying book. I'll have to think a while before deciding if I'll try this author again.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    Sumptuous historical detail, gorgeous writing. Truly a blend of Jane Austen humor and Bronte dark drama. I adored the characterizations, and the author's ability to keep me guessing til the last page. I'm so glad I have the rest of the series because the end of this book felt more like the end of a chapter, with not enough resolution to suit me. Must keeep reading! Sumptuous historical detail, gorgeous writing. Truly a blend of Jane Austen humor and Bronte dark drama. I adored the characterizations, and the author's ability to keep me guessing til the last page. I'm so glad I have the rest of the series because the end of this book felt more like the end of a chapter, with not enough resolution to suit me. Must keeep reading!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    Unfortunately at this time I will not be able to finish reading this book. I read about half of it and was not getting into it and it wasn't holding my interest and due to the large amount of review books I have, I just don't have the time to waste on a book I don't even like. Unfortunately at this time I will not be able to finish reading this book. I read about half of it and was not getting into it and it wasn't holding my interest and due to the large amount of review books I have, I just don't have the time to waste on a book I don't even like.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rissi

    Let's start with a confession. As a girl who hasn’t read “Gothic” fiction – or had very little exposure to it, the most prominent name in the genre that comes to mind when calling to mind its singular style are the Bronte sisters. Between the three of them, the genre was proudly represented – albeit often with a tragic outcome. Debuting in the fiction market – and her first novel, this year, Jessica Dotta is bringing a fresh voice to the genre lending a unique perspective and narrative to the yo Let's start with a confession. As a girl who hasn’t read “Gothic” fiction – or had very little exposure to it, the most prominent name in the genre that comes to mind when calling to mind its singular style are the Bronte sisters. Between the three of them, the genre was proudly represented – albeit often with a tragic outcome. Debuting in the fiction market – and her first novel, this year, Jessica Dotta is bringing a fresh voice to the genre lending a unique perspective and narrative to the young heroine. The story opens with the 17-year-old Julia Elliston arriving at Am Meer, the simple estate is home to Julia's best friend, Elizabeth and her mother Mrs. Windham who attempts to socially control Julia under the guise of being her “chaperone.” Under the protection of a mysterious “guardian” who is planning to place Julia in a service position in Scotland, Julia make plans of her own in order to rid herself of this faceless stranger but before that can see reality, she is soon caught in the middle of a power struggle she doesn’t understand and becomes a pawn of a woman of the aristocracy – a fragile position that could be her undoing. During the first fourth of the novel, I have to be honest, I struggled through this. The overview of the book is excellent, it begs a new kind of curiosity and demands attention, yet nothing seemed to go anywhere whereas Julia was a predicament of a character – instead of using the history of Julia’s past to purposely drive the premise, the character seemed never to fully “reveal” herself. Ironically, the first person narrative should facilitate better knowledge of the heroine if no one else, yet Jessica seemed to keep her character’s verbal emotions close, even as her thoughts play across each page – she shifts from sorrow, anger and scared reactions rapidly in those thoughts, but expressing them never verbalizes – it feels like she’s always on the cusp of reacting, but no more. Here is the real – and possibly the only significant failing of the novel, there is a lot of disappointment in repeatedly experiencing Julia’s mute, uninspired reactions. Time and time again, the narrative reads more as if its protagonist were the narrator (sometimes veering off from being “in the present” and suggesting Julia is thinking back on her life instead of living it) rather than a present part of the conversation. In Jessica’s author note, she recounts her journey to finally publishing this book; it was a story that she branded as “insisting” to be told and really, it’s a grand one. Skillfully written, I was impressed by the period detail and the subtle intrigue – everything we learn is on dubious ground and begs to be questioned. Each subject vacillates between “good” and “evil,” nearly every character is called out by their peers to question their intentions and as a reader, our own trust of these players experiences highs and lows. While reading I wanted to like Julia’s dalliance with Macy – he seemed kind and loving of her in several expressions, then his temper inspires distrust and everything encouraging is torn down. Somewhere between his deceptive charm and tender care of Julia, I wanted to believe there was a good man inside. Considering the end of the book, there are many things to be unresolved and it’ll be grand fun to see what comes next over the spanned trilogy. Readers who enjoy a taste of classic stylized fiction will enjoy this historical tale of intrigue. There was rarely a passage that went by in which I didn’t recognize elements of Jane Austen deftly transitioning into similarities of Gothic Bronte. Jessica cleverly managed this feat – impressively so, any fan of the genre should expect a memorable debut. Sincere thanks to author Jessica Dotta for providing a complimentary copy of this book. © Copyright 2011-2013 Dreaming Under the Same Moon / Scribbles, Scripts and Such

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bekah Malik

    Set in England 1838, Victorian society demands the utmost propriety. Julia Elliston has just lost her mother, making her an orphan. Her mysterious guardian has withheld his identity from her—all she knows is that he plans for her to move to Scotland to become an older lady’s companion, seriously lowering her status. Abandoned and hurting, she goes to stay with her friends Mrs. Windham and her daughter Elizabeth with the hope that she will see her childhood love, Edward, and he will save her. Whe Set in England 1838, Victorian society demands the utmost propriety. Julia Elliston has just lost her mother, making her an orphan. Her mysterious guardian has withheld his identity from her—all she knows is that he plans for her to move to Scotland to become an older lady’s companion, seriously lowering her status. Abandoned and hurting, she goes to stay with her friends Mrs. Windham and her daughter Elizabeth with the hope that she will see her childhood love, Edward, and he will save her. When their meeting doesn’t go quite as planned, Julia is crushed that her childlike fantasies were just that—fantasy. She’s also introduced to Chance Macy, a mysterious, charming man with a dangerous past. What happens next will leave your head spinning as Julia’s world comes crashing down around her. Who will she choose? Who can she trust? I don’t even know how to write a review that will justly describe this book. It deserves more than 5 stars—more like 6 stars…or 10 stars…heck! It deserves 100! I judge mostly all books with three simple questions. 1) Does the book make you feel? 2) Did you like the characters? 3) Is it well written? The answer is yes, yes, and YES. Born of Persuasion goes so above and beyond anything I’ve read in this genre. How did I feel reading this book? I laughed out loud, yelled in frustration, cried with sympathy, and cheered characters on. I had to have looked like a crazy person while reading it. How did I like the characters? They were real, charismatic, and highly engaging. The love triangle between Julia and Edward and Macy was heart breaking, yet I have to admit also very exciting. I may or may not have squealed a few times. Julia was an atheist, which was an interesting contrast to Edward’s strong faith. He made some very good arguments and gave an analogy that was a real gem. I can’t wait to see if Julia accepts that her Heavenly Father loves her. The relationship between childhood friends Julia, Edward, Elizabeth, and Henry was just precious. I loved the flashbacks. And I can’t tell you how many times Lady Foxmore and Mrs. Windham made me laugh! Was it well written? The writing was almost poetic, that's how brilliantly worded it was. I really enjoyed the fact that the POV is from Julia’s older self. It made for such an interesting, unique, and enlightening perspective. I simply cannot believe that this is the author’s debut novel. I am forever a fan. She forces you to slow down and savor every beautiful word as the twists and turns leave you feeling breathless with excitement. I mean, the plot twists in this book were mind blowing. I never knew what was going to happen… I need to know what happens! I am still reeling from all the surprises and turns it took. One thing for sure, anything Jessica Dotta writes in the future, let’s just say as soon as it releases I’ll be reading! If you are a fan of Jane Austen or the Brontë sisters, the Price of Privilege series is a MUST. Addicting, tragic, alluring, mysterious, humorous, mind-blowing, charming, and completely enthralling is how I would describe this first book. Born of Persuasion sucks you in and doesn’t let go. Suggestion: Do not start this book in the nighttime. I literally stayed up all night to see what happens. I can’t wait to start book #2, Mark of Distinction! Check this book out—you won’t be disappointed! http://willbakeforbooks.blogspot.com/...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    This is a library copy. I chose the book because I was curious about the author, and because it was available in my local library. That means I did not choose it for the story or genre. I am not a fan of Jane Austen or Victorian literature. I really wanted to like the book. I did not. The best thing I can say, which may not be in its favor, is that it is compelling reading which puts the reader in the midst of the action and keeps curiosity peaked. Which is the only reason I read to the end. That This is a library copy. I chose the book because I was curious about the author, and because it was available in my local library. That means I did not choose it for the story or genre. I am not a fan of Jane Austen or Victorian literature. I really wanted to like the book. I did not. The best thing I can say, which may not be in its favor, is that it is compelling reading which puts the reader in the midst of the action and keeps curiosity peaked. Which is the only reason I read to the end. That and the hope that the ending would make it worthwhile. As it turns out, it's the first of a series, not a stand alone. The characters were all flawed, hopelessly. Not one carried a strong personal relationship with God. Nothing was resolved in the book. The problems at the beginning were still in existence on the last page. The writing was not tight. Never, and I mean never, do I skip over whole lines and paragraphs just to see what's coming next -- I did, without missing anything. If the author intended layers to the story, they were not obvious. God was not present anywhere in this book. I do not recommend this book. While the language is clean, it is an adult read with suggested promiscuity which is unnecessary to the story. I particularly think this book is not a good read for women who have been abused by anyone. I really don't like giving negative reviews.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Shannah Mauney

    Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved this book. There are so many twists and turns and surprises. I don't know what to do with myself until the next one comes out! You can see my full review here. Oh my goodness! I absolutely loved this book. There are so many twists and turns and surprises. I don't know what to do with myself until the next one comes out! You can see my full review here.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen (Kat) Smith

    "Later, when I allowed myself to confront the memories, to dwell on the particulars, I realized my arrival at Am Meer marked the beginning. Not the mysterious letters that drained the life from Mama. Not her suicide. And not the two men arriving at dusk, stomping mud from their boots in the foyer, bearing ill tidings. Nay-not even the disconcerting news that I had a guardian, one who intended to keep me sequestered. For those happenings were not my story. I was sinless there. They were the end r "Later, when I allowed myself to confront the memories, to dwell on the particulars, I realized my arrival at Am Meer marked the beginning. Not the mysterious letters that drained the life from Mama. Not her suicide. And not the two men arriving at dusk, stomping mud from their boots in the foyer, bearing ill tidings. Nay-not even the disconcerting news that I had a guardian, one who intended to keep me sequestered. For those happenings were not my story. I was sinless there. They were the end result of events set in motion long before I arrived at the cottage. I could no more have stopped their unfolding than I could have prevented my own birth. Those of you who were alive that year might well remember the early frost of 1838. My arrival coincided with the hardship faced by farmers that August. Though harvest hadn't quite begun, an overcast sky stretched over the rolling farmlands bringing a reminder of winter's cruel bite. How well I remember the coach jostling down the familiar lane, its wheels grinding through the familiar ruts. I felt no premonition of danger, only relief, sharp and undefiled. At Am Meer, home of my dearest childhood memories, I hoped to find that which I needed most-a respite between the past and my uncertain future." (Pg 1-2). In the beautifully written novel, Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta, she rewards readers with an enriched journey back to the early 1800's in the first novel in the Price of Privilege series. The details and poetic writing style paint the story of the life of seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston. Now faced with an unknown guardian who controls her destiny, she finds solace back in her childhood home with her close friend, Elizabeth Windham and her mother for a time. She believes in the promises made between her and her childhood sweetheart Edward, a romance forbidden by her parents due to their social standings. When he proposed to her and asked her to wait for him, she believed that he was the only hope to her current situation. If she were to be married to Edward Auburn, she would be released from the guardianship that now holds her future as a servant in Scotland with no family to speak of. However Julia soon discovers that Edward has made some changes of his own taking on the role of the town's vicar, something that goes against Julia's atheist beliefs she was raised on. She realizes now that her only future is to find someone to marry even if it means giving up the hope that she can be happy and marry for love. For Julia there simply is no other answer. I received Born of Persuasion by Jessica Dotta compliments of Tyndale House Publishers and Christian Fiction Blog Alliance for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. I was completely enchanted and swept away by this novel, rich in period details that I felt like a private observer in Julia's circumstance. This was a time, when women were considered nothing more than property and their rights were never considered. The only hope for most women was to secure a future with a wealthy family through marriage to the right man in a social standing. They were expected to maintain decorum and remain silent. However Julia's fortunate to have been introduced into society through a wealthy titled dowager that opens up a world of possibilities she never dreamed possible. But will she be able to escape her past to be able to move forward in her future or are their darker forces at work than meets the eye in this story? You'll have to pick this one up to find out. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next novel Mark of Distinction that you get a sneak peek at in this one. Also included are some great discussion questions perfect for book clubs. A must read for fans of Downton Abbey and Jane Eyre!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Anita

    A well-written Gothic novel with some touching emotions and deep internal conflict of the heroine, Julia. The idiosyncrasies of the early Victorian era and society’s restrictions are well detailed, and the needle sharp dialogue of the two older ladies in the cast is masterful as well as cringe-making in its acerbity. Julia’s unspeakable hostess, Mrs Windham, showers her with insults while professing to care for her, then tries to ‘sell’ her to a matchmaker. Julia herself finally strikes a deal w A well-written Gothic novel with some touching emotions and deep internal conflict of the heroine, Julia. The idiosyncrasies of the early Victorian era and society’s restrictions are well detailed, and the needle sharp dialogue of the two older ladies in the cast is masterful as well as cringe-making in its acerbity. Julia’s unspeakable hostess, Mrs Windham, showers her with insults while professing to care for her, then tries to ‘sell’ her to a matchmaker. Julia herself finally strikes a deal with the elderly Lady Foxmore, a woman who would terrify Lady Catherine de Burgh, to find her a husband. Lady Foxmore takes Julia reluctantly to the mansion Eastbourne, and it soon evolves that she and its mysterious owner, Mr Chance Macy have some history. The house party is comprised of enigmatic, hostile characters, some of whom bear some sort of grudge against Julia. They utter damning statements before rushing from the room or lapse into brooding silence, until I am convinced they are there with the sole purpose of driving poor Julia mad. Julia is still suffering the effects of her mother’s suicide, and events carry her along on a wave of deception, misinformation and downright lies. The patronising Macy treats Julia like a charming pet, professes love within days, then compromises her in front of the other house guests by staying in her room all night before disappearing on one of several unexplained errands - only to return and begin his weird courtship all over again. The way he keeps calling her ‘darling’ is particularly creepy. Julia doesn’t handle the situation well, and spends most of her time blushing, shaking her head or burying her face in whichever male chest is closest [Macy’s or Edwards-she conflicted] Julia’s best friend, Elizabeth Windham, who is [secretly of course] betrothed to Edward’s brother, Henry, joins this atmosphere of hostility and the general refusal to communicate deteriorates into everyone glaring at each other at mealtimes. Ms Dotta certainly keeps the reader guessing as Julia is pulled about from pillar to post by those whose motives are unclear. Is Macy a dashing suitor and protector, or is he the villain of the piece with his own agenda? Is Julia’s guardian really bent on ending her life when they have never met, or is he trying to rescue her from the villainous Macy? Will her former betrothed, Edward, discard his dog collar for Julia’s sake, or does he expect her to change her beliefs? Despite my frustration with the simpering Julia, by the end I accepted her character was dictated by the fact sheltered Victorian girls weren’t naturally assertive, nor expected to be. There are two more stories in this series, so maybe the loose ends left by this novel will be made clear in the next.

  26. 5 out of 5

    The Overweight Bookshelf

    Full post and preview here: http://www.overweightbookshelf.com/20... This may be Jessica Dotta's formal debut in the world of publishing but make no mistake, she is not a novice at the art of storytelling. Comparisons are bound to arise with elements resembling Austen humour and the Bronte penchant for Gothic mood and intrigue, but the similarities are flattering and by no means facsimiles of the great authors. The hilarity of the mercurial Mrs Windham is distinctly calling on the essence of the Full post and preview here: http://www.overweightbookshelf.com/20... This may be Jessica Dotta's formal debut in the world of publishing but make no mistake, she is not a novice at the art of storytelling. Comparisons are bound to arise with elements resembling Austen humour and the Bronte penchant for Gothic mood and intrigue, but the similarities are flattering and by no means facsimiles of the great authors. The hilarity of the mercurial Mrs Windham is distinctly calling on the essence of the nervous Mrs Bennet of Pride and Prejudice. Similarly, Lady Foxmore mimics the antagonistic Lady Catherine de Burgh but takes her cruelty to an extreme that makes the Austen matriarch resemble a mewling kitten. Readers who are familiar with period dramas will appreciate that Jessica's story finds footing in the familiar but is grounded in her own imagination and style. Clearly Jessica has researched the Victorian era to the finite detail to produce a rich context and execute the contemporary dialogue and wit with such mastery. Beneath the beautiful and entertaining period facade are whispered betrothals, secret alliances and hidden identities that pull readers in to a dangerous undertow where nothing is as it seems. The complex characters beseech readers to enter their world and become invested in the story. Julia is a not an inherently likeable character but she is a captivating study. Steeped in grief and confined by the rigorous rules of station and decorum she is vulnerable to those so willing to manipulate and bend her to their will and for their benefit. Edward may appear to fit the archetype for brooding Victorian hero but the sheer depth of his devotion and love for Julia is anything but contrived--his reactions are visceral and hit readers square in the gut. The enigmatic Mr Macy plays with readers perceptions with skill that hints to a dark side that is barely contained. The suspense builds at a continual place and plot leaves off on a cliff hanger that hints that Jessica has just scratched the surface of this tale. I for one am desperate to read Mark of Distinction to continue the saga and see what lies in wait for Julia, Edward and Mr Macy. **Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher via NetGalley**

  27. 5 out of 5

    LAWonder10

    'Born of Persuasion' is remarkable work of art! It keeps the reader"on edge" the whole book! As I read, I kept waiting for the sleazy scenes to enfold - it is published by Tyndale, so of course it can't be that bad! It wasn't! In fact, it was a remarkable historical tale of a "foursome" who were close childhood friends and were now Young Adults. This was a story of monstrous challenges they had to deal with. It was a tale of hard lessons learned, difficult decisions made, and enormous fears to o 'Born of Persuasion' is remarkable work of art! It keeps the reader"on edge" the whole book! As I read, I kept waiting for the sleazy scenes to enfold - it is published by Tyndale, so of course it can't be that bad! It wasn't! In fact, it was a remarkable historical tale of a "foursome" who were close childhood friends and were now Young Adults. This was a story of monstrous challenges they had to deal with. It was a tale of hard lessons learned, difficult decisions made, and enormous fears to overcome. there were moments of pridefulness, daring, adventure, danger, humility, spitefulness, mischief, tenderness, romance, self-discovery, deceit, and much more. What is there not to like? This novel brings to one's attention, how perception is often one-sided and incorrect. It proclaims desires and attractions can be masked in cunning evil. An important point is made that, although we differ greatly in opinions, we can still maintain friendship and love. Born of Persuasion is definitely a "page turner". It never ceases to amaze with its twits and turns even to the very end! Even then, you are eager to learn if there is more to the story...There is! It is the first of a trilogy. I can't hardly bear the thought of having to wait to read the continuing story! This book was years in the making but so well worth it. It is a masterpiece in writing. I am sure YA and Adults alike will really enjoy this novel. My review of this book offers a solid Five Stars rating. *I was generously sent this book for an honest review, of which I have given.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    If you like Gothic-type melodramatic RegencyVictorian novels (I didn't see much difference here), this isn't a bad one, but be warned that it totally ends on a cliffhanger. I wasn't hooked enough to go for the sequel. But the writing is decent for a Kindle freebie, and I can't complain about the editing, which you know I am always ready to do if the proofing (or lack thereof) gets under my skin. The heroine, Julia, is of the helpless variety, which is always a little maddening, and Edward, her ch If you like Gothic-type melodramatic RegencyVictorian novels (I didn't see much difference here), this isn't a bad one, but be warned that it totally ends on a cliffhanger. I wasn't hooked enough to go for the sequel. But the writing is decent for a Kindle freebie, and I can't complain about the editing, which you know I am always ready to do if the proofing (or lack thereof) gets under my skin. The heroine, Julia, is of the helpless variety, which is always a little maddening, and Edward, her childhood love interest, is of the noble, self-sacrificing type, which is also pretty irritating. He's become a vicar, or something like that, so there's definitely a Christian element at play here. Anyway, Julia and Edward kind of deserve each other, except she's poorer than a cab driver in Venice. But wait: there's the mysterious and intriguing Mr. Macy, who somehow manages to take control of Julia's life. Frankly, he's the most interesting character in this book, if you like them kind of dark. This is periodically offered as a free download (it's free right now), which is how I got it. Just remember that they're clearly trying to suck you into buying the two sequels.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Ally

    You know why I’ve given this book all the stars? Because it transported me, entirely. It suspended any notion of disbelief in the story and caused me to stay up until 330am because I couldn’t sleep and miss something. Macy is hypnotizing. Julia is misguided, ignorant and? I wish to be her. It’s like Great Expectations meets the romantic delusions and hopes of my own misguided youth. Pride & Prejudice with an alternate ending in which Darcy ravishes her in the moors (ok to be fair, there is actua You know why I’ve given this book all the stars? Because it transported me, entirely. It suspended any notion of disbelief in the story and caused me to stay up until 330am because I couldn’t sleep and miss something. Macy is hypnotizing. Julia is misguided, ignorant and? I wish to be her. It’s like Great Expectations meets the romantic delusions and hopes of my own misguided youth. Pride & Prejudice with an alternate ending in which Darcy ravishes her in the moors (ok to be fair, there is actually nothing beyond kisses in this book) I often scoff at the romantic types and yet it appears I may possess a lot of these silly notions myself. I cannot wait to read the next in the series. Looking for a guilty pleasure? You have just found it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kellyn Roth

    Never before have I sat in my bed at midnight almost crying because a book disappointed me so bad I was angry enough to bunch my way through a wall. Okay, that's dramatic, but y'all, it's TRUE. Last night I put down my phone and stared into the darkness in disbelief as the book steadily went from one of my favorite reads of the year to "what is this crap!?" I was shocked. Nay, even horrified. And I don't know how to write this review, but I'll try my best. Basically, from the very first page, the a Never before have I sat in my bed at midnight almost crying because a book disappointed me so bad I was angry enough to bunch my way through a wall. Okay, that's dramatic, but y'all, it's TRUE. Last night I put down my phone and stared into the darkness in disbelief as the book steadily went from one of my favorite reads of the year to "what is this crap!?" I was shocked. Nay, even horrified. And I don't know how to write this review, but I'll try my best. Basically, from the very first page, the author's writing style hooked me. It was amazing. On page one, I knew I would read every page with admiration and excitement. She perfectly captured all the elements in writing that make books like Jane Eyre, Austen's novels, and other classics amazing. She had the perfect balance of drama and humor. Her descriptions of people, places, and feelings, the way she communicated the main character's thoughts, and the amount of information she gave the reader at a time was perfect. I was in awe. "This," though I, "is an author who is going to rock my world." I was contemplating just ordering all her books in paperback right then and there. Now I'm not sure I'll read anything of hers again. The plot was set up well, too, and the characters were all beautifully developed. It was a grittier read, and not your average Christian romance (it was hard to tell for a long time if there was going to be any faith elements included!), but it was GOOD. Soooooo good! I thought, "I'm out of my reading slump. I'm going to devour this and every other book in the series." I thought I'd found a new favorite author, new favorite novel ... Can you see now why I was disappointed to the point of strong emotions? Ladies and gents, I'm not an emotional person, especially about books (save maybe my own). But this was too much for my heart to handle! How did it go so bad so quickly? The non-spoiler version: At about 70%, the plot went from great and greater and greater ... to worse. This somewhat gritty but still awesome romance/Gothic novel with amazing writing, intense characters, and a plot I could get behind turned bad. My favorite character was thrown away from a cheap plot twist. The main character lost her head and went psycho. The main character's love interest also went psycho. Basically everyone lost their mind and insanity ensued. All the explanations I'd been waiting for fell short. Nothing made sense, and when it did begin to make sense, it turned out to be exactly what I didn't want. Like, if at the halfway mark I had stated my Top 10 Things I Hope Don't Happen in the Last 50%, every single one of the things that happened would have been on that list. I was appalled. I kept hoping the book would turn tail and return to reason and the ending I wanted. But nope. It got worse and ended on a horrid cliffhanger with no real resolution. Look - you can't just tell me something and make me believe it. In this case, the characters were telling me something I didn't believe. Even in the face of proof, I still couldn't believe it because it was the reverse of everything I'd believed. You might say, "Well, that's just because it's a well-written book! The plot twist totally surprised you. Good for the author!" Well, good on the author, sure - it was a surprise! But you need to be realistic with your surprises. You can't just reverse everything you've been telling me. And yeah, I get what the author was TRYING to do (no spoilers but the MC was an unreliable narrator because she was fooled, basically), buttttttttttt ...? It just ... didn't work for me. So yes, I grant that there are many good things about this book. The writing, the suspense, the characters ... okay, there are a lot of good things about this book. But you must understand that sometimes I just get emotionally invested to the point where ... a one star is my only option if I get this badly disappointed. So yeah, by virtue alone, this book is a 3 star read. But by my opinion, one star read. So for lovers of the book, know that a lot of this is opinion - maybe even all of it. But let me get to the spoiler section. (view spoiler)[Mr. Macy. Mr. Macy is my problem, dear reader. ;-) Frankly, I love him. I honestly love him. I think he's fun and hilarious and unpredictable and strong. I would have been so pleased if he continued on as the heroine I believe he was. He IS! I refuse to acknowledge the rumors. I refuse to say that he's a villain. I REFUSE. I don't care if it's cannon. I've decided he's the good guy. And I hate Edward. I wanted Edward to die or marry some random parish member or whatever. I feel strongly that Edward as a weak-willed man - a sort of St. John Rivers who gave in to his Rosamund - immature, without any real spiritual depth, who needs to grow up a little. The book refuses to acknowledge his immaturity, though. And honestly, I don't get the spiritual content at all. In the author's note, she indicates that after years of working on it, she decided to add Christian stuff in it. Not surprised it was added in because it barely exists and what does exist is contradictory. Edward is so ... bad. Like he sucks as a priest dude. And he admits it, yeah, but I don't care. The book doesn't make him die, so plainly he hasn't been punished enough for the horrible, weak-willed, immature man he is. I don't see him as a character I could even like so I don't understand the main character's love for him, nor will I ever. Which brings me to the main character. I'm sorry, but she was too quick to discount Mr. Macy. She heard one word for Mr. Greenham, who has already proven himself to be suspicious at least in her eyes, and she suddenly doubts all the good crap he has done and how sweet he's been and how trusting he's been? Like ... okay. Sure in this book (the last bit of which is not cannon in my eyes, remember?) he's a bad guy, but ... you didn't know that. Julia is kinda a ... bad person. (I wanted to say w**re, but I don't want to shock y'all.) (I mean I just did anyway, but ... I mean ... y'all, it's true! What people are saying about her is kinda true. She just flits from one man to another, acts immature, is perfectly willing to hop into bed with whoever and only doesn't because the dudes generally use restraint - not her - and she'll believe literally anything she hears from anyone!) Anyway, those are my confused, complicated thoughts. I don't want to explain everything or summarize. I'm not in the mood. I'm just mad. I want a Mr. Macy in my life who's this Rochester-but-more-exciting, honestly-pretty-mature guy with a few skeletons in his closet that he's trying to right. I wanted that guy, but the author made him into something different, without consulting my feelings. And she tried to make me be content with another. Which I will never be. :P So yeah. Just ... didn't live up to my expectations, I guess. #spoiled I wish I could rewrite the ending. I wanted Macy to be the one. I wanted him to be everything both Julia and I hoped he could be. And when he wasn't, the book died for me. (Though I still don't mind him. Like, tbh, he's a cool antihero? And he's soooo good at what he does? Like you gotta respect a man who's that good at acting and manipulating and making things work for him. And his house is sooooo cool. And I like his manservant dude, too. And his friends could be cool if they weren't so random and unexplained.) (hide spoiler)] Anywho, still debating whether to read book 2. I know, I know! That doesn't make any sense. But maybe after I cool down, my desire to know all the secrets the author left unrevealed with overcome my hatred of the Mr. Macy/Edward situation. Until then, I need a hug. ;-)

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