This post may contain affiliate links for books we recommend. Read the full disclosure here.
Book: “The Rose and the Thistle” by Laura Frantz
Publishing Info: Revell, January 2023
Where Did I Get this Book: from the publicist!
Book Description: In 1715, Lady Blythe Hedley’s father is declared an enemy of the British crown because of his Jacobite sympathies, forcing her to flee her home in northern England. Secreted to the tower of Wedderburn Castle in Scotland, Lady Blythe awaits who will ultimately be crowned king. But in a house with seven sons and numerous servants, her presence soon becomes known.
No sooner has Everard Hume lost his father, Lord Wedderburn, than Lady Hedley arrives with the clothes on her back and her mistress in tow. He has his own problems–a volatile brother with dangerous political leanings, an estate to manage, and a very young brother in need of comfort and direction in the wake of losing his father. It would be best for everyone if he could send this misfit heiress on her way as soon as possible.
Drawn into a whirlwind of intrigue, shifting alliances, and ambitions, Lady Blythe must be careful whom she trusts. Her fortune, her future, and her very life are at stake. Those who appear to be adversaries may turn out to be allies–and those who pretend friendship may be enemies.
Review: Once again, thank you to Laurel for reaching out to me about my participation in another blog tour! Per the usual, I love getting to collaborate on projects like this and promote books that may not be getting the attention they deserve. I was also excited when I read the book description for this one. I think “Outlander” has really sucked up a lot of the public’s awareness of the Jacobite period of history, so it’s always exciting to see a different and new version of this time period brought to the page.
When Lady Blythe finally returns to her father’s home after an extended stay in France, she’s excited to pick up the reigns of her quiet country existence, leaving behind the excesses of the French court. But when her father comes under suspicion for being a Jacobite sympathizer, she is once again forced from her home. And this time she lands in the home of Everard Hume, a man who is already consumed with problems of his own and has no time for another in the form of a lonely young woman. With tensions running high within the country and no one knowing whom they can trust, will Everard and Lady Blythe find comfort or danger in one another?
I don’t read more straight-forward historical fiction very often, but that’s been something these blog tours have really helped with. Yes, they often have a romantic component, but they aren’t bodice rippers ala “Bridgerton” which is its own sort of subgenre of historical romance. Instead, this book, like the others, is equally focused on the details of this piece of history as it is in the main characters themselves.
And here, we have a different insight into the Jacobite rebellion seen through the eyes of two different perspectives. As I alluded to, “Outlander” really zeroed in on this point of history, but that story only gets at a few aspects of this tumultuous time. For one thing, it doesn’t get into the religious dynamics at play, which was a major factor for many of the regular people who supported one king or line of kings over another. Here, the massive swings of religious persecution and power are highlighted, and the author really dives into the struggles that existed for those whose leader and religion were not currently holding the reigns. Given the prominence of general Christianity as a major worldwide religion, it’s easy to forget that it has had its own bloody history of internal fractions and strife. And that England was ground zero for much of it.
Beyond this, I enjoyed the detailed descriptions that really paint a picture of life in this time period, particularly the depiction of Edinbourgh. I was really impressed by the authors obvious dedication to research, and it was apparent in every meticulous scene. There’s an interesting author’s note at the end of the book that explains the author’s own family connection to this story, so that does shed some light on the personal importance of this research. But it’s always a pleasure either way to read a historical novel that proves an author did his or her work.
I also liked Lady Blythe and Everard well enough, though I will say that they weren’t my favorite parts of the book. While they are both competently drawn characters, I never felt myself truly invested in their stories or their characters as a whole. From the very beginning, each felt just the tiniest bit flat. In some ways, this could be due to the very realistic manner in which they are portrayed, which, again speaks to the author’s commitment to creating a believable and true-feeling story. This is definitely a very subjective take, however, and I’m sure these characters will jump off the page for many other historical fiction fans.
Rating 8: A fresh look at a fairly familiar portion of British history, this book will likely appeal to many historical fiction fans, particularly those who enjoy a sweet love story at its heart.
“” isn’t on any Goodreads lists, but it should be on Jane Austen Books, Sequels, Bios and more.