4 Nov 2022

Review Worthy of Legend by Roseanna M. White

 The Secrets of the Isles #3
September 13th 2022,
Ebook, Print & Audio

Genre: Historical Fiction
Setting: Early 20th Century, Isles of Scilly (Southwest coast of Britain)
After a summer of successful pirate-treasure hunting, Lady Emily Scofield and her friends must hide the unprecedented discoveries they've made, thanks to the betrayal of her own family. Horrified by her brother, who stops at nothing to prove himself to their greedy father, Emily is forced to take a stand against her family--even when it means being cut off entirely.

Bram Sinclair, Earl of Telford, is fascinated with tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table--an interest he's kept mostly hidden for the last decade. But when a diary is unearthed on the islands that could lead to a secret artifact, Bram is the only one able to piece the legends together.

As Bram and Emily seek out the whereabouts of the hidden artifact, they must dodge her family and a team of archeologists. In a race against time, it is up to them to decide what makes a hero worthy of legend. Is it fighting valiantly to claim the treasure . . . or sacrificing everything in the name of selfless love?


My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

Worthy of Legend was a beautiful and heartfelt conclusion to Roseanna M. White's fourth trilogy set in Georgian Britain. The Isles of Scilly, to be exact. Of course, I loved Bram. He’s a literature nerd with a secret obsession with the Arthurian Legends.

His best friend is an amateur archaeologist with a special interest in the history of the druids and the Arthurian Legends. He's a nerd like me, and he loves animals. He rescues puppies. Can this man get any more adorable? Sighhhs. Emily is great too, she’s a young woman rejected by her family who is trying to escape their reputation and the illegal actions of her brother. She struggles with her duty to love her family (and her sibling) and doing the right thing.

The title of the story is very clever. Legends are a huge part of the story, first there is the Legend of Lyonesse, a stretch of land which was supposed to extended out from Cornwall as far as the Isles of Scilly. Legend has it that Lyonesse was submerged by a giant wave in a single day as divine punishment for a terrible sin committed by the people, and all that remained were the tops of the mountains as the Islands. Yes, I looked it up. I knew nothing about the Legend of Lyonesse before reading this. Better still, one of King Arthur’s knights, Tristan was said to have hailed from the lost Kingdom. As in Tristan and Isolde.

Along with that though there is an underlying theme about the legacy of one’s family and the choices of the past. Legends are not just stories: the legacy of the past can impact the present, and what the artefact they are hunting represents can bring out the best – and worst- in people. In the end, the story is not just about the legends or the legendary artefact. This is best illustrated in a quote from the story:

“I want to believe some bit of the legends are true, and that we can aspire to that nobility. But on the other hand, . . . we’ve seen today what can happen to men thanks to greed and ambition and the lust for fame”

Emily and Bram prove themselves to be Worthy of Legend when they choose to follow the path of mercy, love, faith, and forgiveness even when greeted with hatred, tragedy, and rejection. Even when it is hard- sometimes impossible, to follow and they falter. Oh, and this series is worth it just for the presence of Mamwen, the eccentric grandmother like figure who seems to know everyone and have a certain knack for knowing what is going to happen. She’s not in this much, but any is better than none.

Recommended for all lovers of historical fiction, and those who might want something that’s different from the rest of the Georgian Downton Abbey style stories out there. This one has lost treasure, adventure, and mystery too. Also there are hardly any novels set on the small archipelago in the Celtic Sea known as the Isles of Scilly.

Thanks to Bethany House for providing an EPub of this title. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Review Rise of Betrayal by M.N. Stroh

Tales of the Clans # 2

October 5th 2022 - 365 Pages

Historical Fiction:
Period Medieval: 10th century Ireland

One brash act forced her to flee her clan. Now, after years in hiding, she risks exposure to the man whose brother is dead because of her.

Ireland, 962 AD

Nessa’s father arranges her betrothal to the son of their warmongering overlord. Horrified, Nessa realizes that marrying the rogue warrior will thrust her family into the heart of their clan’s longstanding conflict with the Danes of Luimnech.
Nessa accepts her fate until tragedy presses her to make a desperate escape, though her brash act costs her intended’s life. Now his family seeks revenge.
Sanctuary among distant kindred proves short-lived and Nessa's rescuers entangle her in their schemes. With the balance of power shifting in southern Ireland, her knowledge could pave the way for her former chieftain to claim the provincial throne. Yet, offering that knowledge may expose her identity to her estranged clansmen… and to the man whose brother died because of her.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Rise of Betrayal was an excellent continuation of the story which began in Man of Sorrows. RoB though is very, very different from that book. Whereas MoS was more of a romance or had a strong romance subplot. This book does have romantic elements, but it is not a romance. Rise of Betrayal is also about twice the length of the previous book and so allows a lot more time with the characters and the story.
It is more of what I call straight out historical fiction, and as such covers much darker and more serious matters including murder, treachery, war, and internecine conflicts. Early Medieval power politics were *not* pretty.

The story begins at a slower pace, but as it builds up with the war, plots and intrigue a more complex web of deception, division and ambition is weaved.
I honestly think it’s hard for authors to write books like this. Or rather to stay within the rules of inspirational fiction whilst representing the nature of events with anything close to historical authenticity. Something has to give, and its usually accuracy or characterization.
What often happens is the protagonists end up being saccharine sweet or totally flawless and spend their time delivering platitudes to the other characters. The villains are people who are simply trying to survive or navigate the treacherous political landscape. This ends up creating, in me at least, more sympathy for the latter.

This might be why a lot of my favourite Christian Medieval Fiction is self-published or not from the biggies - the major American publishing houses.
These works tend to more accurately represent the Medieval attitude towards faith, and the struggles people had to reconcile the teachings of their religion with the nature of the world and the political landscape.
I would recommend the Tales of the Clans series to any lover of historical fiction, but if you are not used to gritter and more realistic portrayals of this period you might have some issues.

View all my reviews

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