Thursday, October 4, 2012
Book Review: Highland Sactuary, by Jennifer Hudson Taylor
Gavin MacKenzie, a chieftain heir who is hired to restore the ancient Castle of Braigh, discovers a hidden village of outcasts who have created their own private sanctuary from the world. Among them is Serena Boyd, a mysterious and comely lass, who captures Gavin's heart in spite of harboring a deadly past that could destroy her future.
The villagers happen to be keeping an intriguing secret as well, and when a fierce enemy launches an attack against them, greed leads to bitter betrayal. Then, as Gavin prepares a defense, the villagers unite in a bold act of faith, showing how God's love is more powerful than any human force on earth.
A friend of mine recommended this book to me. Historical Fiction has always been one of my favorite genres to read. Add a little romance and I'm hooked.
This was such an unusual story. In a lot of ways it was predictable and very similar to most other books on the market. But there were other things that were new to me and took me completely by surprise.
The predictable elements included the love story. It was very obvious what was going to happen and who Serena was going to fall in love with. They had the typical "forbidden love" that all nobility/peasant romance stories have. In spite of it's predictability, I still enjoyed the love story. It was clean and sweet. Gavin was a gentleman and I adored him completely. Serena loved with her whole heart, and was good to the core.
The not so predictable aspects were pretty interesting. Serena has a secret, but even she doesn't know the whole of it. She lives with her mother in the Village of Outcasts, a community of misfits that find sanctuary living together in the woods. Serena suffers from seizures, or "fits" as they are called in the book. Her father wanted to abandon her when she was a newborn because he believed she was possessed of an evil spirit. Her mother took her and fled to the Village of Outcasts where she was able to keep her daughter safe.
As Serena's relationship with Gavin develops, he is curious to know what her big secret is. He is introduced to it at the market when Serena has one of her fits in public. The townsfolk think she is a witch and possessed. They want to burn her at the stake.
There were more surprises as the book went on, but I don't want to give everything away. I found it very interesting and had a difficult time putting it down. The writing wasn't perfect, and the use of dialect was pretty heavy and made some of the reading frustrating.
It is available in both Kindle and paperback formats.
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Abingdon Press (October 2011)
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