Saturday, February 6, 2016

ARC REVIEW Sutherland's Secret by Sharon Cullen

This was a fabulous read. Sharon Cullen is an enchanting writer she captivates and entwines you in the story. It takes place after the bloodbath at Culloden when the English were still trying to bring the Scottish to heel and the Scottish were pretty much okay fine leave us alone already. It was like a giant witch hunt, anyone could basically claim that someone was a Jacobite or a sympathizer just to get rid of them and claim what they wanted. So many people were afraid for their lives they ended up emigrating to Canada just to get away from the English. The characters in the story were great very easy to sympathize with, Eleanor you can see how she changes throughout the book from a scared and tortured young woman to a strong confident woman who won't back down. Brice Sutherland is a great character; he is a good man, a great leader, and very caring for his people; even the half dead British woman he found on the side of the road.

Lady Eleanor Hurst was suppose to be enjoying the newly married life instead she's a widow and on the run from the man who had her husband killed and tried to blackmail her in marrying him. When she refused he locked her up in Fort Augustus with all the other Jacobites. Eleanor changed in that time, watching innocent men beaten, children dying at the hands of the British she was no longer the prim and proper British Lady. After managing to escape Eleanor ran as far as she could go before collapsing on the side of the road. Brice Sutherland the Earl of Dornach, is just trying to keep his people safe. When coming home from a chief clan gathering Brice and his men find a half dead woman on the side of the road, not willing to leave her for the animals send his men ahead so he can take care of her until she dies. But Eleanor is strong and she finally recovers, but she has lost her voice she went so long without talking she forgot how. Brice bring her to his home and offers her sanctuary. Eleanor is scared at first and unsure who she can trust. Once Brice proves she could trust him by not turning her into the British when they come looking for her, she starts to warm up to the environment around her and the people. Eleanor makes a place for herself not wanting to feel like a helpless female again she does what she can. Brice risks his life every night spiriting families and men from house to house until he can get them on a boat bound for Canada. It's easier for Brice to keep an eye on Eleanor if she goes with him, and proved she could be an asset. Brice and Eleanor fall easily in love. Brice has his own fears about falling in love with an English Lady and Eleanor is worried about endangering Brice and all his people.

Eleanor's husband was charged with treason and executed without a trial, she was imprisoned without evidence. All she needs is the courage to confront the right people to fix everything but that means she has to face her worst fear. With the love of Brice and his people behind her, and the sudden appearance of her brother Eleanor finally agrees to do what she needs to do.

Overall this was a really good read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The story was very detailed and really takes you  back. I even had to look up when the Dress Act of 1746 came into effect because the Scots in the book are still wearing their kilts.

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