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Historical fiction author Carrie McClelland suddenly finds her current work-in-progress stalled and during a brief visit to Scotland she comes under the spell of Slains Castle in the remote northeast town of Cruden Bay.  The spell works its magic, the past comes alive and Carrie’s fingers fly across the keyboard and she transports the reader back to the  Jacobite plot of ’08 to restore King James to Scotland’s throne.

The story:

Sophia Paterson arrives at Slains castle, home of distant relative and she’s soon as immersed in Jacobite intrigue along with the rest of the family. John Moray, one of the many people who carries messages between Scotland and France, falls in love with Sophia, but he’s a very much wanted man and cannot stay in Scotland, nor can he take her back to France.

Parallel with Sophia’s story is Carrie’s, along with two brothers in love with her (although I’m pretty sure it’s only true love for one of them). Sophia’s past seems to have a life of its own, to the point that she’s writing real events before she could possibly have known them. Is *someone* from the past guiding her to discover what happened 300 years ago? If so, why?

I just loved this book to bits and frankly couldn’t put it down. A perfect blend of romance, real history and what if and for once I enjoyed the storyline in the present as much as that of the past. One big thumbs up to the author, she did a great job using her characters and dialogue to cover back history without those annoying info-dumps, i.e. historian brother Graham explaining in plain English to brother Stuie about Jacobite history. Nicely done. This novel has also been published in the UK under the title Sophia’s Secret, so don’t go and buy the same book again. 4.5/5 stars.

FTC, why I got it from the publisher since they so kindly offered (thank you Sourcebooks).