book review, historical fiction, history

Review: The Gathering Storm by Julia Brannan

Julia Branna’s third book in The Jacobite Chronicles series follows Alex and Beth MacGregor as they settle into the double life of their marriage. In London, they remain Sir Anthony Peters and Lady Elizabeth, while their true selves are known in Scotland as the MacGregor chieftan and his wife.

The Gathering Storm sees Alex and Beth working as a spy team in London society, both acting as innocuous and frivolous as possible in order to innocently obtain information from any person–regardless of position or social standing. This goal extends to King George III himself, as well as his son Prince William the Duke of Cumberland who is quite aggressively taken with Elizabeth. Close to their enemies, Alex and Beth must walk the finest of lines so as not to fall out of favor, which would be a terrible blow to Prince Charles Stuart’s intelligence network.

Alex and Beth share a reprieve at home in Scotland where she meets his family and clan, as well as her own long lost relatives. Here, Beth works hard to gain the favor and respect of the hardened Highlanders. So different from stiff London high society, Beth is immediately relaxed and taken in as family. In Scotland, both Alex and Beth can truly be themselves.

Yet as the title indicates, the Jacobite Uprising and invasion of Bonnie Prince Charlie is imminent. The MacGregors struggle with their role in London–a life of lies and vanity, always on the precipice of danger and exposure. Will they be able to return to Scotland before it’s too late?