book review, historical fiction, history

Review: Pursuit of Princes by Julia Brannan

Book 5 in Julia’s Brannan’s Jacobite Chronicles is a harrowing and daunting journey that more than makes up for the misfires of book 4.

Pursuit of Princes follows Beth and Alex, thinking the other dead, struggling in the aftermath of the Jacobite defeat at Culloden. While Alex and his clan fulfill their blood oath of revenge against the savagry of the redcoat atrocities in the Highlands, Beth suffers imprisonment and torture in her resolve not to reveal the true identity of her husband. To those who do not like to read descriptive violence and cruelty, this book may not be for you. Some of the scenes, especially the brutality Beth endures in prison and at the hands of her cruel brother Richard, are hard to read.

While Alex recovers from his injuries sustained at Culloden, his younger brother Angus really steps up in terms of maturity and leadership. Even after Alex heals and is able to lead the clan again, Angus’ “innocence” seems to be lost after the crushing defeat and the loss of their brother Duncan. The clans, if they escape from redcoat pillaging and destruction in time, flee to the caves in the Highlands–as do the MacGregors. Alex resolves never to take another, but to avenge Beth and all those lost to the British campaign in Scotland. Revenge and retaliation is all the clans seem to have after Prince Charles Stuart escapes to the Continent.

Ultimately, Beth really goes through hell in this book. While we know her strength of character from the previous books, it’s really pronounced in the struggles she faces that would have easily killed or defeated anyone else.

It will be no surprise to anyone that I immediately bought the last book, Tides of Fortune, and began reading it as soon as I finished Pursuit of Princes!