The Outlander series for the YA audience—a debut, full of romance and intrigue, set in early eighteenth-century Scotland.
Saying good-bye to Scotland is the hardest thing that Jenna MacDuff has had to do—until she meets Lord Pembroke. Jenna’s small clan has risked their lives traveling the countryside as masons, secretly drumming up support and arms for the exiled King James Stuart to retake the British throne. But their next job brings them into enemy territory: England.
Jenna’s father repeatedly warns her to trust no one, but when the Duke of Keswick hires the clan to build a garrison on his estate, it seems she cannot hide her capable mind from the duke’s inquisitive son, Lord Alex Pembroke—nor mask her growing attraction to him. But there’s a covert plan behind the building of the garrison, and soon Jenna must struggle not only to keep her newfound friendship with Alex from her father, but also to keep her father’s treason from Alex.
Will Jenna decide to keep her family’s mutinous secrets and assist her clan’s cause, or protect the life of the young noble she’s falling for?
In Shelley Sackier’s lush, vivid historical debut, someone will pay a deadly price no matter which choice Jenna makes.
Picked up an ARC from NYCC 2016.
This story is being advertised as “The Outlander series for the YA audience” and I don’t agree. I never read Outlander, or seen the show, but from what I have heard The Freemason’s Daughter doesn’t have enough romance to earn that comparison. I am not saying I expect sex scenes in a YA novel, but there wasn’t enough heat between Jenna and Alex. Or Jenna and Daniel.
There also was not enough action, conflict, or suspense. Not much happens in the book until the last few chapters, which were rushed and then it ends abruptly. There were some points when I thought it would finally become exciting,
when Jenna thought the coded blueprints to the garrison had been taken. Then it was quickly and easily resolved in the next chapter. It was just too safe. I would have preferred it if Julian had taken the blueprints instead of Alex.
Which brings be to Julian. He was a one note villain with a cliché crush on Alex. I wanted to see more political scheming from his POV. Maybe then we would have learned the details about why the boys were suspended from Cambridge.
There was not enough scheming or conflict in the story and most of that was because Jenna (and Alex too) were kept in the dark. Sackier goes as far to write Jenna as an educated and very modern woman for the time period but then keeps her from the action.
I was also reading an ARC and that made it very jarring because sometimes it was difficult to understand what was happening in scene, then the why was not explained later on. Also, from one sentence to the next it would change the POV, time, and setting. I hope this was corrected in the final print.
So all this makes it sound like I hated the book, but I didn’t. I didn’t feel like giving up and was able to finish without too much difficulty.
I liked Jenna’s family and their interactions, especially Jenna and Angus. He was like the mom she never knew.
I also like Lady Lucia for her comical, soap-opera personality. I can’t tell if that was intentional or not.
I feel there was real potential and it could have used a few more notes and edits. It feels fine as a standalone and I don’t necessarily need a sequel.
3 out of 5 Jacobites.