Book Review: Born of Persuasion

4 Jun

UnknownThe year is 1838, and seventeen-year-old Julia Elliston’s position has never been more fragile. Orphaned and unmarried in a time when women are legal property of their fathers, husbands, and guardians, she finds herself at the mercy of an anonymous guardian who plans to establish her as a servant in far-off Scotland.

With two months to devise a better plan, Julia’s first choice to marry her childhood sweetheart is denied. But when a titled dowager offers to introduce Julia into society, a realm of possibilities opens. However, treachery and deception are as much a part of Victorian society as titles and decorum, and Julia quickly discovers her present is deeply entangled with her mother’s mysterious past. Before she knows what’s happening, Julia finds herself a pawn in a deadly game between two of the country’s most powerful men. With no laws to protect her, she must unravel the secrets on her own. But sometimes truth is elusive and knowledge is deadly.


JessicaforWebBorn in the wrong century – except for the fact that she really likes epidurals and washing machines – Jessica Dotta writes British Historicals with the humor like an Austen, yet the drama of a Bronte.

She resides lives in the greater Nashville area—where she imagines her small Southern town into the foggy streets of 19th century London. She oversees her daughter to school, which they pretend is an English boarding school, and then she goes home to write and work on PR. Jessica has tried to cast her dachshund as their butler–but the dog insists it’s a Time Lord and their home a Tardis. Miss Marple, her cat, says its no mystery to her as to why the dog won’t cooperate. When asked about it, Jessica sighs and says that you can’t win them all, and at least her dog has picked something British to emulate.


My Impressions:

If you like a good gothic romance, then you will love Jessica Dotta’s Born of Persuasion, book 1 in the Price of Privilege Trilogy. Reminiscent of the works of the Bronte sisters, this historical novel set in Victorian England is filled with deception and intrigue, love and loyalty, and faith and unbelief. The book ends with lots of loose ends, but don’t despair, all of the books in this series are available now! This one is a highly recommended read!

Julia Elliston has just buried her mother and is alone in the world, save a mysterious guardian she has never met. Her life has been shaped by an outspoken and abusive father and the polite society that shunned her family. Desperate to escape her guardian’s control, Julia believes only marriage will give her the security she wants. But the conventions and laws of the times which conspire against her leave her at the mercy of many with few to trust.

Born of Persuasion’s complex plotting and characterization along with a deft handling of setting, historical detail and subtle faith message are very welcome in a genre that is often more fluff than substance. Dotta’s novel both entertains and challenges the reader. Characters are well-developed; there are no stereotypes here. Julia is an especially complex character. Caught up in a web of deceit complicated by her past experiences and naivete, Julia is a character I cheered on at the same time I wanted to shake her! And Julia is not alone in her inability to discern truth. This reader was often taken in by many of the characters as well. The first person narrative from a much older and wiser Julia adds depth to story. For the gothic romance fan there are plenty of mysterious goings-on, twists, turns and rich atmospheric elements. As stated, the faith message is very subtle, yet a consistent thread in the book. Only one character lives out his faith in a very outspoken manner, yet his stumbles are realistic. At the beginning of the novel, Julia believes in reason alone and is bitter by the treatment her family has suffered at the hands of the church. Her attitudes evolve in the face of trials and the steadfastness of a man of faith.

One theme that I think will especially appeal to a book club is freedom. When someone is hemmed in by social morals and cultural dictates, as well as laws that restrict, can someone really be free? The Victorian setting with all its restrictions is perfect for this discussion.

There has been high praise for Jessica Dotta’s debut novel, and after reading it I concur. This one is definitely a must read.

Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

Great for Book Clubs.

To purchase this book, click HERE

(I purchased this novel for my Kindle. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

One Response to “Book Review: Born of Persuasion”


  1. Book Review: Mark of Distinction | BY THE BOOK - July 7, 2015

    […] and excellent writing style this novel rates a highly recommended read from me. Be sure to read Born of Persuasion first though — this series must be read in […]

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