Monday, May 19, 2014

Book Review-Mark of Distinction

Not realizing this book is the second in a trilogy, I struggled to follow the story line as I began reading. Even without the background information, the book was an average read and mostly held my interest.  Julia is now a resident at her rich father's estate. She is caught in her father's desperate schemes to make her his rightful heir and  marry her off to Lord Dalry. Julia continues to hold her love for Edward, hoping to someday escape or be rescued from her father's clutches.Almost a recluse, she has few outings and is expected to learn the finery of  high society so she can be presented to the public. Julia resists her father's plans, yet has no power to change her situation.  As she succumbs to the plans, she discovers her intended husband is very kind and patient. He becomes the advocate she doesn't want.

Her father and Lord Dalry work hard to keep Macy, Julia's lawful husband, from ruining their plans and deceiving Julia into believing he has her best interests in mind. I only have a sketchy understanding of Julia and Macy's former relationship, and how she married him when she really wanted to be with Edward is not explained in this book. There are other darker events that are mentioned and alluded to from Julia's past, but seem to have little consequence in this part of the story.

In spite of her father's harshness, Julia longs to be loved and accepted by him. As I read, I root for that to happen. I am drawn to appreciate the goodness of Lord Dalry and consequently for Julia to find herself falling in love with him. The book draws us into these tensions, with Julia only imagining her former life. She has very little contact with Edward until a sudden twist in the story near the end of the book. The unexpected event feels contrived, unrealistic and overly dramatic. I think the author wants us to believe Julia keeps her love for Edward alive during her seclusion at her father's, but I was not convinced.

At times, the story seemed to drag without a lot of action and few characters advanced in growing more endearing or repulsive. I think I could have skipped several chapters and not have missed much in the story's progression.

The book upholds moral values and supposedly has a Christian witness, but any reference to faith or the role of faith in any character's life is very shallow and under developed. Perhaps the last book in the series brings all of these threads together in a stunning, believable conclusion. However, I don't feel a strong compulsion to acquire the book so I can find out. Perhaps, also, my conclusions are unfair since I didn't read the first book in the series.

I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purposes from Tyndale House.

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