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MARK OF DISTINCTION by JESSICA DOTTA REVIEWED






MARK OF DISTINCTION
By Jessica Dotta
Published by Tyndale House Publishers
ISBN#978-1-4143-7556-4
380 Pages

ABOUT BOOK: London is said to be the glittering jewel of society, a world unto itself—but to Julia Elliston it is a city of shadows. Her life is swiftly dissolving into scandal. And in Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal—substantiated or not—can be the death of a young woman’s reputation.

Now under the watchful eye of Lord Roy Pierson, one of most influential men in England, Julia begrudgingly accepts his protection. But Chance Macy’s power is far-reaching as well, and he is eager to assert his claim over her.

Thrust into society as the Emerald Heiress, Julia is the toast of London, a celebrated curiosity. But in reality she’s trapped between the clutches of two powerful men. Aided only by a gentleman whose intentions she prays she can trust, Julia must finally take control of her own fate—but outwitting one’s foe rarely goes according to plan.

Jessica Dotta at Finding Hope Book Club's Last meeting October 2013

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of book two in the Price of Privilege series. This story starts where the first book Born of Persuasion ends. **Spoiler** at the end of the first book Julia learns that Lord Roy Pierson was her guardian and biological father. So when Julie flees for her life with Edward they run to Lord Roy Pierson’s house for protection from Mr. Macy.  In this novel readers get to see (along with Julia) Macy dripping with revenge and learn how well he is at manipulating situations to perform his evil deeds.

Lord Roy Pierson’s plan is to present Julia to polite society in a coming out party. They will explain she is the daughter he sent away to finishing school, that’s why no one has heard of her.  Soon after she will become engaged to Lord Isaac Dalry. This will help both Lord Pierson and Lord Dalry who have aspirations to run for a political office.

Julia is not excited about her options but agrees to this scheme and studies hard to learn society’s rules and how to act like a lady in order to become the Emerald Heiress.  All the while hoping her father would want get to know her and like her as his daughter. But Lord Pierson is a gruff and stern man who’s all about business.

There was a short window to learn all the rules of society and how to walk and breathe in her new fancy clothes. The reader wonders as does Julia could she really pull this off? Could she learn everything in a few months and pretend to be happy on top of it? Tall order but Lord Isaac Dalry has her back in social situations. This part reminded me of the movie Princess Diaries where the character Julie Andrews played tries to teach Mia Thermopolis, (played by Ann Hathaway) how to be a princess that would eventually become Queen of Genovia. Fun, Grin!

Mr. Macy made it known he could snatch and harm Julia at any time which made everyone nervous. All the players in this game knew that in “Victorian society, even a whisper of scandal-substantiated or not-can be the death of a young woman’s reputation.” This mattered to Julia because of her love for Edward and to Lord Dalry because of his political ambitions.

Soon Julia becomes the toast of London, and everyone is anxious to get to know her. She feels trapped in a power struggle between two men. How could she get out of their clutches and take back control of her own life. She was learning to rely on God for His help there was no one else to turn to.

I felt the tension between Julia and her father as he tried to control everything she did in order to keep her safe and to make their plan work. Mr. Macy was on the prowl to get Julia.  He made sure she and her father knew he was always near. I agonized along with Julia in her challenge but quite honestly she let her emotions run her actions and made some crazy choices in book one and made some more in book two. I just wanted to say to her, “Stop and think about your next move BEFORE you make it.” Grin!

I like how this author starts off the novel in the future much like the movie Titanic did. Julia says, “I’m an old woman now. I had no idea my story would cause such an uproar…long life has its advantages. Your perception grows clearer, even if your sight dims…yet the world thinks what it will. I am far too old to care, anyway…It all began, of course, with my father (Lord Roy Pierson)…

I liked that Jessica writes this series in the first person perspective. It made things more personal. You feel as if you are walking in the characters shoes. “Julia shares her tale of misfortune, mistakes and misery. She was caught in a snare of deception and passion as a greater love sought to save her to Him. Who could she turn to for answers who could she trust with her heart and life?”

Love this beginning. Julia then drops readers back in time for the rest of her story just like the Titanic movie did. “I want to believe that my life would be rectified-that I would find my way back to Edward. But as each day passed, that hope became a glittering candle, sitting in a draft.”

I was caught up in the mannerisms, apparel, and lifestyle of the privileged and decorum of the 1800’s. It’s a fun and fascinating peek at society, rolled together with many suspenseful moments that kept your heart pounding and my fingers turning pages reading about believable characters I found myself rooting for.
Out JANUARY 2015

I highly recommend this novel as a great read and a book club pick. There is so much to enjoy and talk about. I can’t wait to see where this author takes readers in the next book called Price of Privilege. You will too.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com
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