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A NOBLE CUNNING - Patricia Bernstein
The Countess And The Tower
A Perfect 10
History Through Fiction
ISBN: 9781736499054
March 7, 2023
Historical Fiction

Scotland and England - 1710 to 1716

Bethan Glentaggart, Countess of Clarencefield, is awakened in the dead of night by a torch carrying mob outside her Lowland Scotland home. Her husband is away, and there is just her companion, Lucy, her two young children, and one male servant in the house. The leaders of the crowd are demanding Bethan send out the priest they think she is hiding. As a Catholic in the now heavily Protestant Scotland, she is forbidden from taking mass, and priests are constantly being hidden to prevent their arrest, and worse. Bethan is relieved to know that Father Jerome was to have departed earlier and reluctantly agrees to allow a few of the men in to search the house. But one man goes too far, threatening harm to Bethan, and injuring her before her male servant produces a gun, and runs the men off. Bethan knows that Gavin, her husband, will have to know what happened, and she's worried about how he will react.

React Gavin did, but in a legal way, as furious as he was about the invasion. The main culprit is dealt with, but Gavin eventually joins the Jacobite rebellion in order to overthrow the German-born king that the Protestants have placed on the British throne. The rightful king, Catholic James II, is in exile in France. However, the Jacobites are soon thwarted in their efforts, and several, including Gavin, are tried, sentenced to death, and kept in the Tower of London awaiting their executions. 

It falls to Bethan to plead for clemency for her husband, but King George I wants nothing of that. So, somehow, Bethan must find a way to rescue Gavin.

A NOBLE CUNNING is a meticulously researched novel based on the real-life story of Winifred Maxwell, Countess of Nithsdale, who is put in a precarious position when her husband is imprisoned in the Tower. This book goes into great detail about how dangerous it was to be a Catholic, or a supporter of James during this era. Bethan is forced to make decisions that put her family and friends in danger, but she bravely moves forward with plans to save Gavin's life. 

Beautifully written, A NOBLE CUNNING brings to life a time in history that is fraught with danger for those trying to pursue their religious beliefs. Readers of historical fiction based on real life events will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Jani Brooks

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