Sisters of Castle Leod by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard
Publication Date: January 19, 2023
Black Rose Writing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Finalist – 2022 American Writing Awards
Millions are fans of Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander books and television series, but few know that Gabaldon’s fictional Castle Leoch was inspired by a real Scottish castle, Castle Leod. The two sisters who lived there at the turn of the twentieth century were among the most fascinating and talked-about women of their era.
Lady Sibell Mackenzie is a spiritualist, a believer in reincarnation, and a popular author of mystical romances. Petite and proper, she values tradition and duty. Her younger sister Lady Constance, swimming champion and big game hunter, is a statuesque beauty who scandalizes British society with her public displays of Greek-style barefoot dancing. The differences between the sisters escalate into conflict after Sibell inherits their late father’s vast estates and the title 3rd Countess of Cromartie. But it is the birth of Sibell’s daughter that sets in motion a series of bizarre and tragic events, pitting sister against sister and propelling Sibell on a desperate mission to challenge the power of fate.
Sisters of Castle Leod, by award-winning author Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, is the emotionally charged story of two sisters torn apart by jealousy and superstition, and the impossible leap of faith that could finally bring them together.
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“Heartbreaking and redemptive…a thoroughly engrossing story that will have readers quickly turning the pages.” -Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Splendid Ruin
“This expertly written novel is a beautiful example of how historical facts can be researched and transformed into a work of art. To say this novel was difficult to put down would be an understatement. From the first page, I knew this would become one of my favorite historical novels.” -Sublime Book Reviews
“A magical, mystical, mesmerizing tale of two real-life noble sisters of Castle Leod, caught up in shocking passions that cast them in opposition, yet desperate for reconciliation.” -Rebecca Rosenberg, triple-gold seed-winning novelist of Champagne Widows
“With shocking revelations and twists throughout the book, the reader is never sure what each new chapter will bring. Overall, with an excellent plot and character development, this book is awe-inspiring.” -Pacific Book Review
“Whilst the historical element of this novel can easily be compared to some of the great historical novelists, like Sharon Kay Penman, the ghostly apparitions and contact with the spirit world add an original view of a woman who was, in so many ways, ahead of her time.” -Readers’ Favorite
“The stage is set for sibling rivalry [in this] grand novel about two fascinating sisters of the Scottish Highlands at the turn of the 20th century.” -Sheila Myers, author of The Truth of Who You Are
“…a carefully researched historical novel with a touch of the supernatural.” -Gail Ward Olmsted, author of Landscape of a Marriage: Central Park Was Only the Beginning
REVIEW BY COFFEE & INK
This novel is based on real characters, the people who inhabited Castle Leod in the late 19th century. The eldest, Sibell, is sensitive to the ghosts and spirits still abiding there. Her father’s heir by special dispensation, she also inherits the responsibility of caring for her sister, who inherited very little. Constance is a free spirit, extroverted where Sibell is introspective, but also demanding and manipulative.
I did expect a story with more bitterness and recriminations, but Sibell, for the most part, is the agent of reconciliation, whether it’s with her sister or her husband. Sibell goes on a spiritual journey, exploring dreams and half memories, after the death of her infant daughter.
An engrossing and emotional story, one that lingers on after the last page. Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers.
In the afterword, the author talked about how she had to choose which point of view to take—Sibell or Constance. Sibell has far more patience than me, and I think the author made the right choice which side of the story to tell. 😀
About the Author
Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is the author of two Amazon bestsellers: THE BEAUTY DOCTOR, a compelling historical novel steeped in mystery with strong elements of a medical thriller (Readers’ Favorite), and TEMPTATION RAG: A NOVEL, a resonant novel … about the birth and demise of ragtime … luxuriously crafted (Publishers Weekly). Her books have been finalists for the Eric Hoffer Book Award and National Indie Excellence Awards, received a gold medallion from Book Readers Appreciation Group, and been named a historical fiction Discovered Diamond.
Elizabeth and her family live near Phoenix, Arizona.
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