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Reviewed by Kimberlee J Benart for Readers' Favorite
Based on a true story, A Noble Cunning: The Countess and the Tower by Patricia Bernstein is set in Great Britain during the transition between the Stuart and Hanover monarchies in the early 1700s and brings the conflict between Protestant and Catholic faithful into sharp focus. Lady Bethan Carlisle Glentaggart, Countess of Clarencefield, is a Catholic whose family is loyal to the exiled Stuart claimant to the throne. During the 1715 Jacobite Rebellion, her Scottish nobleman husband Gavin fights against English forces in a failed attempt to oust King George I. Captured with other Scottish nobles, tried for treason, and condemned to be executed, Gavin is held in the Tower of London to await his sentence. Can Bethan save her husband from certain death?
In A Noble Cunning, Patricia Bernstein gives us an impeccably written work of historical fiction. On one level, it’s a love story that captures the thoughts and feelings of a woman determined to protect her children and husband from harm. On another level, it brings the history of the times alive as we see the political and social upheaval that results in the struggle for the British throne. On a third level, it depicts the continuing religious conflict between Protestant and Catholic faithful in raw and real terms as intolerance and hatred fan the flames of oppression and persecution. The highly descriptive narrative moves at an engaging pace and the character development is utterly exquisite. If you like historical fiction, you’ll find this a real pleasure to read.