Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
527 Pages
Reviewed on 03/08/2022
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Author Biography

Bettyanne Twigg (co-author)
Bettyanne Twigg was an objects curator conservator who has written and lectured internationally on historic preservation. Her alter ego "Elspeth" was a craft designer and miniaturist. She brought her love of research and history to her books. She and her husband, Homer, lived in the mountains of Maryland, with their dog, Pepper and sundry feral cats.

Albert Marsolais (co-author)
Albert is a retired scientist and businessman who worked in the field of genetics and biotechnology. He lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife Laurel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Skyehag is a work of fiction in the historical mystery, adventure, and suspense subgenres. It is intended for the general reading audience and was penned by author team Bettyanne Twigg and Albert Marsolais. In this second novel of the Torrport Diaries series, we follow on from the events of The Convenient to find Elspeth MacLeod in dire straights indeed. The year is 1705, and Elspeth must answer accusations of witchcraft. She calls upon her dear friend, the physician Malcolm Forrester, to vouch for her, but all is far from simple as the nasty in-fighting and the accusations around the unstable Clan MacLeod cause both Elspeth and Malcolm to face their own inner turmoil in order to make things right.

I was absolutely delighted to have the chance to review this second in series work after enjoying The Convenient so very much. Shifting the focus from medical mystery into more of a suspenseful historical gender politics tale is a tall order indeed, and one which author team Bettyanne Twigg and Albert Marsolais were more than ready for. Once again I found the characters and their emotional arc a moving central element of the novel. You could really sit on their shoulders and feel every trial, every demon they battle, and every injustice they suffer, which gives you total immersion and reliability in the plot despite it being some 300 years back in human history. What results is an intriguing story that deftly handles issues of power, greed, fear, and solidarity with sophistication and an engrossing command of narrative. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Skyehag to fans of the series, and historical fiction readers everywhere in general.

Joshua Olokodana

In Skyehag by Bettyanne Twigg and Albert Marsolais, the Isle of Skye rocks with political intrigue; the chieftain is Norman MacLeod, and the enemies are within his household. Elspeth MacLeod was summoned to Skye on charges of witchcraft for stopping arterial bleeding. Upon arrival, she confirms that there’s more to the summons when the ailing chieftain assures her of his protection but requests her help in stopping his enemies. Trying to be logical by abstaining from treating Norman, who is her relative, Elspeth sends for help in the form of her physician friend, Malcolm Forrester, from Edinburgh. However, the witches of Skye get wind of Malcolm’s coming, and they resolve to use anything—even death—to stop him from getting to Skye. Fortunately, Malcolm is wearing Elspeth’s Fortuna ring, but will it be enough to see him through? Crucially, will Malcolm’s help be enough to tip the scales in the laird’s favor?

Co-authored by Bettyanne Twigg and Albert Marsolais, Skyehag is a dramatic tale that takes you back in time to eighteenth-century Scotland. By no means fast paced, it invites the reader to dig in and savor the authors’ patient narration. Indeed, Bettyanne and Albert showed their expertise in painting vivid scenes and filling them with lively characters and objects that each have a story to tell. Make no mistake, Skyehag is a prime work of art. Other than its vivid fight scenes, the characters were real, the world-building was flawless, and the drama was like that of a telenovela. I liked that the story was narrated in the first person because it made me realize the extent of Malcolm’s dynamism. Although Elspeth is an equally likable character, Malcolm is my favorite. The only flaw of this book, which is a testament to its quality, is that it is too real to be a work of fiction. It is perfect for those who prefer grand tales of ancient kingdoms involving a lot of drama and political intrigue.

Jennifer Ibiam

Until the eighteenth century, women couldn’t practice the medical profession in Scotland. Elspeth was an Italian-trained physician accused of witchcraft by a childhood rival and healer. The laird of Clan MacLeod, Norman MacLeod, summoned Elspeth home to answer her charge. But after an attempted assassination on her trip back home to Dunvegan, Skye, Elspeth realized that there was more. Norman’s health failed from suspicious ailments, greedy kin were after some ancestral treasures, and the laird’s entire family were moving targets. They needed protection. Elspeth sought the help of her friend and trained physician, Malcolm Forrester. However, Malcolm also suffered from personal demons linked to his ancestors. The journey to protecting their loved ones includes a trip to the past, facing witches, and fighting demons in Skyehag by Bettyanne Twigg and Albert Marsolais.

The enemies live within, and sometimes strangers offer more safety than family. Skyehag by Bettyanne Twigg and Albert Marsolais is a captivating historical novel set in the eighteenth century. It explored witchcraft, magic, mysticism, manipulations, sabotage, scheming, and betrayals. The book also had a realistic plot, well-developed characters, and a riveting storyline. There were lots of takeaways from this fast-paced and action-packed story. Mairi, Elspeth, and Malcolm were the stars of this novel, and I loved them for different reasons. However, their bravery, loyalty, and resourcefulness were commendable. I also felt emotional about how far women have come, from being unable to practice in certain professions to receiving recognition in those fields. This book adopted a two-person narrative that flowed with humor and unpredictability. Twigg and Marsolais wrote a beautiful novel. What’s next for Malcolm, Elspeth, and Gregor?