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Posted February 2, 2014
The underlying theme, the connecting thread, of Dunnotar is the power of love, decency, loyalty.
Dunnotar is a fortress, the home of the Keith clan in Scotland. The times are tumultuous: the rule and fall of Charles 1, and at the end of the book, the return of Charles 2.
The first part of Dunnotar is based on an ethical dilemma: how do you react to feeling deep loyalty to both sides of a bitter disagreement? Members of the house of Keith feel friendship, loyalty and sympathy for King Charles, but equally, they completely reject his intention of imposing the Roman Catholic faith on Scotland. Once they have committed themselves to one side, they are loyal to the bitter end.
Most of the book is actually about the lives and loves of the three Keith men: William, his brother John and son Robert. The historical events are more a framing for this than a focus. Janet Elaine Smith hones in on the personal, the emotional, the yearnings and fears of people rather than on the action.
I found it disappointing that the last part of the story, from 1644 on, departs from this pattern, and instead we rapidly race through a series of little vignettes that report events without giving the reader the chance to be involved in the reactions of the people of the story. However, if you like history, and if you are a romantic at heart, you will enjoy this book.
Posted June 1, 2011
No text was provided for this review.