Book Review: “Gosford’s Daughter” by Mary Daheim

I must confess right up front that I never knew Mary Daheim wrote historical romance novels until now. I am a huge fan of her Alpine/Emma Lord series, so my curiosity was peaked when I realized this book was not a cozy mystery.
This novel is the sequel to, or continuation of, a novel published many years back featuring The Frasers, entitled “ The Royal Mile.” I wanted to find that first book and read it before embarking on this one, but I never got around to locating a copy. However, once I started reading this one, I quickly discovered I didn’t have to read the first book in order to enjoy this one. This book was originally published in 1988 under the title “ Passion’s Triumph.”
This book introduces us to Dallas and Iain’s daughter, Sorcha, who, when we first meet her, is a typical teenaged girl given to petulance, and is headstrong and maybe just a little boy crazy as she appears to fall in and out of love fairly quickly. But, when the man who it has been implied she would eventually marry, suddenly does an about-face, claiming he can’t marry a Catholic, Dallas feels they must begin searching for Sorcha a husband.
This development on top of another one in which Sorcha learns a deeply buried family secret, has her parents sending her off to stay with relatives for a time. It is here, Sorcha will meet the great love of her life, Gavin Napier…. a priest.
Set in the late 1500’s during the imprisonment of Mary Stuart, Sorcha will become friends with King James and become entrenched in schemes, epic dramas, religious conflict, and political intrigue. She and Gavin will suffer much in their quest to be together and the reader will have the pleasure of watching this young woman grow into quite a lady.
This is the kind of historical romance novel I cut my teeth on, so to speak. Epic love stories that enraged the reader at times by bringing a couple together, having them fall in love, separate them by circumstances, bring them back together again, but just as they become so close to finally realizing their passion, they are ripped apart once more. I love that stuff!! I also love mystery and intrigue and this book is chock of that as well, and to put the cherry on the cake the descriptive details of the Scottish Highlands creates an atmosphere second to none for romance.
While this book was published some years back, I have no way of knowing if it was touched up or edited in any way before its release into digital format, but I will say that while many historical romance novels written in the eighties and nineties often rub the modern reader the wrong way and are absolutely politically incorrect by today’s standards, this book, didn’t have a dated feel to it at all and I felt the author created a strong female lead who moved within the strictures of the time period with boldness and courage and was a character to be proud of.
I do still want to find the first book which featured Dallas and Iain since their story is alluded to in this book and it would be a poignant book to read at this stage.
Mary did not continue writing historical romances but found her niche writing mystery novels which I highly recommend if you have never read any of them. However, I hope this re-release will be successful enough to prompt her to take up historical writing once more.
(Review written by Julie)

2 thoughts on “Book Review: “Gosford’s Daughter” by Mary Daheim

  1. Indeed this does sound like a great story. I love all ages in the historom genre and this one looks so good. I am currently reading The Defiant Bride, it's by Leslie Hachtel who I think is now my new fav author! is her site, her books are great!


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