The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier
Release Date: April 11, 2017
Rating: 1.5 Stars
You know there’s a problem when you dread coming back to a book.
The Freemason’s Daughter is not a bad book. The writing is fine and the setting and premise are unique. So it does have some good qualities. It is, however, extremely slow, almost plotless, and it’s extremely difficult to connect with or care about any of the characters.
This book’s pacing is sooo weird. It’s extremely insanely slow (nothing of any substance happens) until around page 325 or so and then it picks up at breakneck speed before ending almost mid sentence. It was a very strange ending with no closure at. all. Also, I had no idea what was going on half the time. I know it wasn’t that I didn’t understand it or something like that because I love slow, complex books. Maybe it was because I was so disinterested that I didn’t try to pay attention? Maybe because I dozed off a few times…? Or maybe it was because there really didn’t seem to be any plot until the last sixty pages. Most of that is due to our MC constantly being kept in the dark about what. in the world. was going on. and the useless romance that usurps the plot.
I felt no connection to Jenna. She wasn’t annoying or anything, but I really don’t know anything about her and that is an issue for me. Alex is the same. Also, his POVs read like a girl’s and not a twenty-year-old boy’s. I don’t know anything about any of the other characters either. Because I had very little information about any of the characters (besides their obsessions with altering their fate) it almost felt like I was navigating The Freemason’s Daughter in the dark. The lack any description of setting, location etc. did not help.
The book switches between Jenna’s and Alex’s and occasionally other characters’ POVs. Maybe it was just the ARC copy I was reading, but sometimes we would have a few pages from Jenna and the next paragraph would be from Alex, without any space or anything. It was very jarring and…weird, and I hope the final copy will have some space between new POV paragraphs.
Alex’s POVs were all about “not wanting to conform” and “not fitting the life he was born to” while Jenna’s were all about “changing her fate.” This 21st century teenage mindset felt very out of place in a historical novel set in the 1700s. It was jarring and did not fit at. all. In fact, I think this, along with the poor pacing, was The Freemason’s Daughter‘s main issue. The book did not feel like it was set in the early 18th century. There was no atmosphere and nothing to make it feel like old England besides the dresses and plot to restore King James to his throne.
And last, the romance.It felt contrived and forced and did nothing for me. It wasn’t cringeworthy or anything but I felt it added nothing to an already empty story.
I hate writing negative reviews because I feel so mean!! I think others will like The Freemason’s Daughter but it did not work for me.
Synopsis – The Freemason’s Daughter by Shelley Sackier
The Outlander series for the YA audience—a debut, full of romance and intrigue, set in early eighteenth-century Scotland.
Saying good-bye to Scotland is the hardest thing that Jenna MacDuff has had to do—until she meets Lord Pembroke. Jenna’s small clan has risked their lives traveling the countryside as masons, secretly drumming up support and arms for the exiled King James Stuart to retake the British throne. But their next job brings them into enemy territory: England.
Jenna’s father repeatedly warns her to trust no one, but when the Duke of Keswick hires the clan to build a garrison on his estate, it seems she cannot hide her capable mind from the duke’s inquisitive son, Lord Alex Pembroke—nor mask her growing attraction to him. But there’s a covert plan behind the building of the garrison, and soon Jenna must struggle not only to keep her newfound friendship with Alex from her father, but also to keep her father’s treason from Alex.
Will Jenna decide to keep her family’s mutinous secrets and assist her clan’s cause, or protect the life of the young noble she’s falling for?
In Shelley Sackier’s lush, vivid historical debut, someone will pay a deadly price no matter which choice Jenna makes.
I don’t remember any notable swearing and there was no sex.