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White Rose Rebel by Janet Paisley

I first came across Janet Paisley, who is an award winning poet and author, when I was studying Creative Writing in Stirling, Scotland. She read some of her amazing poetry to us. She writes in both Scots and English. As a result of this I have always thought of her as a poet, first and foremost.

The Blurb

White Rose Rebel is incredibly readable, pacy, lusty, rousing and richly imagined. It is the story of a couple torn apart and set against each other, finding themselves on opposite sides of the battle during the Jacobite Rebellion. Anne Farquharson is elated when the Jacobites rebel in 1745 and horrified when her husband, Aeneas MacIntosh, joins the government army. She raises his clan and, with her lover at her side, joins the rising to become its legendary 'Colonel Anne'.

Janet Paisley explores the grand themes of civil war, love and marital discord, loyalty and betrayal, women's rights and national identity with an unforgettable cast of characters and with utterly captivating storytelling.

The Review

White Rose Rebel is a historical novel. It was my book group,s book of the month. The story is based on real people and events and is about the passionate conflict between a married couple caught up in civil war in Scotland. The heroine, Anne Farquharson, is a wilful young woman with strong political views. When she marries a highland clan chief, Aeneas McIntosh, she believes he shares her opinions. In the Jacobite rising of 1745, however, he goes to fight for the government.

Anne does the opposite. She raises her husband’s clan to fight against him.

Her husband’s cousin and best friend is also Anne’s ex-lover. He takes her side and leads her troops in battle. Predictably, they fall in love again. As Colonel Anne, she is the cause of other powerful women joining the rebels. She repeatedly offends the English government by outwitting their army. They plan to capture and hang her.

This is not just a romance but a heartbreaking love story involving three strong characters divided by politics and separated by war.

Janet Paisley’s writing is very visual it was like watching a movie with fantastic scenery. The details of how life was lived are all there, from smoky homes to personal habits and clothing, the food, wild parties, bloody battlefields, spies, torture, betrayal, filthy prisons and brutal executions. There were kind and cruel people on both sides. Some are heroic, despicable or brutish while others are likeable, confused or amusing.

White Rose Rebel is an exciting historic adventure and a great love story in parts. There are many Jacobite novels but this is not the best of them. However, the book was overly long and repetitive in parts. I found the ending, where Anne is feted in London, England completely unbelievable. I felt cheated by this. I will read more by Janet Paisley, because I like her personally. I just hope I enjoy the next book more.

The Author

Janet Paisley was an award winning poet, author, playwright, non-fiction and scriptwriter, writing in Scots and English. Born in 1948 in Ilford, Essex of Scottish parents, she grew up in Avonbridge, a small village in Central Scotland. Marriage, a teaching career, the birth of seven sons, the death of one, and divorce followed.

A prolific and popular writer, first published in 1979, she features at national and international festivals and is published, performed, broadcast and taught on the curriculum from primary to university at home and abroad. Her work has been translated into German, Russian, Lithuanian, Slovak, Spanish, Hungarian, Ukranian and Italian and is widely anthologised.


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