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DEVIL WATER is the true story of Charles Radcliffe, who escaped from Newgate prison in 1715 after his brother's execution, and of his daughter Jenny. Jenny was the child of a secret marriage; father and daughter share a strong and abiding affection.When Jenny immigrates to America, she and her father suffer years of separation. The themes of this book are loyalty and coura DEVIL WATER is the true story of Charles Radcliffe, who escaped from Newgate prison in 1715 after his brother's execution, and of his daughter Jenny. Jenny was the child of a secret marriage; father and daughter share a strong and abiding affection.When Jenny immigrates to America, she and her father suffer years of separation. The themes of this book are loyalty and courage.Like all of Seton's books, this one combines thoroughly documented history with superb storytelling.


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DEVIL WATER is the true story of Charles Radcliffe, who escaped from Newgate prison in 1715 after his brother's execution, and of his daughter Jenny. Jenny was the child of a secret marriage; father and daughter share a strong and abiding affection.When Jenny immigrates to America, she and her father suffer years of separation. The themes of this book are loyalty and coura DEVIL WATER is the true story of Charles Radcliffe, who escaped from Newgate prison in 1715 after his brother's execution, and of his daughter Jenny. Jenny was the child of a secret marriage; father and daughter share a strong and abiding affection.When Jenny immigrates to America, she and her father suffer years of separation. The themes of this book are loyalty and courage.Like all of Seton's books, this one combines thoroughly documented history with superb storytelling.

30 review for Devil Water

  1. 5 out of 5

    Carol She's So Novel꧁꧂

    On Good reads we all have our little quirks as readers. One of mine is that when I settle down with a book unless its a favourite author I'm expecting at least a 3* read. For me thats a good, but not memorable read. Even though I'm not the slightest bit mathematically inclined. I have a little line graph in my head until I settle on my final rating. This is a book where the graph looked like the Swiss Alps until I ended up back where I started at 3* For me, a big part of the problem was when the s On Good reads we all have our little quirks as readers. One of mine is that when I settle down with a book unless its a favourite author I'm expecting at least a 3* read. For me thats a good, but not memorable read. Even though I'm not the slightest bit mathematically inclined. I have a little line graph in my head until I settle on my final rating. This is a book where the graph looked like the Swiss Alps until I ended up back where I started at 3* For me, a big part of the problem was when the story changed from Charles/James to Jenny. I now know this is part of Seton's family history (which I didn't know till afterwards when I read the author's note) but I think Seton was probably hoping to discover more about the character of Jenny. Since she didn't I now know what a Goodreads “Mary Sue” is, as in spite of her sufferings, Jenny remains a blank perfect doll. Rob is better drawn but Seton doesn't make him a sympathetic character. I do think Seton may have been better to have kept her focus on Charles. The narrative in that part was a real page turner. The language felt authentic (other than a slightly too early use of the expression about needing to break eggs to make an omelette) Doubtful even if it would have been in use in France at that time – really can't see a man from Northern England using it. I have a copy of Katharine which is considered by many to be Seton's best work. If I don't enjoy that - & I am now not in a rush to get to it!- I'm just going to assume this is author that for me has dated badly. Can't win them all. :)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Emery Lee

    Similar to other reviewers, I had very mixed feelings about this book. From a historical perspective, the research was impeccable, from the dialect and unique culture of 18th century Northumberland to Virginia of the early colonial period and all of the historical figures worked into the story. On the negative side, even with my familiarity with this history, I struggled to maintain interest in the first 100 pages. Many times I felt the details were excessive and severely encumbered the plot prog Similar to other reviewers, I had very mixed feelings about this book. From a historical perspective, the research was impeccable, from the dialect and unique culture of 18th century Northumberland to Virginia of the early colonial period and all of the historical figures worked into the story. On the negative side, even with my familiarity with this history, I struggled to maintain interest in the first 100 pages. Many times I felt the details were excessive and severely encumbered the plot progression. I also had some trouble with the flow of the story, feeling it too broken up as it spans almost forty years and is written as six books, some with large time gaps in between. The book begins with a very detailed account of the early life of Charles Radcliffe, young brother to the 3rd Earl of Derwentwater who was executed for treason after the 1715 Jacobit uprising. The author recounts the event leading to the uprising that ended swiftly as an almost tragic comedy of errors, yet I felt almost complete emotional detachment from the main characters. When I did feel sympathy, it was more for James (the Earl) than for his reckless younger brother, but I always felt as if I were watching them with detachment, as if characters in a stage play. For the first third of the book, the author tended to jump between Charles and James and then finally moved on to Jenny (at about page 230) and centered the rest of the book on her. It felt like separate books that didn't quite mesh togerther. I liked Jenny's character very much and the love story between she and Rob was compelling. This was truly the best part of the book for me, but then it circled back around to the Jacobite intrigue with the rising of 1745 and her father's subsequent execution. I think I would have enjoyed this story more had the author decided to begin with Jenny and fill in her family background as the story progressed. For those interested in English Jacobite history, particulalry the Uprising of 1715, I enjoyed Walter Besant's Dorothy Forster, another biographical fiction that relates many of these same events through the first person narrative of Dorothy Forster, sister to General Thomas Forster, a Northumberland MP, who like Charles Radcliffe, also escaped Newgate for France. I felt Besant's account of these particular events was more emotionally engaging.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    I am so pleased that this author's novels are being reprinted, I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them, especially Katherine. This is a fascinating tale, based upon the Radcliffs of Derentwater (Devil Water), staunch catholics and loyal to the Stuart cause, and descended from Charles II via the wrong side of the blanket. Charles Radcliff, the younger brother has a secret marriage to a lower born woman who gives birth to the love of his life, his daughter Jenny. The story takes you f I am so pleased that this author's novels are being reprinted, I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them, especially Katherine. This is a fascinating tale, based upon the Radcliffs of Derentwater (Devil Water), staunch catholics and loyal to the Stuart cause, and descended from Charles II via the wrong side of the blanket. Charles Radcliff, the younger brother has a secret marriage to a lower born woman who gives birth to the love of his life, his daughter Jenny. The story takes you from the moors of Northumberland to the Jacobite rebellion of '15 to the tobacco farms of Virginia, and back again to London for a nail biting finish after the final Jacobite rebellion and the battle at Culloden. Seton has a wonderful way of setting her scenes so that you can almost feel you are right there with it. I also enjoyed her way of writing different dialects (the Northumbrians, and the Virginia "twangs"), which definitely enhance the reading experience. All in all a highly entertaining read, and one I will pick up again and again over the years. It's not quite up to the same par as Katherine (that's a 10 star book in my rating) or the Winthrop Woman but definitely worth the time, especially for any lover of historical fiction.

  4. 5 out of 5

    BAM the enigma

    Once again, Anya Seton does not fail to engross. I completely forgot to take any notes for my review because I was so engaged in this tale. I always appreciate her novels because she is an author who knows how to fully research her storyline.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    This is the tale primarily of Charles Radcliffe who was a Catholic Englishman who supported the Jacobite cause in the 1700s. This novel is well researched and tells of the lives of many historical figures of that time. Sometimes it got a little too descriptive and I simply skimmed a bit when that happened, but I have to say the ending was amazing and had me in tears. If you love Outlander and just great historical novels, I can't imagine you wouldn't enjoy this! This is the tale primarily of Charles Radcliffe who was a Catholic Englishman who supported the Jacobite cause in the 1700s. This novel is well researched and tells of the lives of many historical figures of that time. Sometimes it got a little too descriptive and I simply skimmed a bit when that happened, but I have to say the ending was amazing and had me in tears. If you love Outlander and just great historical novels, I can't imagine you wouldn't enjoy this!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Carol Storm

    if Edgar Allan Poe were trying to write like Sir Walter Scott, he might come up with something like this. On the surface, it seems to be a very romantic, chivalrous tale, of a gallant cavalier who gives his life defending the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie . . . and the beautiful daughter he leaves behind, who finds passion and a new start in the New World. Problem is, this is Anya Seton, and she does to romance what Jim Morrison does to the blues. Starting off with something familiar, she makes if Edgar Allan Poe were trying to write like Sir Walter Scott, he might come up with something like this. On the surface, it seems to be a very romantic, chivalrous tale, of a gallant cavalier who gives his life defending the cause of Bonnie Prince Charlie . . . and the beautiful daughter he leaves behind, who finds passion and a new start in the New World. Problem is, this is Anya Seton, and she does to romance what Jim Morrison does to the blues. Starting off with something familiar, she makes things get somehow sinister, somehow creepy, somehow twisted. Doesn't Jenny seem to spend a lot of time flirting with her dad? A lot of time . . . Isn't her rugged husband kind of an abusive jerk? Almost like he's an attack on the vulgarity of the new classless America that ostensibly we're supposed to admire . . . Jenny is cute and helpless as an orphan girl, but by the time she's all grown up she's got a mean streak and a chip on her shoulder . . . spurning young men or else shocking them with obscene taunts which reveal -- or rather hint -- at an enormous trauma she must have suffered as a small child. Gallant Sir Charles certainly was fond of his beautiful daughter . . .

  7. 5 out of 5

    ~☆~Autumn♥♥☔

    I have read this several times as I own an old copy and I really enjoy most of this book except toward the end I get very annoyed with how he treats his daughter. I guess that most anyone who likes English history would enjoy it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mela

    Fear, the devil’s holy water Let's get a deep breath... What was the book about? About --> the glory of the pride/honor or the unhappiness that such pride can cause? --> the strength of the loyalty or the death that such loyalty can bring? --> the selflessness of the love or the harm such love can do? Or perhaps that, in the end, nothing (also the mentioned above) really matters... Or it does matter? Self-preservation is the first and strongest law of nature I love historical fiction like this one when b Fear, the devil’s holy water Let's get a deep breath... What was the book about? About --> the glory of the pride/honor or the unhappiness that such pride can cause? --> the strength of the loyalty or the death that such loyalty can bring? --> the selflessness of the love or the harm such love can do? Or perhaps that, in the end, nothing (also the mentioned above) really matters... Or it does matter? Self-preservation is the first and strongest law of nature I love historical fiction like this one when big historical events interwind with everyday life. Thanks to it, on one hand, the novel is like a textbook for history lessons, on the other hand, it is a journey in time. She had learned about suffering since she passed this way before, she had learned about fear and death I also love when there are interesting characters. I can then feel with (for) them happiness, anger, sadness, loneliness, amazement, betrayal and many other emotions. Some relation between characters in "Devil Water" were simply phenomenally described/shown. E.g. between a daughter and a father, in the example of Jenny and Charles, and of Evelyn and Mr Byrd. Besides these four there were people like James, Rob, Betty, Alec, Meg, Ann and many others. They all created a masterpiece of historical fiction. Sperare est timere. (...) There was indeed fear in hoping

  9. 5 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    I quite enjoyed the two previous Seton books I’ve read; her strength is in writing well-detailed historical novels with strong, entertaining plots, and in that regard this one is no different. I was consistently entertained and kept wanting to know what happened next. And I learned a fair bit about the Jacobite rebellions, and some about colonial Virginia. The settings are well-done and enjoyable to read about. Seton’s books are certainly more immersive than those of many other historical fictio I quite enjoyed the two previous Seton books I’ve read; her strength is in writing well-detailed historical novels with strong, entertaining plots, and in that regard this one is no different. I was consistently entertained and kept wanting to know what happened next. And I learned a fair bit about the Jacobite rebellions, and some about colonial Virginia. The settings are well-done and enjoyable to read about. Seton’s books are certainly more immersive than those of many other historical fiction writers, who tend to skip over the description and assume readers will fill it in for themselves; Seton takes worldbuilding as seriously as many a fantasy writer and I always appreciate that. I’m of two minds about the characters. Charles Radcliffe is possibly the most complex character here, and his exploits are interesting to read about. His daughter Jenny takes center stage for most of the book, and she’s just okay--she has her moments, but Seton’s rhapsodizing about her beauty and inviting us to feel sorry for her because other women are jealous and therefore dislike her often tends to overwhelm her actual personality. Her friend Evelyn is the more interesting of the two, and with far less screen time. And, unfortunately, a lot of Jenny’s time is spent on a quite unromantic romance (I concur with the other reviewers who called this the least interesting part of the book), which Seton nevertheless seems to expect us to find romantic. It reaches the height of silliness with a contrived “devil worship” episode, which, while one of the most important scenes in the book as far as its effect on the plot goes, takes up all of three pages including build-up and immediate aftermath, making it near impossible to take seriously--and it was a goofy idea besides. Finally, every time I review an Anya Seton book I find myself writing some variation on: “Overall, this book has aged well for something written 50-60 years ago, but....” What comes after the “but” is always different. In this case, it’s a particularly unfortunate sequence from which it appears that Seton realized it’s a really bad thing to hit or rape one’s spouse, but considered such actions easily forgiveable if the offending spouse apologizes and promises never to do so again, and furthermore, that that person can show their continued love by making decisions for the other person without asking their preferences one way or the other. (Also, a kid with a limp and webbed fingers is better off dead? Huh?) Meanwhile, the prose itself is serviceable, although the foreshadowing is about as subtle as a sledgehammer. Three stars is perhaps a bit generous in my view, but Devil Water is overall an entertaining book and well-executed, although not on the same level as Katherine or The Winthrop Woman.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cathie

    From the back cover: Devil Water is the true story of Charles Radcliffe, a Catholic nobleman who joined in the doomed Jacobite rebellion of 1715, and of Jenny, his daughter by a secret marriage. Set in the wilds of Northumbria, teeming London and colonial Virginia, Devil Water is a story of loyalty, passion, and courage in both the Old World and the New. My impression: Typical of Anya Seton this was a marvelous read. It started out slowly for me but picked up quickly. I read this book because it w From the back cover: Devil Water is the true story of Charles Radcliffe, a Catholic nobleman who joined in the doomed Jacobite rebellion of 1715, and of Jenny, his daughter by a secret marriage. Set in the wilds of Northumbria, teeming London and colonial Virginia, Devil Water is a story of loyalty, passion, and courage in both the Old World and the New. My impression: Typical of Anya Seton this was a marvelous read. It started out slowly for me but picked up quickly. I read this book because it was selected as one of our group reads in Historical Fiction. I did Google several of the characters and found that Ms. Seton's research was correct. Very little is known, however, about Jane "Jenny" Radcliffe or Rob Wilson so I leave those to Ms. Seton's data and take her word on them. The problem with historical fiction is that the reader knows the outcome from the beginning, but it does not make it any less regretful. I enjoyed reading this book and highly recommend it. It deals with a era in Scottish/English history and pre-Revolutionary American history that I know little about and I was glad to learn more.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Having previously read only one other book by Ms Seton -- The Winthrop Woman, which I enjoyed tremendously -- I had high hopes for Devil Water. I was greatly disappointed, however, and almost put the book aside after the first 100 pages. The thing that makes this book hard to like is that the characters themselves aren't very likable, and near the end (spoiler alert!) one of the characters perpetrates an act of violence against another that is so heinous it is unforgivable, and yet when those tw Having previously read only one other book by Ms Seton -- The Winthrop Woman, which I enjoyed tremendously -- I had high hopes for Devil Water. I was greatly disappointed, however, and almost put the book aside after the first 100 pages. The thing that makes this book hard to like is that the characters themselves aren't very likable, and near the end (spoiler alert!) one of the characters perpetrates an act of violence against another that is so heinous it is unforgivable, and yet when those two characters come together again their reunion is heroic and full of passion. The most interesting parts of the story were those that took place in early Colonial America and those are woefully few. Unfortunately, the action jumps from one character to another and never really fully rounds out anyone. This book is based on real people and history and it is well-researched, but the fiction that fills the blanks is too strange even for fiction.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lady of the Lake

    Maybe it's me? Perhaps I'm just not connecting for some reason. It does seem to be a long streak of books that aren't taking me away...i don't know but This is another story that just didn't send me into another time and place...while yes the historical facts are amazing...albeit nothing I haven't read about (many times) before. The Jacobite period isn't my favorite time either which may have to do with how well i liked this book... there are many books i have read that use this time frame...add Maybe it's me? Perhaps I'm just not connecting for some reason. It does seem to be a long streak of books that aren't taking me away...i don't know but This is another story that just didn't send me into another time and place...while yes the historical facts are amazing...albeit nothing I haven't read about (many times) before. The Jacobite period isn't my favorite time either which may have to do with how well i liked this book... there are many books i have read that use this time frame...added nothing new for me to keep me from zoning out...the time frame would be fine if the characters and their lives made me want to walk with them through their tale...all i can say is I am happy I finally read DEVIL WATER and can cross it off my TBR list...however this is not a story I will read again. (Anya Seton however did write KATHERINE which is one of my all time faves.!)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jaime

    I read this in 8th grade when my English teacher turned me onto Anya Seton, and went on to reread it a few times. It was by far my favorite Seton novel, but I'm not sure if I could get through it today. Maybe a little too florid? However, the history was well-researched and so it's an entertaining way to learn about England during the Jacobite Rebellion and colonial Virginia. I read this in 8th grade when my English teacher turned me onto Anya Seton, and went on to reread it a few times. It was by far my favorite Seton novel, but I'm not sure if I could get through it today. Maybe a little too florid? However, the history was well-researched and so it's an entertaining way to learn about England during the Jacobite Rebellion and colonial Virginia.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marcie

    Books by Anya Seton are not easy reads. They are long and detailed. Devil Water is no exception. I plowed through in places trying to find the story rather than so many details that I would never remember. Ultimately, the story captured me and was so worth it. Charles Radcliffe is the focus of the book, as well as the Scottish uprising. Charles and his brother James were dedicated Catholics who enthusiastically fought to bring James Stuart back to England to claim his rightful place as King of E Books by Anya Seton are not easy reads. They are long and detailed. Devil Water is no exception. I plowed through in places trying to find the story rather than so many details that I would never remember. Ultimately, the story captured me and was so worth it. Charles Radcliffe is the focus of the book, as well as the Scottish uprising. Charles and his brother James were dedicated Catholics who enthusiastically fought to bring James Stuart back to England to claim his rightful place as King of England. As the years go by Charles’s daughter Jenny takes the central role in the book. Excellent research and writing! The book is so old that I had no problem getting it online from the public library.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    DNF....will read at another time, maybe. Bored and need something with a great story that keeps me engaged and with lyrical, lovely prose right now.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Deana

    I have a love-hate relationship with this book. On the one hand, I found the story (meaning the plot and characters) fascinating, and moreso because it is based on real people and real events. I found myself looking multiple things up on Wikipedia during each sitting. And yet... it was an INCREDIBLY slow read. It kept putting me to sleep. Partly because it seemed to drag on and on - events seemed to take far more pages than needed (spoiled by the internet much?) and ... I don't know, I guess I j I have a love-hate relationship with this book. On the one hand, I found the story (meaning the plot and characters) fascinating, and moreso because it is based on real people and real events. I found myself looking multiple things up on Wikipedia during each sitting. And yet... it was an INCREDIBLY slow read. It kept putting me to sleep. Partly because it seemed to drag on and on - events seemed to take far more pages than needed (spoiled by the internet much?) and ... I don't know, I guess I just didn't care for the writing style. Which makes me sad, because this author has been recommended by many people. Then again, they have never recommended this book in particular, so perhaps this one isn't really representative. The story revolves around Charles Radcliffe and his daughter, Jenny. Charles is the grandson of King Charles II of England, and his older brother is the Earl of Derwentwater (translated as Devil Water) at Dilston. They are fervently Catholic in a time when England is moving quickly toward Protestantism, and are supporters (to the death!) of "The Pretender", "King James III" (in quotes, because he was never recognized as King although he was technically next in succession, but he was Catholic and there was a new-ish law preventing Catholics from taking the throne). But the story more surrounds his daughter, Jenny (Jane), who was the result of a childhood affair with a country girl named Meg, whose father forced a marriage between them when he discovered her pregnancy, of course causing a scandal in the upper class life of Charles and his family. Jenny is torn in many ways due to her mixed heritage - between country life and life as "a lady", between Catholicism and Protestantism, between life in the north country and life in London, between romantic love to a childhood companion and fixed marriage to better her status and that of her family. I cried at multiple points in her story, and ESPECIALLY a lot at the ending... I began to believe I was in love with Rob myself, and was horrified by his reaction [to a spoiler], but glad of how he 'remedied' it. And the historical details thrown in are just fascinating. I do think it's worth struggling through the writing style, but be prepared to take forever reading this. It -is- broken up into six shorter "Books" by timeline, so that gives good stopping points, where you can stop and come back to it months later like I did :)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    If I could give this book six stars, I would. But I have special prejudices--first, I have been fascinated with the Stuarts and Jacobites for years, and second, my sixth great grandfather appears as one of the book's historical figures in colonial Virginia. This romantic and tragic story of Charles Radcliffe, the fiercely loyal cousin of Bonnie Prince Charlie, in some ways parallels Charles Stuart's own story. And Charles Radcliffe's beautiful and loyal daughter, who spent her early years in the If I could give this book six stars, I would. But I have special prejudices--first, I have been fascinated with the Stuarts and Jacobites for years, and second, my sixth great grandfather appears as one of the book's historical figures in colonial Virginia. This romantic and tragic story of Charles Radcliffe, the fiercely loyal cousin of Bonnie Prince Charlie, in some ways parallels Charles Stuart's own story. And Charles Radcliffe's beautiful and loyal daughter, who spent her early years in the wilds of Northumbria and is in love with a commoner from that same wild and untamed area, reminds me of Catherine Earnshawe in Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. I was very sorry when I reached the last page. This novel could conceivably continue. I hope it will.

  18. 5 out of 5

    MAP

    A novel following the actual person of Charles Radcliff, younger brother of James, Earl of Derwentwater, who was one of the leaders of the Jacobite revolt in 1715. This book had me totally hooked from the very beginning. I was never once bored or waiting to get away from some character and back to another one. This book WOULD have been a 5 star, except for 1 way over the top incident about 70 pages from the end, from which, in my opinion, the book never recovered (or at least, my opinion of the b A novel following the actual person of Charles Radcliff, younger brother of James, Earl of Derwentwater, who was one of the leaders of the Jacobite revolt in 1715. This book had me totally hooked from the very beginning. I was never once bored or waiting to get away from some character and back to another one. This book WOULD have been a 5 star, except for 1 way over the top incident about 70 pages from the end, from which, in my opinion, the book never recovered (or at least, my opinion of the book never recovered.) Other than that, it was a great book, and I'll be seeking out more Anya Seton.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Brenna

    Oy this was a difficult one for me. The story seemed to not mesh well together and the characters always seemd a bit distint-you didn't get a feel for them or ingrain yourself into their lives which is what I enjoy so much about books. For a short window of time you can become a completely different person and live separate life. This book didn't do that for me which made it rather painful to read. The back story about the Jacobite rebellion and the attention to historical detail is what saved i Oy this was a difficult one for me. The story seemed to not mesh well together and the characters always seemd a bit distint-you didn't get a feel for them or ingrain yourself into their lives which is what I enjoy so much about books. For a short window of time you can become a completely different person and live separate life. This book didn't do that for me which made it rather painful to read. The back story about the Jacobite rebellion and the attention to historical detail is what saved it from being "wall banged." I have to give credit where credit is due-Seton sure does know her history.

  20. 4 out of 5

    K.E. Coles

    It's donkey's years since I read this as a young teen. I absolutely loved it. Not sure I would now so don't want to re-read in case it spoils the memory. Probably quite dated now. It's donkey's years since I read this as a young teen. I absolutely loved it. Not sure I would now so don't want to re-read in case it spoils the memory. Probably quite dated now.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    I’m giving this one star because the book publisher omitted 37 pages (from 328-365) from the copy I have and now I can’t continue reading! 😤

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bianca Nagac

    Anya Seton has this power to put together a fictional and a historical story into something magical. This is the first book I read about Northumberland and the conflict between Protestants and Catholics. After reading this book, it aroused my interest to have further readings about the Jacobites. I like how Charles Radcliffe made it up to Jenny - with all the lost years they had as a father and a daughter. Some characters - at least in my personal opinion - are not that likeable. For example, I p Anya Seton has this power to put together a fictional and a historical story into something magical. This is the first book I read about Northumberland and the conflict between Protestants and Catholics. After reading this book, it aroused my interest to have further readings about the Jacobites. I like how Charles Radcliffe made it up to Jenny - with all the lost years they had as a father and a daughter. Some characters - at least in my personal opinion - are not that likeable. For example, I particularly do not like how Rob treated Jenny at times. The characters who stood out for me are Evelyn and Elizabeth Lee. The two characters had shown what true love is in their own ways. I am amazed how Evelyn hold on to her lover's promise until her last breath - despite having an unhappy ending. On the other hand, it is very brave for Elizabeth Lee to take Jenny in her new life because of her love for Charles Radcliffe. The lady didn't mind what her husband had to say and took great care of Jenny as if she was her own child. I also liked the closeness between best friends Jenny and Evelyn. How it sparked my interest about Jacobites astounds me in such a way that the gap between me and Anya Seton did not hinder the impact it would bring to me - and perhaps the same goes for others. I must say that some parts may have bored me. But how the life would unfold for the father and the daughter is something one will look forward to.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Peter Corrigan

    Generally fascinating and well-written novel of the Radcliffe family, one of key English Catholic noble families involved with the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 and the long aftermath culminating in the defeat of the Stuart cause at the battle of Culloden in 1746 (an event not directly dealt with in the book however). The afterword describes Anya Seton's sources and research which appears to have been extremely thorough and attests to a strict fidelity to the historical events wherever possible Generally fascinating and well-written novel of the Radcliffe family, one of key English Catholic noble families involved with the failed Jacobite rising of 1715 and the long aftermath culminating in the defeat of the Stuart cause at the battle of Culloden in 1746 (an event not directly dealt with in the book however). The afterword describes Anya Seton's sources and research which appears to have been extremely thorough and attests to a strict fidelity to the historical events wherever possible, minus the dialog of course. And it is a fairly incredible story, ranging from Northumberland (along the Scottish border) to London (the Tower and Newgate prison), France and across to colonial Virginia. On a side note, the Anya Seton (1904-1990) lived in my hometown of Old Greenwich, CT and I am pretty sure my parents knew her! She has written numerous other books as well.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jolette

    I picked this book up at Barnes & Nobles in NYC back in 2015. The beautiful cover and the prospect of rediscovering another 'forgotten' female author like Mary Wesley or Elizabeth Jane Howard made it impossible to resist buying. I finally picked it up this winter, and read it in phases. What I liked about it that Seton is a such a realistic writer of historical fiction that this book can still be enjoyed 50 years from now. As to the story and the quality of the writing, three stars is maybe over I picked this book up at Barnes & Nobles in NYC back in 2015. The beautiful cover and the prospect of rediscovering another 'forgotten' female author like Mary Wesley or Elizabeth Jane Howard made it impossible to resist buying. I finally picked it up this winter, and read it in phases. What I liked about it that Seton is a such a realistic writer of historical fiction that this book can still be enjoyed 50 years from now. As to the story and the quality of the writing, three stars is maybe overdoing it a little.

  25. 5 out of 5

    LISA V

    History of lesser known Jacobite family, fantastic! I had been curious about the Jacobite efforts to restore "the pretender" to the throne of England, wondering why James the Third did not reign. The family described and fictionalized (for purposes of a readable novel) here was caught in that destiny, helplessly. The generational scope was intriguing and engrossing, attesting to the tragedy of the history that many people have forgotten. Carefully constructed, and simultaneously easy to read, de History of lesser known Jacobite family, fantastic! I had been curious about the Jacobite efforts to restore "the pretender" to the throne of England, wondering why James the Third did not reign. The family described and fictionalized (for purposes of a readable novel) here was caught in that destiny, helplessly. The generational scope was intriguing and engrossing, attesting to the tragedy of the history that many people have forgotten. Carefully constructed, and simultaneously easy to read, definitely worth the time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Devil Water by Anya Seton is a wonderful historic novel about Charles Radcliff and his daughter Jenny. The novel is set in the 18th century and tells the story about the Jacobite revolution in England and how many Catholics were imprisoned and executed during this period. It also tells about Jenny's travels and settling in the New World in Virginia. The basic story is historically accurate but the author has embellished the characters with her great story telling. I read this book as part of a Re Devil Water by Anya Seton is a wonderful historic novel about Charles Radcliff and his daughter Jenny. The novel is set in the 18th century and tells the story about the Jacobite revolution in England and how many Catholics were imprisoned and executed during this period. It also tells about Jenny's travels and settling in the New World in Virginia. The basic story is historically accurate but the author has embellished the characters with her great story telling. I read this book as part of a Reader's Digest Condensed book and I enjoyed it and I recommend it if you can find a copy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pooja Peravali

    This is the tale of Charles Radcliffe and his daughter, Jenny. We follow them over decades as they grow up, mature and go after those causes to which they will dedicate their lives to - to varying effect. This is my first Anya Seton, and it was a very conscientious read, packed with historical detail and intriguing side characters. I learned quite a lot about the Jacobite uprisings. However, Charles somewhat faded compared to the characters surrounding him, and Jenny I found rather flavorless. St This is the tale of Charles Radcliffe and his daughter, Jenny. We follow them over decades as they grow up, mature and go after those causes to which they will dedicate their lives to - to varying effect. This is my first Anya Seton, and it was a very conscientious read, packed with historical detail and intriguing side characters. I learned quite a lot about the Jacobite uprisings. However, Charles somewhat faded compared to the characters surrounding him, and Jenny I found rather flavorless. Still, I will read more Seton, if only for the history.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Weber

    I worried that this book would be difficult to read: over 500 pages, "ugly" font - small, with even smaller margins on cheap paper, too much text on a page, etc. - but I REALLY enjoyed it. Terrific historical fiction, it reads like Charlotte Brontë or George Eliot (off by 150 years, but heck...). I knew more about the second uprising/attempt to re-store the Catholic Stuarts to the throne of England, and less about the first - this book taught me more about the first. The story moves from Northumbe I worried that this book would be difficult to read: over 500 pages, "ugly" font - small, with even smaller margins on cheap paper, too much text on a page, etc. - but I REALLY enjoyed it. Terrific historical fiction, it reads like Charlotte Brontë or George Eliot (off by 150 years, but heck...). I knew more about the second uprising/attempt to re-store the Catholic Stuarts to the throne of England, and less about the first - this book taught me more about the first. The story moves from Northumberland and London to Virginia and back. Really, really enjoyed it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lynette Lark

    This is the first Anya Seton book that I had trouble finishing. I love Seton. She is an amazing author, however . . . . But the ending did make me cry. Based on real events in the 1700s, when England had a German king! while the real king, James, cooled his heels in France waiting for the nobles in England and Scotland to fight for his return. All I can say is of all her wonderful books, this is the one I don't recommend. This is the first Anya Seton book that I had trouble finishing. I love Seton. She is an amazing author, however . . . . But the ending did make me cry. Based on real events in the 1700s, when England had a German king! while the real king, James, cooled his heels in France waiting for the nobles in England and Scotland to fight for his return. All I can say is of all her wonderful books, this is the one I don't recommend.

  30. 4 out of 5

    mitzi thompson

    Great read! For me, it was more personal, as not only was I reading a good book with a good story, but I was also learning about the history of my family. I also learned a lot historically, Until i read this book, I had no concept of what things was like before and after people first come to Virginia, which is my family's home state. Thank You so much Anya, and i will continue to search for those missing pieces that you tried so hard to find!!! Great read! For me, it was more personal, as not only was I reading a good book with a good story, but I was also learning about the history of my family. I also learned a lot historically, Until i read this book, I had no concept of what things was like before and after people first come to Virginia, which is my family's home state. Thank You so much Anya, and i will continue to search for those missing pieces that you tried so hard to find!!!

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