REVIEW NUMBER 1
Reviewed by Nadine St. Denis of Romance Junkies
Apr 21, 2004, 08:33
Alison MacPhearson knows first hand how it is to be married to a brutal man. Unfortunately, in eighteenth-century England, even being married to a monster is considered preferable to not being married at all. When Mr. MacPhearson runs off with the Inn's maid, Alison is more than a little relieved, but she knows that the aldermen of Corton will not allow a woman who is alone and pregnant to run the Dogwood Blossom, no matter how profitable a job she does! With her having no male protector, the council will insist on casting her out on the high road. Having to hide the pregnancy and then the child is the only solution she can live with. To add to her problems, she also has to hide from the powerful church the fact that her closest friend is a witch.
While Alison is in turmoil with her own personal problems, so is England. On the brink of civil war, the Jacobites want to see a Stuart back on the throne, but the Whigs who are currently in power, are quite happy with King George. Alison is a good clan member and is loyal to the Jacobite cause, but what of the handsome English Lieutenant, Thomas Whitfield? Where do his loyalties lie? Just looking into the fathomless depths of his eyes makes Alison realize she knew him, has always known him in her soul. What ties do they have to each other and are they so powerful that they could have survived the bonds of time? Even her "fey" son realizes that they have a connection to this man.
As war looms ever closer, these two remarkable people are drawn back into a love that is pure and timeless. But can it win against the sins of the past and the problems of present day? Will ALISON'S LEGACY be one of true love finally found or a life lived alone?
ALISON'S LEGACY is an intriguing adult novel with a mature content which is reflected in the subject matter and language used. Toby Heathcotte manages to convince you that maybe we are not meeting our true love by chance alone, and just maybe, there is such a thing as destiny. I know I would like to think so. A great read, and one that I definitely recommend.
REVIEW NUMBER 2
Reviewed by Robin Taylor of In the Library Reviews.net
Alma Chronicle Series Book I: Alison's Legacy
Author: Toby Heathcotte
Publisher: Triskelion Publishing
Available At: www.triskelionpublishing.com
Publishing Date: March 2004
Genre: Paranormal Historical Romance
Format: Ebook download in PDF/HTML/LIT
Author Website: www.members.cox.net/theathcotte/
Alison MacPhearson is a Scottish immigrant in early eighteenth-century England. Alison is with child, and her abusive husband has abandoned her. Alison's husband owned an inn, and if Alison hopes to remain innkeeper, she's going to have to prove herself. The first step in this endeavor is to hide her pregnancy and foster her son. She also needs to learn to read and write, as well as to learn numbers, so that she can make the inn prosper. If Alison fails in any of these attempts, not only will she lose her son, she'll lose her inn, and be banished to a life on the streets.
During this critical time in Alison's life, there is a
Jacobite rebellion going on, and loyalties are
put to the test. When an English lieutenant appears at the inn, Alison not
only falls in love with him, she realizes that she knows him from a past
life. Alison's dear friend, and her son Lainn's foster mother, Judith,
divines the past for Alison. When this is done, Alison and
Lainn are better able to understand why it
seemed like they both know Thomas, and why he is so familiar to them now.
Lieutenant Thomas Whitfield brings a hope for love to Alison, despite the dangers they face due to their major differences when it comes to supporting the would-be king of England. Alison is a strong woman, who not only survived an abusive marriage during a time when women had no rights, but survived abandonment. She manages to raise her son, with the aid of her friend, Judith. As she was a witch, Judith's life was in danger more than once, which also continued to bring danger to Alison and Lainn.
What an intriguing story! This book is rife with political intrigue, danger, and represents the strong spirit of independence that Alison portrayed. Alison's Legacy is a story that is sure to capture your attention from beginning to end. The air of danger surrounding Alison is always present, and you will find yourself rooting for her to find the happiness she deserves. Part of the reason for their being so much danger to Alison is due to her husband, and his cronies. There's also the political edge to this story that continually places Alison's life in danger. Also, during a time when allegiance to the Church was critical, being a close friend to a witch created even more difficulties for Alison.
Though the reader will read of violent incidents in Alison's Legacy, they
fit the story, and in no way detract from it at all. The time period written
of was a dangerous time for many, and this book serves to be excellent when
it comes to describing such a time in history.
For an excellent read, be sure to pick up a copy of Ms. Heathcotte's book. I'll be looking forward to reading more of her writings, especially more in the Alma Chronicle Series.
REVIEW NUMBER 3
Reviewer: Larenda Twigg, the Romance Studio
Alison's Legacy: An Alma Chronicle
Available from Triskelion Publishing
When Alison MacPhearson's abusive husband
disappears from town with the maid, she is sure he will not be coming back
this time. Even though Alison is more than delighted to see him leave, she
does not know how she will convince the town leaders to let her keep running
the Inn. Alison fears being cast out of town, as is common practice toward
women with no male protector. Alison has not only herself to worry about but
also, unbeknownst to the town, her unborn child.
When a visit to the town's healer, Judith, results in Alison discovering she will have a son blessed by the gods and that her recent dreams are actually memories from a past life as a Celtic priestess, Alison becomes more determined to keep the inn. While endeavoring to run the inn and to hide her pregnancy and the birth of her son, Lainn, Alison also learns reading and math with the help of the local English landowner, Squire Emmons. Keeping her pregnancy a secret from the town's busybodies is difficult but Alison manages the feat with the help of Squire Emmons and Judith, who fosters the child.
Nine years latter Alison has made the Inn into a very successful and growing business. More complications come Alison's way as the Jacobite's begin the rally when Prince Charles pushes through Scotland in his attempt to restore the Stuart Monarchy. When an English lieutenant, Thomas Whitfield appears in town, Alison instant attraction and love for the man is increased by the knowledge that she knew him in a past life. Alison finds herself caught in the middle between her Jacobite townsmen and her English solider. Having worked her entire life to keep her Inn and gain the respect of the town, Alison certainly does not wish to give power over herself to any man. But the situation between the English and Scottish Jacobites is becoming deadly and Alison may be forced to make a choice. Knowing that she had betrayed Thomas's love in a past life only makes her decisions harder. Will Alison choose her town and Inn or the man who has loved her through lifetimes?
The story focuses heavily on Alison and her life, actions, and decisions. Alison is a strong, resourceful woman who made difficult and understandable choices in fostering her son and running an inn alone. While I admired her, I never felt any connection to Alison or to the hero, Thomas. Thomas is not introduced into the story until half way through the book and even then the love story seemed secondary. Throughout the story I felt like an outsider trying to discover why characters were acting as they did. There is much potential in this creative series idea and I am interested in learning more about Alison's son, Lainn, and how Ms. Heathcotte develops the lives of these related characters through the various incarnations she has planned for her series.
Overall rating: Sensuality rating: Very sensual, March 27, 2004
REVIEW NUMBER 4
Reviewed by Jane Bowers of Romance Reviews Today
ALISON'S LEGACY - Toby Heathcotte
First of The Alma Chronicles
Triskelion Publishing Ė www.triskelionpublishing.com
Corton, England, 1735 ~ 1745
In Old Sarum, not far from the standing stones, sits the village of Corton, inhabited by immigrants from Scotland who are ruled by elected aldermen and by the Church in the person of Father William. It's not a good place for a woman alone. In fact, when Alison MacPhearson's cruel husband runs off with the tavern wench, leaving Alison to run their inn alone, she fears being cast out of town as an unwanted mouth to feed. Even worse, if they knew she would be producing another mouth in eight months or so, she and her bairn would both starve. Alison is determined to make her inn so profitable, the aldermen will let her stay on. To this end, she persuades the local English squire to teach her to read, write and cipher.
Alison hides her pregnancy, and when her time comes, her friend, the healer and suspected witch Judith, helps her deliver and takes the boy to her hut in the woods to foster. They name him Lainn after the Celtic god Cu'chulainn, for Judith is a follower of the Old Ways, and knows that the boy is touched by the gods. Allison is torn between the Old Religion and Christianity as she tries to reconcile the differences in her own soul, for she sees into a past life when she was Alma, a Druid priestess.
The next ten years see trying times for Alison, Judith, and Lainn, as well as the land. Alison's husband makes trouble; Father William preaches against witches, and Prince Charles Edward Stuart is on the march to claim the thrones of Scotland and England. Yet life has not been all bad. The Inn of the Dogwood Blossom has flourished under Alison's hard work and good cooking, and Lainn thrives on the love of his two mothers. As war approaches, Lieutenant Thomas Whitfield moves into the inn, and though he wears the uniform of England, Alison recognizes Thomas as her love through time, and comes to realize that she must redress the sins of the past.
ALISON'S LEGACY has many layers. There's the metaphysical, with a plotline of past lives that will be explored in future Alma Chronicles. There's also an interesting slant to history with its tale of Scots living in England during the time of the last Jacobite uprising. And there's a love story that transcends time, and the promise shown in young Lainn, who has the gift of foretelling.
Rich and intriguing, ALISON'S LEGACY is also a well-written and edited novel. I recommend it to anyone with a taste for history and romance intertwined, and who enjoys speculating about reincarnation.
REVIEW NUMBER 5
Reviewed by: Ruby, Fallen Angel Reviews
Alison's Legacy is one of the best books I have read in a long time. The story starts off with poor Alison being sexually assaulted by her husband. In a time when a woman was supposed to listen to her husband and do as he said, you find Alison being treated with no respect and demoralized in her own home. It was a time when the priest, her mother and the alderman forced her to be subservient to her husband, forced her to live like a common whore, allowing him to take her willingly or not.
Alison's Legacy is filled with twists and turns. She is always on the verge of danger whether if be from her husband or the politics that surround her everyday. This era was fraught with the teachings and authority of the Church and yet Alison's closet friend was a witch. She fears for her safety as well as the child she carries, but she continues to fight for her life and to keep her job as an innkeeper.
When Thomas walks through the door he soon finds out they have a past, a past that they need to overcome if they are to have a future. She falls in love with Thomas and a whirlwind of events will lead them through a roller coaster ride of emotions.
This story is filled with so much emotion. The reader can just feel her pain and you find yourself rooting for her and hoping she finds the love and happiness she so deserves. There are some pretty graphic mishaps in the story but it's a part of her and shows the reader how she became as strong as she is. Alison's Legacy is just too good to pass up. A must read for everyone that loves strong women and romance.
REVIEW NUMBER 6
ALISONíS LEGACY by Toby Heathcotte
Toby Heathcotteís ALISONíS LEGACY is an earthy historical romance with political overtones set in Corton, England in 1735.
Alisonís husband has run off with the serving wench leaving her pregnant and with the Dogwood Blossom Inn to run. The Aldermen will surely throw her out into the streets of London to fend for herself when they find out. Determined, Alison pretends all is well and disguises her pregnancy while making plans to foster her child with the local healer, Judith. Adding to Alisonís problems, the villagers consider Judith a witch.
For several years Alison successfully runs the Inn while political storms brew between the Scottish Jacobites and the English loyalists. One day an English soldier, Lt. Thomas Whitfield, lodges at the Inn. Alisonís life changes when she falls in love for the first time. Or is it for the first time? Thomas seems so familiar to her, almost like she knew him from another life. Alisonís charmed life does not last in the turmoil of the day. She must use all her wits and skills to survive.
ALISONíS LEGACY by Toby Heathcotte, gives the reader a capsulated view of a tragic era while making it all too real with the love story of Scottish Alison and her English Lieutenant. History buffs and romantics alike will not want to miss reading ALISONíS LEGACY.
Donna, eCataRomance Reviews
An Alma Chronicle
Set in an English community full of Scottish immigrants loyal to their own
king, ALISON'S LEGACY abounds with danger and intrigue. Ms. Heathcotte
blends Alison's past and present lives into one powerfully gripping story.
Alison is a strong, likable heroine. After all the hardships she had to
face, she definitely deserves happiness. Thomas isn't introduced until
halfway into the story, but he's worth the wait. He is a brave, chivalrous
gentleman. While this isn't an erotic story, some scenes are very sensual.
With ALISON'S LEGACY, Ms. Heathcotte has delivered a well-written, fabulous
book and a great start to her series. I enthusiastically recommend it!
REVIEW NUMBER 8
Reviews for Alison's Legacy, Alma Chronicles I - based on previous versions of the book.
2009 release from mardelbooks.com
By Toby Heathcotte
Ebook $5.99, ISBN 0932866027
Triskelion Publishing, Mar 2004
Paperback $15.00, ISBN: 0964088223, 297 pp.
Mardel Books, Feb 2000
Book review by Kathleen Cunningham Guler in Bardsong, the Journal for Celebrating the Celtic Spirit
Alisonís Legacy, the first book in the Alma Chronicle Series, deftly explores the harrowing social and political climate a woman faced in eighteenth century England through the absorbing story of Alison McPhearson, a Scottish immigrant living in an English village near Salisbury. An innkeeper, Alison is left pregnant and abandoned by a brutal husband. In a time when women had absolutely no rights, she is faced each day with the danger that she could be shunted off to the desolate streets of London ó a death sentence in itself ó just for being with child and having no more husband, for showing sympathy to the Jacobites, or for her friendship with Judith, a woodswoman and seer.
Alison challenges the unfairness of life with stoic courage. She hides her pregnancy and the birth of her son, Lainn; learns to read, write and cipher; and successfully runs the inn alone. Judith, her mentor, becomes foster mother to Lainn, who also shows signs of being a seer. Alison learns that the church ignores the notion of reincarnation, but as she meets and finds love in an English officer, Thomas Whitfield, she comes to realize through vague memories and dreams that she, Thomas, Judith, Lainn and her brutal husband have all been together before and must rectify past mistakes.
In Alisonís Legacy, Toby Heathcotte creates immediate sympathy for Alisonís plight right from the first page. Alisonís courage to remain independent is believable because she does not defy the social system ó she cannot, not without causing her own death and that of her sonís and her mentorís. Instead she finds creative ways to work around it. The concept of reincarnation is well woven into the story as part of an older form of spirituality. Powerful scenes fill this intriguing book, illustrating the lack of rights and unfair consequences for women of the era, just for having plain bad luck.
REVIEW NUMBER 9
Across time and space a group of souls find each other again and again in Toby Heathcotteís Alma Chronicles, the first of which is Alisonís Legacy.
Beginning in 1735, about 10 years before Bonnie Prince Charlie began his final bid to retake the thrones of Scotland and England, Book one of the Alma Chronicles, Alisonís Legacy readers meet Alison MacPhearson. Alison is a Scottish woman who despite a brutal husband and a paternalistic society becomes not only self-sufficient and a successful innkeeper. Through the memory of a long ago past life as a Druid Priestess called Alma, she makes amends for past wrongs and again finds her true love. Yet not before she suffers one final abuse from her husband, humiliation by the Aldermanís petty wives, gives birth to a son, Lainn that she must keep secret and loses her truest friend, Judith. At first Alison is doubtful that she could have lived before, yet dreams of a musician come to her where she clearly sees a man she feels she has known. As her son Lainn grows he too speaks of a life and people he remembers from another time and place.
When English Lt. Thomas Whitfield comes to Alisonís village the dreams seem to increase and both Alison and Lainn feel a connection to him that neither can explain. With her friend Judithís help they scry the flames to see the life where Alison, as Alma, betrayed Thomas. In a race against time Alison now struggles to undo the karmic debt of that past life while at the same time trying to keep her clansmen safe in the current lifetime.
Alisonís Legacy is much more than a love story that spans many lifetimes. Ms. Heathcotte takes her readers into the minds of each wonderfully drawn character. From the kindness of Squire Emmons and his daughter Catherine to Judithís belief in the old ways, to the vile gossip of Mrs. Gallagher and Mrs. MacFee. Each is realistically portrayed and has their own unique growth, as told through Alisonís eyes and as Alison, herself, grows from a powerless abused wife to a successful business woman to a cherished lover. As Alison begins to remember a life as the Druid Priestess Alma, she comes not only into her own, but questions her spiritual beliefs and opens to the possibilities offered by the Pagan ways practiced by Judith. As she glimpses more and more of her life as Alma she gains the strength to make the decisions that will save her, Lainn and Thomasí lives. Decisions that could also tear her, once again, from the soul she is truly meant to be with.
Within the pages of Alisonís Legacy Ms. Heathcotte tells more than Alisonís story. Interwoven in the story is a wonderful explanation of past lives, reincarnation and how lessons are learned. Additionally she takes the reader into the world of a true witch as told through Judithís story. As added bonuses Ms. Heathcotte offers readers a map of the Village of Corton where most the story takes place as well as a Genealogical table of the Stuart house. And, for those who wish to read more on the Stuart history, reincarnation, past lives and the old religions a comprehensive bibliography is included. What a rare treat to read a book that excites the reader to read of the true life events that contribute to a well told story.
Refreshing for this reviewer is that the love between Alison and Thomas is given time to grow, following true to the values and society structures of the time. There is a slight illusion to Squire Emmonís true feelings for Alison, but not enough to make it truly apparent. Even after Alison bids him farewell for the last time and his daughter Catherine tells her she had hoped they would wed, it is still left in doubt whether Emmons was in love with Alison or not.
Alisonís Legacy is a stand-alone book yet a necessary foundation for this wonderful trilogy. Not to be read in a quick few days, it is a story to be savored, as the characters become a part of the readerís life.
Reviewed by Gina
© Love Romances, 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved
loved the story.
The characters were varied and interesting. The way you made her first husband so cruel, her fey son, her friend Judith and her new love(or old love) Thomas kept me turning the pages and wanting the elusive happy ending for them all. You are an excellent writer and I will look forward to reading any new book you write.
Best of luck with your career and thanks so much for fixing the story so I could read it.
I just devoured your book, Allison's Legacy, in one wonderfully snowy day here in Maryland. Please let me know how I can find more of the books in this series.
Thank you so much for such an enjoyable read. I loved it!
The book is available as a CD from the author.