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Blog Tour: Mackenzie's Cross by Sarah Barthel: A Book Review

Mackenzie's Cross
Mackenzie's Cross
Author: Sarah Barthel
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: Topaz
Publishing Formats: Ebook, Paperback
Source: This book was given to for the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: When Duke Kensington dies, how can a young kitchen maid stand up for what she believes and save her best friend? Mackenzie’s life has always been one of duty. However, in a land where even the Brotherhood of the Knights are becoming power hungry mongers, how can a young kitchen maid maintain her morals when tempted with all she’s never had? In the end, the truth is even more complicated than Mackenzie had ever imagined.

     My Review: Mackenzie is a young kitchen maid in the castle of the powerful Duke of Kensington. The duke is hosting a jousting tournament at his castle, and the household is abuzz with activity. The Duchess of Kensington honors the head cook, Adilla, to serve the noble family along with a person of her choosing at the welcoming feast of the tournament. Adilla bestows the honor to Mackenzie to serve with her as her new apprentice. However, at the welcoming feast, disaster strikes, and the duke dies on the spot. It is discovered that the duke has been poisoned, and her friend Adilla has been falsely accused of murder and is imprisoned in the dungeons. Mackenzie realizes that her life will no longer be the same, and she must team up with a knight, Sir Patrick, in order to save her friend.

     The setting of the castle is beautifully written. It is told from the eyes of the servants, and it describes their daily duties. The book mentions the distinct differences of the rich noble class and the poor working class. However, Mackenzie sees the bridge between the two classes, and makes friends with both classes. She also sees that some people in both the poor and the noble class has a greed for power and do not appreciate what they have. In the end, she realises that happiness comes from the heart and not by a person’s social status or what they have.

     Mackenzie is a strong heroine. She is happy with what God has given her in her life. She learns to appreciate what she has. However, she is impulsive and sometimes rash. Sometimes, I did not like her character. She can be selfish and commits ruthless deeds in order to save herself. She does not regret what she does, and rationalizes that it is better to save herself than others. She is also judgmental. However, she does have her good qualities. She is a hard worker, and finds pleasure in her work. She cares for her friend, Adilla. She works hard to save her from her fate.

     Overall, this book is about love, trust, friendship, and survival.The story is fast-paced, and has romance, mystery, and political intrigue. The message of the book is even though you are undergoing many trials in your life, as long as you trust in God, your problems will be solved. Where there is darkness, there is also hope. The story reminded me of the story David and Goliath. Mackenzie was the underdog that fought against a powerful murderer. Yet with God, she conquered her giant and was able to finally have her justice. Thus, I recommend this book to anyone who interested in a historical, Christian, inspirational, romance.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Buy the Book

Amazon CA (Kindle) 
Amazon UK
Amazon US
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Book Depository


About the Author

Sarah Barthel

     Sarah Barthel was raised on a steady diet of old Hollywood musicals and classic literature. It instilled in her a love for looking into the past to discover new passions. Nurturing her love of language, she learned French, Latin and Japanese. This led her to study in Paris and host a Japanese exchange student. She followed her passion to American University in Washington DC, where she studied British literature and history. Since then she has thrown herself into writing. She loves to find unique, and unexplored ideas in familiar settings. A member of the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators, she currently lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, daughter and two crazy dogs. You can connect with Sarah on Facebook.


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