Independently Published, Mar 29, 2019 - 349 pages
IndieB.R.A.G. Medallion HonoreeIndie Diamond Book Award - First Place Winner - Adult FictionAnna Issac's choices are bleak. Suicide is more appealing than marrying the revolting Frenchman her spiteful brother has chosen for her. The only other option is to beg a man she barely knows, a Highlander, to help her run away. Escape would be a challenge for any fifteen-year-old, but it is particularly difficult for a Jewess living in 17th century Scotland. Anna's tale would have remained a secret, except three centuries later the death of Hanna Duncan's father on 9/11 unleashes a chain of events that leads her to an ancient key with a peculiar etching. Once deciphered, the clue points Hanna toward a safe deposit box in Edinburgh where Hanna uncovers Anna's role in the creation of Scotland's only colony. Caledonia promised to be the trading hub of the New World, but starvation, ship's fever, and incompetent leadership dogged the 1,200 colonists from the moment they left Scotland. More than half would be buried at sea or in the colony's muddy cemetery, and Anna would not be immune from the dreadful conditions. The outpost was deserted in less than a year.CALEDONIA is a tale of these two strong women separated by time but bound by mysterious circumstances. 21st century Hanna keeps uncovering evidence linking her to 17th century Anna. Both women experience romance, adventure, and tragedy as the reader witnesses them becoming more and more connected.
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Great historical novel. Keeps your interest by moving back and forth between the two stories and time periods. Sherry visited with my book group in a ZOOM meeting. I was quite impressed with the research she did for this novel. Give it a try!
Reviewed by Tiffany Ferrell for Readers' Favorite
In Sherry V. Ostroff's Caledonia, we meet two women from two different times. First, we are introduced to Anna, a young Jewish girl living in hiding. Her family escaped the Spanish Inquisition and fled to Scotland a couple of hundred years before. Her story is set in the late sixteen hundreds and they are still in hiding. While her father is slowly dying, her cruel brother Nathan plans to marry her off to an old French Jewish man that is to his liking. Meanwhile, Anna finds herself falling for a visitor from the Highlands by the name of Alain. Her brother and father both disapprove because he is Catholic and not a fellow Jew. Anna would rather die than marry this crude old man from France and seeks out her Highland love to save her. The two escape and head to the Highlands where adventure and tragedy ensue. Fast forward to 2005 where we meet Hanna who receives her father's safety deposit box some years after his death on 9/11. She finds an old key that happens to be from the Bank Of Scotland. So Hanna journeys to Scotland in hopes of seeing what she can discover about it.
I found Caledonia to be a very satisfying read, filled with drama, adventure, and history. I was almost frantic at the end but when I found out a sequel was in the works, it really eased my mind. I love how Sherry V. Ostroff weaves this story about a Jewish family living in Scotland and transforms it into a modern-day mystery for Hanna. The characters are captivating and I love how it’s about a part of history of which I had no knowledge. While reading Caledonia I found myself researching the Darian Scheme and now I’m currently looking for a more in-depth book on this failed colony. I look forward to the sequel and what else Hanna discovers about Anna! A must-read for fans of historical novels with plenty of intrigue.