Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Scottish #Historical – Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

This week I have enjoyed reading the historical novel Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair.

About the book

Elizabeth craves adventure… excitement… love…

For now though, she has to settle for a trip from her family’s castle, to the port in Aberdeen, where her father has promised she’ll be permitted to buy a horse… all of her own.

Little does she suspect this simple journey will change her life, forever. And as she dreams of riding her new mount through the forests and glens of the Manteith estate, she can have no idea that she might never see them again.

For what lies ahead is danger, unimagined… and the fearful realities of kidnap and slavery.

But even when everything seems lost, most especially the chance of ever getting home again, Elizabeth finds friendship, comfort… and that much prized love, just where she least expected it.

Set in the mid eighteenth century, Fireflies and Chocolate is a story of strength, courage and tolerance, in a time filled with far too many prejudices.

Head over to buy at the pre-order price: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

My review for the book 19th June 2021

As the author explains in her notes, this story is based on actual events that took place in Scotland in the 1740s, when six hundred children and young people were kidnapped from Aberdeen and sold into indentured servitude in the American colonies. Although there are accounts of this devastating event, they are mainly from the male perspective and the author created her central character Elizabeth to redress the balance.

Sinclair has done an excellent job of merging fact and fiction with wonderful characters, some based on real people of the day. Those who survived the crowded and dangerous crossing, were sold to the highest bidder to use as they saw fit for the years of their indenture. At that time slavery was still embedded in the culture, and the indentured servants worked side by side, often in appalling and cruel conditions.

Elizabeth comes from a privileged background but it is a time of conflict with the English and like many Scottish noble families times are hard. However, nothing could prepare her for voyage that broke the spirits of many, and the horror of being sold into an uncertain future.

We follow her adventures as she meets those who are on the run from the harsh treatment on the plantations, and those with a more enlightened attitude to the slavery and the use of indentured servants. Her bravery in the face of the treatment to those she now works side by side with, wins hearts and also endangers her life and those she loves.

This book is well researched, bringing history to life and the writing flows smoothly like hot chocolate as it warms on a cold day. It is a coming of age and love story which will have you holding your breath on occasion as Elizabeth comes to terms with her future.

I can highly recommend the book to those who enjoy well researched and compelling historical novels.

Also by Ailish Sinclair

Read the other reviews and buy the books:Amazon UK – And: Amazon US – Other reviews :Goodreads – Website:Ailish Sinclair – Twitter: @AilishSinclair – Facebook: Ailish Sinclair Author – LinkedIn: Ailish Sinclair

About Ailish Sinclair

Ailish Sinclair trained as a dancer and taught dance for many years, before working in schools to help children with special needs. A short stint as a housekeeper in a castle fired her already keen interest in untold stories of the past and she sat down to research and write.

She now lives beside a loch with her husband and two children where she still dances and writes and eats rather a lot of chocolate.


Thanks for dropping in today and it would be great if you could share the news of Ailish’s new book … thank you Sally



41 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Book Reviews – #Scottish #Historical – Fireflies and Chocolate by Ailish Sinclair

  1. That does sound interesting and a piece of history I know nothing about. I admire writers of good historic fiction as there is lot more work that goes into their novels than for those of us who just make things up!

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  2. Sally, this review and book blurb really caught my interest. Add to that Ailish’s background (a stint as housekeeper at a castle, no less) and the fact that some of the characters are real and were forcibly brought across the sea to the U.S., and I’m hooked. (One of my grandmother’s ancestors was “kidnapped” by her grandparents and brought to the U.S., a story I need to research myself.) I am heading over to buy this book! Ailish , I so look forward to reading it!

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  4. I remember your review, Sally, and I’ve read quite a few glowing reviews of this book and others by this author since. Congratulations and good luck to Ailish.

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  5. I love books set in Scotland. They draw me in somehow. The premise sounds horrific though. I never heard about that before. There’s a character in The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky – I think it was Alyosha – who said, “Nothing is worth a single tear in the eye of a single child.”

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  6. I loved The Mermaid and the Bear and how Ailish combined fiction and history in that one. Your review is great, Sally, and I’m sure this read is a winner. Thanks and Congrats to Ailish. 🙂

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  7. I’ve tried so hard to put my Kindle on a diet but I had to give it this book after such a wonderful review. Both my parents were Scottish, one ancestor played a prominent part in the Jacobite rebellion, but I’d never come across this dark incident before. Looking forward to reading it! xx

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