Sisters of Castle Leod by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard (review)

The Mackenzie sisters are two distinctly different personalities, each envying the other and clashing over their family legacy and the events of the day. Lady Sibell, the narrator, is the dedicated and diligent caretaker of the family estate left in her care even while pursuing her beliefs in spiritualism and an eventual dogged pursuit of a desired reincarnation while Lady Constance, the younger sister, was the golden child grown into a resentful and impetuous woman. How each sister reacts to the tragedies in their lives becomes a study in contrasts and the impressive way in which the author blends novelist’s invention and meticulous research to flesh out these women and their lives in Sisters of Castle Leod is mesmerizing.

Once again, Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard has penned a portrait of a time and place in history, mixing fictional and historical characters to good effect and creating a treat for both the history buff and the historical fiction reader. Definitely one for the re-read shelf.

Highly recommended.

This review refers to a digital Advance Reader’s Copy that I voluntarily received and read via NetGalley. A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.

About the Book

“Heartbreaking and redemptive…a thoroughly engrossing story that will have readers quickly turning the pages.” -Megan Chance, bestselling author of A Splendid Ruin

Millions are fans of Diana Gabaldon’s popular Outlander books and television series, but few know that Gabaldon’s fictional Castle Leoch was inspired by a real Scottish castle, Castle Leod. The two sisters who lived there at the turn of the twentieth century were among the most fascinating and talked-about women of their era.

Lady Sibell Mackenzie is a spiritualist, a believer in reincarnation, and a popular author of mystical romances. Petite and proper, she values tradition and duty. Her younger sister Lady Constance, swimming champion and big game hunter, is a statuesque beauty who scandalizes British society with her public displays of Greek-style barefoot dancing. The differences between the sisters escalate into conflict after Sibell inherits their late father’s vast estates and the title 3rd Countess of Cromartie. But it is the birth of Sibell’s daughter that sets in motion a series of bizarre and tragic events, pitting sister against sister and propelling Sibell on a desperate mission to challenge the power of fate.

Sisters of Castle Leod, by award-winning author Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, is the emotionally charged story of two sisters torn apart by jealousy and superstition, and the impossible leap of faith that could finally bring them together.

Sisters of Castle Leod by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard | Black Rose Writing, January 19, 2023 | ebook

Author Bio

Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is an award-winning author of historical fiction. Her latest book, SISTERS OF CASTLE LEOD: A NOVEL (release date: January 19, 2023), is the haunting, emotionally charged story of two sisters torn apart by jealousy and superstition, and the impossible leap of faith that could finally bring them together. Her 2017 release, THE BEAUTY DOCTOR—a riveting medical thriller that takes place in the early days of cosmetic surgery when the world of medicine was a like the Wild West and beauty doctors were the newest breed of outlaw—was a finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, National Indie Excellence Awards, AZ Literary Awards, and is a Book Readers Appreciation Group Medallion Honoree. TEMPTATION RAG: A NOVEL (2018) is a page-turning story of love and revenge and a deeply human portrait of racial and gender inequality in the ragtime era. “Music, art and culture spring from every page of this delightfully artistic work” (Readers’ Favorite Book Review, 5-stars). THE BEAUTY DOCTOR and TEMPTATION RAG are Amazon #1 bestsellers. A summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois), touring musician, and former public relations executive, Elizabeth now is a full-time author living with her family near Phoenix, Arizona. For interesting backstories about her historical novels and recommendations for new reads, visit her website at