Thursday, December 10, 2020

A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen

A Castaway in Cornwall

Engaging and lovely cover, don't you think?

Let’s begin with the summary:

Set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers, Laura Callaway now lives with her uncle and his disapproving wife in North Cornwall. There she feels like a castaway, always viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong.

While wreckers search for valuables along the windswept Cornwall coast—known for its many shipwrecks but few survivors—Laura searches for clues to the lives lost so she can write letters to next of kin and return keepsakes to rightful owners. When a man is washed ashore after a wreck, Laura acts quickly to protect him from a local smuggler determined to destroy him.

As Laura and a neighbor care for the survivor, they discover he has curious wounds and, although he speaks in careful, educated English, his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Despite the evidence against him, the mysterious man might provide her only chance to discover the truth about her parents' fate. With danger pursuing them from every side, and an unexpected attraction growing between them, will Laura ever find the answers she seeks?

And now, my review:

I was so excited that my library could provide an ebook copy a couple of days after this book’s release. They also offered a sample of the audio book. I listened and loved the narrator’s British accent and reading pace; she engaged my imagination. If you can find the book in audio, I recommend it. I chose the ebook version so I could see the spellings of unfamiliar locations in the British Isles as well as other word choices.

The beach setting is enjoyable, while hidden rocks and sheer cliffs cause multiple wrecks, bringing an underlying sense of tension and risk. With those layered elements, along with our heroine’s home life being tense at times, we find a sailor washed up on shore, unconscious and mysterious. I was hooked right away.

I liked the heroine’s courage, even when faced with the story’s villain. She bravely sets out to rescue and nurse the hero. Once he’s conscious again, he’s got secrets, and he doesn’t know whom to trust. I liked that he was honorable toward her and noble in his motives and decisions.

You’ll find historical accounts of kingdom conflicts, which showed strong research. I confess at times the story lost my interest. We had a strong launch in the novel, but unfortunately, it didn’t hold my curiosity past the 50 percent mark. I expected more of a romantic hook, but in its absence, I moved on to the next book in my TBR pile.

If you love rich retellings of history, set in fiction, you’ll enjoy this book.   

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