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?
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, the words and opinions below are my own.
Cornwall has a history of being the location for classic titles such as Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. In recent years, perhaps due to the success of the 2015 television adaption of the Poldark novels, it has become a favored location again. This is the third novel I’ve read this year that focuses on the area and its dangerous coastline, and a way of life that includes shipwrecks and smuggling.
As with Julie Klassen’s other novels, A Castaway in Cornwall is set during England’s Regency era, towards the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The prologue – intriguingly written in a first-person narrative as is the epilogue – focuses on the thoughts of a young woman wondering where she belongs in life. In the first paragraph, I learned there is a difference between Flotsam and Jetsam; I’d always believed the two words were part of a phrase with one definition. Ah, well. The bulk of the story is then written in the third-person format, and readers get the perspectives of both Laura and Alexander.
The book has many twists and turns within its pages, and I wasn’t sure where it might finish. This is just one of the many reasons to keep reading. Another is the description of the area of Cornwall in which the book is set. It includes real places such as the half-buried St. Enodoc Church that, today, sits in the middle of a golf course. I never got to this part of England when I lived there, and now I wish I had. Also, A Castaway in Cornwall resonated with me on a thematic level, for its theme of finding family and home. This year, I’ve found myself missing the country of my birth more than ever and longing to be back there. Which is ironic given that at one point in time, I couldn’t wait to leave. So, yes, I well understood Laura’s thoughts about having a place to call home.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 01 December 2020
Julie Klassen loves all things Jane–Jane Eyre and Jane Austen. A graduate of the University of Illinois, Julie worked in publishing for 16 years and now writes full-time. Her novels have sold over a million copies and three of her books, The Silent Governess, The Girl in the Gatehouse, and The Maid of Fairbourne Hall, have won the Christy Award for Historical Romance. The Secret of Pembrooke Park was honored with the Minnesota Book Award for genre fiction. Julie has also won the Midwest Book Award and Christian Retailing’s Best Award, and has been a finalist in the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Awards and ACFW’s Carol Awards. Julie and her husband have two sons and live in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota.
Julie Klassen’s Website https://julieklassen.com/