A CASTAWAY IN CORNWALL, by Julie Klassen, Bethany House Publishers, Dec. 1, 2020, Hardcover $26.99, Paperback $16.99 (adult crossover)
Smugglers, castaways and romance take center stage in Julie Klassen’s A Castaway in Cornwall.
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? —Synopsis provided by Bethany House Publishers
Occasionally, Cracking the Cover features book that are labeled adult fiction but also offer some crossover appeal. A Castaway in Cornwall (Bethany House) is a historical Regency romance that may appeal to young adults who are fans of the genre, particularly those who enjoy the proper romance line from Shadow Mountain.
Julie Kassen is the author of more than 15 historical fiction novels, and her books have sold more than a million copies. For her fans, A Castaway in Cornwall will no doubt be another winner. For those of you new to her work, whether or not you’ll be hooked, is more nuanced.
A Castaway in Cornwall progresses at a leisurely pace. I usually breeze through similar books in a day, but this one took me a few days. Klassen’s easy prose is comfortable but not particularly dynamic. The story ebbs and flows fairly well, but I was expecting more force when the stakes where high.
The setting is the star in A Castaway in Cornwall. Klassen does an excellent job in transporting readers to Cornwall’s coast. You can feel the spray of the ocean and hear the crash of the waves.
A Castaway in Cornwall is a fine read for those of you wanting to escape to another place and time. I appreciated the author’s gentle use of Christian undertones — keeping with the time period, while never becoming heavy handed. For those new to Klassen’s work, I’d suggested checking this one out from the library prior to purchase to make sure it’s a good fit.
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