A Castaway in Cornwall, by @Julie_Klassen, #BookReview, #BlogTour, #HistoricalRomance, #RegencyRomance, #InspirationalFiction #ChristianFiction, @Bethany_House   

A Castaway in Cornwall by Julie Klassen 2020From the desk of Katie Patchell:  

In this holiday season, acclaimed novelist, Julie Klassen, returns to the Regency world with her latest historical romance, A Castaway in Cornwall. Featuring dangerous wreckers, shifty smugglers, and mysterious strangers, readers may well detect a similar refrain to the haunting melody that is Daphne du Maurier’s classic, Jamaica Inn. Readers brace yourselves: prepare to be transported outside of the lights and glare of the 21st century to an old-world bathed in mists and deafened by the roaring of the sea. Prepare to meet a heroine who, against all odds, bravely fights to reclaim what the ocean has stolen.

“Sometimes I wonder how I ended up here in Cornwall, so far from my childhood home. I feel like a castaway, set adrift on the tide…” 

Laura Callaway has lived along Cornwall’s unpredictably beautiful shores since the reported death of her parents while en route to the Isle of Jersey years ago. With no closure from her own loss, Laura combs the shores for items to save from greedy locals in order to return them to the families of loved ones who have perished in shipwrecks. When a man washes up on the shore one fateful night, half-alive, by instinct Laura spares him from a wrecker’s death blow. Little does she know that this man isn’t the only survivor of the wreck, and this final survivor will stop at nothing to get what he wants.

“In a haze of confusion, Alex had seen the blurred image of a red-haired woman bending over him, her windblown hair falling around her lovely face, her eyes as dark as the depths. He’d thought the legend of the mermaid had invaded his dreams. Now he knew the woman was real…” 

On waking in a strange bed on foreign shores, Alexander knows instinctively that he must keep his surname and mission a secret. If someone were to find out who or what he was, the consequences could cost his family their lives. When an enemy from his past hunts him down, Alex has no choice but to trust the woman who has saved his life so recently: the brave Miss Callaway. Thrown together by the sea yet bound together through layers of an unsolved mystery, Laura and Alex must work together to find out the truth–whatever the cost–before it’s too late.

“All around me is the sound of the sea. Not a roar but a rhythm–a watery hum, strumming like a vibrating chord, a quickened heartbeat.” 

I had the amazing fortune to road-trip around the United Kingdom twice. Each country–with its people and places, mountains, and moors–was an unforgettable experience. Yet, for me, Cornwall will always stand out in memory as a bright blue gem does against a black velvet stand. Close your eyes for a moment and remember with me the winding cliff paths around Lizard Point. Listen to the sound of the waves far below and the long grass rustling against ancient stone boulders. On gray days it was as if Daphne du Maurier’s broodingly atmospheric novel, Jamaica Inn, had come to life around me. By sunlight, the ghosts of wreckers and smugglers vanished, and all was aquamarine waters and the golden sun glinting off seaside quays. A Castaway in Cornwall’s setting was a breath of fresh, salty air. It effortlessly transports readers to a unique place and will likely put Cornwall on many post-COVID travel lists.

I found the romance to be a blend of Daphne du Maurier and Anne Bronte; there is passion mixed with restraint, and life-threatening secrets bound up with a grey-shaded world where nothing is exactly black or white. The thrilling premise of a woman, lost even to herself, making the choice to save and return what was lost, was one that held strong from the first page to last. Never once did I grow tired of Laura or Alex, especially when his backstory became as important to the main plot as hers.

My only mixed response to A Castaway in Cornwall was that I wanted more. I enjoyed the tantalizing glimpse of the war between England and France and of what their proximity did to the citizens living on the coastlines nearest, but I was still left with many questions. For example, why was Alex so accepted to the people in England, even after finding out his French nationality and wartime past? Sometimes the best course really is a massive tome to while away the chill Winter evenings, and ‘more pages’ is what I would have wished for this novel.

With its captivating romance, hauntingly beautiful setting, and heart-pounding adventure, A Castaway in Cornwall is sure to appeal to fans of Regency and Gothic reads. Yet there is something else that causes it to shine even brighter; its compelling narrative of love, loss, and love again will remain in readers’ hearts long after the final page closes.

5 out of 5 Regency Stars

A Castaway in Cornwall Blog Tour Graphic

Austenprose is delighted to be participating

in the blog tour of A Castaway in Cornwall.

Learn more about the tour and follow along with us.  

Join the virtual blog tour of A CASTAWAY IN CORNWALL, bestselling author Julie Klassen’s highly acclaimed new historical romance novel, November 30 – December 6, 2020. Thirteen popular blogs specializing in historical romance, inspirational fiction, and Austenesque fiction will join in the celebration of its release with reviews of this new Regency-era novel set in Cornwall, England.

A Castaway in Cornwall, by Julie Klassen

Bethany House Publishers (December 1, 2020)

Hardcover, trade paperback, & eBook (400) pages

ISBN: 978-0764234224

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE BOOK DEPOSITORY | BOOKSHOP INDIEBOUND | BAKER BOOK HOUSE BOOKBUB | GOODREADS

Disclosure of Material Connection: We received one review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. We only review or recommend products we have read or used and believe will be a good match for our readers. Austenprose.com is an Amazon.com affiliate. We receive a modest remuneration when readers use our links and make a purchase. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Cover image courtesy of Bethany House Publishers © 2020; text Katie Patchell © 2020, Austenprose.com

The Gentleman and the Thief: Proper Romance Victorian, by Sarah M. Eden—A Review

The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M Eden 2020From the desk of Katie Patchell: 

Readers, beware: The Dread Penny Society is back in town. Their mission this time? Justice. In September 2019, acclaimed Regency author, Sarah M. Eden, published her first book in the “Dread Penny Society” series. Titled The Lady and the Highwayman, this novel is a tongue-in-cheek – albeit romantic – take on the classic highwayman legends. Her latest addition to the series, The Gentleman and the Thief, no longer features a dashing highwayman, yet these new heroes equally hide their true selves amongst the shadows.

“For the poor and infirm, the hopeless and voiceless, we do not relent. We do not forget. We are the Dread Penny Society.” (Location 1582) 

Hollis Darby: Gentleman, man about town, and member of a secret society. Now in his thirties, he is more than satisfied with his work as a writer of children’s fiction. He even finds fulfillment in his other passion — helping to give hope to those living on the streets in his city. What Hollis lacks is a partner in crime, or at least, his brand of it. When he meets the enchanting Miss Newport, he is dazzled by her confidence, music skills, and kindness. Above all, he feels as if they are kindred spirits. Little does he know just how similar they are.

As he slipped from view, Ana opened her violin case. It was the perfect excuse and the perfect pretense. She opened the small compartment where she stored her rosin and her polishing cloth. She tucked underneath them what she’d come to this musicale for and had, by a near miracle, managed to secure: a single silver bracelet. (Location 251)

Continue reading

A Haunting at Havenwood: Seasons of Change (Book 6), by Sally Britton—A Review

From the desk of Katie Patchell:

It’s that time of year again: when days shorten, and the once-warm breeze transforms into a blustery wind. Now is the season where, regardless of uncertain global events, we settle into the familiar routines of planning family holidays and awaiting the ghostly specters that rise from book’s pages (or knock on the door, asking for chocolate) around All Hallow’s Eve. While telling Dickensian spooky stories around a fire may be a tradition from the past, the thrill of meeting ephemeral visitors is an experience that isn’t solely possessed by Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge. Regency novelist Sally Britton has created her latest tale — A Haunting at Havenwood — as an homage to all things Gothic, mysterious, and romantic.

“For the first time, Louisa had an opportunity to make up her own mind. The idea both thrilled and unsettled her.” (Chapter 6, Location 864)

Louisa Banner’s life changed three years ago when her loving father died, leaving her solely to her mother’s cuttingly ambitious care. It is turned on its axis, however, when Louisa is calmly told that they have no money left. As a result, she is to live with her father’s aunt, a woman she has never met. It isn’t being virtually penniless that hurts Louisa; her pain is because her mother has unemotionally and secretly planned her removal from their home for weeks. On arriving at her great-aunt’s doorstep, Louisa is faced with an unexpected recipe for happiness featuring three entirely unlooked-for ingredients. They are: one very lovable great-aunt, one intriguing buried treasure, and one mysterious gentleman named Erasmus who Louisa feels is, quite possibly and against all her no-nonsense ideas, a ghost.

“It is only once in a lifetime, if at all, that a man meets someone who changes everything.” (Chapter 17, Location 2436)

Continue reading