Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Victoria Cornwall’s THE THIEF’S DAUGHTER – Smuggling on the Cornwall Coast

A worthy debut novel set in Cornwall in Georgian England, beginning in 1779 (with a prologue set in 1765). The mood of the time with smugglers and men in prison for debt is vividly portrayed.

Jenna Cartwright Kestle was the virtuous daughter of thieving parents and brothers who were always in trouble with the authorities. When Jenna is only four, the thief-takers carry off her older brothers and her parents, leaving her only Silas, her last brother. She lives in fear of thief-takers ever after.

As the story begins, Silas is in debtor’s prison and asks for Jenna’s help to pay his creditors. He lies to her about his wife and children being in prison with him to gain her sympathy. Silas is an altogether bad actor but Jenna doesn’t yet realized it so she decides to get a job to pay her brother’s debts.

Jack Penhale, a thief-taker, hunts down the smuggling gangs thriving on Cornwall’s coast. He’s particularly interested in the one led by Ames and Job Blake because they took his father’s life. When Jenna comes to the job market, he hires her for his housekeeper to tend the Captain’s Cabin he’s rented for its proximity to the coast.

Jack is a noble character who only means good to Jenna, but she’s a bit clueless when it comes to her brother, allowing Silas to lure her into a smuggling scheme.

The author developed the characters and their conflicting emotions. Though life for them was hard and bad things happened, the ending is sweetly romantic.

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