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The Contraband Shore
Contraband Shore series – Book I
BY David Donachie

Allison and Busby
24 May 2018 Out 2 August in US/ ISBN 9780749021061
Fiction / Historical

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


It’s 1787 and Captain Edward Brazier is fresh from his recent mission with a large amount of prize money. He has a new and more personal mission now; to propose marriage to beautiful young widow Betsey Langridge whom he got to know back in the West Indies. But once in Deal, he soon discovers that his problems are just beginning, for not only is Betsey’s brother dead against the match, but the town is rife with smuggling and somebody is out to get him…

The author paints a vivid picture of late 18th century Kent in this series opener. I was sucked in from the beginning, and although this is not a breathlessly exciting page turner, I did feel as though I was actually there. From the Tulkingtons’ stately home to the mean streets of Deal, the author gets the atmosphere of this time and place pretty much how I would imagine it would have been. The story revolves around the various smuggling gangs as they vie against each other and the efforts of the star-crossed lovers to get together. This is not ostensibly a romantic novel, but the account of a wooing (among other things) written from the perspective of a man which makes it seem unusual and consequently rather interesting. The mystery for Brazier is why Betsey’s brother opposes the match and also how he can outfox wily William Pitt regarding the somewhat dubious goings-on in his last posting. It all ends on a cliffhanger which certainly whetted my appetite for the next book A Lawless Place. If you enjoyed Poldark, then this ought to be right up your alley.

Reviewed 2018