By Jane Jackson
Robert Hale - November 2001
ISBN 0709069952 - HB
Historical Romance - 1795, Cornwall, England

Reviewed by: Rachel A Hyde, MyShelf.com
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Melissa Tregonning has had a rather unorthodox upbringing for a young lady; she has helped her father run his shipbuilding business. When he has a stroke after the culmination of financial difficulties and the anniversary of the death of his eldest son, Melissa has two options - run the business on her own or go under, married off to some unappealing suitor by her organizing relations. Just when things look darkest, she encounters a mysterious stranger, a man with terrible wounds, hiding out in the woods. He is a fugitive from a French prison. But how can he help her with the struggling business and who is he anyway?

The fresh winds of Cornwall blow through this breezy book thanks to the extensive local knowledge of the author. I enjoyed reading about a feisty but not too unrealistic heroine and her shipbuilding business. For those not interested in such things, there isn't too much about it; but for those who are, the whole venture is brought nicely to life with plenty of romance which is a part of, though not the entire, story. Jackson's work, as usual, balances out the gritty appeal of Catherine Cookson with a touch of the drawing room comedy of manners and the result is delightful. Some of the peripheral characters - of which there are not very many - could have been brought more to life but this is an enjoyable read nonetheless.

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