On Hist Fic Saturday
Let's go back to ...1798
5 November 2020
My thanks to the author and publishers for my coy of this book
Four years have passed since Midshipman Edmund Melville was declared missing, presumed dead, and Amelia Carew has mended her heart and fallen in love with a young physician, Luke Bohenna. But, on her twenty-fifth birthday, Amelia suddenly receives a letter from Edmund announcing his imminent return. In a state of shock, devastated that she now loves Luke so passionately, she is torn between the two.
When Edmund returns, it is clear that his time away has changed him - he wears scars both mental and physical. Amelia, however, is determined to rekindle their courtship and nurse him back to help. Luke, who has always understood that Amelia's love for Edmund would take precedence, backs away.
But soon, Amelia begins to question what really happened to Edmund while he was missing. As the treads of truth slip through her fingers, she doesn't know who to turn to: Edmund, or Luke?
What did I think about it..
It's always such a pleasure to return to the Cornwall of this author's creative imagination and in A Cornish Betrothal we meet with Amelia Carew just as she has found happiness again after the sad loss of her fiancé, Midshipman Edmund Melville, who was presumed lost abroad. Her new relationship with the handsome physician, Luke Bohenna, is however, sadly uninterrupted when Amelia discovers that Edmund is alive.
The story which follows has all the trials and tribulations we have come to expect from this talented author's writing. Amelia's relationship with the two men in her life is tested to the limit and yet there are many obstacles to overcome before she can find true happiness. There is a special poignancy to the story when we go back in time to read the letters which Amelia exchanged with her fiancé, and we experience all her despair when she realises that he is missing and again witness her natural trepidation when she discovers he is home again.
The author writes historical romantic fiction with a reliable authenticity and the latter part of eighteenth century Cornwall, and Truro in particular, with descriptions of the town and the area around the small estuary port come alive, especially where there was much activity from small boats plying their trade. The Carew family are much loved members of this small community and feature strongly in all aspects of the story. Amelia is a really lovely heroine, her natural beauty, her genuine warmth and compassion and her quite special regard for people from all walks of life comes across in such lovely detail that I could well imagine walking the streets of Truro with her at my side.
There's a delightful sense of historical accuracy in these stories and the author brings extensive research to play particularly with all aspects of seafaring and naval history which she explains with lively interest. Given Amelia’s interest in herbal remedies, I also enjoyed the botanical references, and the tantalising snippets of information from The Lady Herbalist which end each chapter are particularly enlightening.
I've followed this author's skilful writing since the beginning of this wonderful series of Cornish historical novels. A Cornish Betrothal is now the fifth book, but worry not, if you haven't read any before, as they all work as standalone stories, however, it's always such a real treat when the characters from the other novels pop up again, and I was delighted to see the return of a few well-loved characters in this story.
There is no doubt that A Cornish Betrothal is a wonderful continuation of this series. The essence of thwarted love, the dilemma of family secrets and the revelation of shocking truths add a certain piquancy to the story. There is no doubt that in all of these novels the author brings place and people to life in a very special and totally readable way.
Twitter @NPryce_Author #ACornishBetrothal