This passionate West Country smuggling saga set in the early 19th-century is an intriguing departure for Tudor mystery writer Fiona Buckley.
Exmoor, 1800. When farmer’s daughter Peggy Shawe meets the charismatic Ralph Duggan, son of a so-called ‘free trader’, it’s love at first sight. Determined to prevent the match, Peggy’s widowed mother sends her daughter to live with the Duggans for six weeks, believing she will be put off marriage to Ralph when she discovers what life is like among a smuggling family.
Matters take a dramatic turn however when Ralph’s brother Philip is suspected of murder, and Ralph and Philip are despatched to distant relatives across the Atlantic. Heartbroken, Peggy vows to be reunited with her lover one day. But it will be several years before she and Ralph are destined to meet again – and in very different circumstances . . .
This is a character driven family saga about a young woman and the young man she loves. A murder impedes their romance, ripping them apart. The setting is Exmoor in the 1800s, a difficult time where farmers struggle to make a living off the land. Smugglers abound as a means to keep above debt and away from debtors. The relationship are all complex, with none of the characters perfect. And this is what I liked. Everyone has their faults, just like in real life, and the heroine and the hero are not necessarily good for each other.
Despite her mother's disapproval, Peggy Shawe accepts Ralph Duggan's marriage proposal. He is a smuggler and not the best choice for Peggy. So she is sent to live with her fuure family for six weeks on a trial basis. During this time, Ralph's brother is accused of murder and is forced to flee the country. Of course this does not sit well with Peggy's mother, who becomes more determined than ever to pull her daughter away from the impending marriage. Soon Peggy has no choice but to marry someone else. What follows is what happens when true love is thwarted and forsaken for duty and responsibility.
I love family dramas like this. Fiona Buckley did an excellent job at recreating Exmoor in the 1800s and very colorful, faulted characters. This is the essence of a believeable story. The story unfolds with a steady pace and I enjoyed every page from start to finish. Definitely recommended for those who love historical fiction about human hardship and emotion.
Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for visiting my blog, http://greathistoricals.blogspot.ca, where the greatest historical fiction is reviewed! For fascinating women of history bios and women's fiction please visit http://www.historyandwomen.com.