Hide from the thief-taker, for if he finds you, he will take you away …
Eighteenth-century Cornwall is crippled by debt and poverty, while the gibbet casts a shadow of fear over the land. Yet, when night falls, free traders swarm onto the beaches and smuggling prospers.
Terrified by a thief-taker’s warning as a child, Jenna has resolved to be good. When her brother, Silas, asks for her help to pay his creditors, Jenna feels unable to refuse and finds herself entering the dangerous world of the smuggling trade.
Jack Penhale hunts down the smuggling gangs in revenge for his father’s death. Drawn to Jenna at a hiring fayre, they discover their lives are entangled. But as Jenna struggles to decide where her allegiances lie, the worlds of justice and crime collide, leading to danger and heartache for all concerned …
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The Thief's Daughter by Victoria Cornwall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Thief’s Daughter by Victoria Cornwall is a 2017 Choc Lit publication.
Tax laws make smuggling a big temptation, becoming a very lucrative business in eighteenth century Cornwall.
As a result, thief takers step in, striking fear and hatred into the smuggling rings. When Jenna was a child, her entire family was torn asunder thanks to a thief taker, but Jenna is spared after she was issued a dire warning.
Despite her best efforts to do the right thing, Jenna marries poorly and is only saved from years of abuse by the hangman’s noose. When she steps up to insure her husband will indeed die at the gallows, it looks as though she is committing an act of mercy. As she runs from the angry crowd, Jack Penhale aids in her escape.
But, this will not be their last meeting. Jenna ends up working for Jack as his housekeeper. But, as it turns out, Jack is a thief taker. Not only that, he is the man responsible for putting Jenna’s brother, Silas, in debtor’s prison. To help Silas pay off his debts, Jenna will have to do the very thing she swore she never would… become a smuggler. Soon she finds herself torn between the man she is falling in love with and her loyalty to Silas, her ne’er do well brother.
What a fantastic historical drama! I’m always a sucker for a book set in Cornwall, so this one already had a slight advantage going in. However, I am very impressed by the obvious research the author must have done, because the scenery, the dress, dialogue, etc. is very authentic. Anyone who has seen me rip into historical romance novels because of their lack of authenticity will know this means a lot to me. That’s really all I ask, just be true to the setting and the historical era. I don’t mind liberties being taken with the plot because it is fiction, after all. But, in this case, the author has created a compelling story that is not only authentic, but realistic as well.
I really liked Jack, who was kind and upright, but was also smart and worldly. He too suffered much in his life and his quest was very noble. Jenna was, despite her hardships, still a little gullible, willing to believe the best in the undeserving, while questioning those who wanted to protect her and keep her from undue heartache, while standing by their own convictions.
The story was very absorbing, very tense at times, as danger looms. The love story was a slow burn for a while, but reached great passion, was filled with angst and fraught with moral dilemmas on both sides. I thought the story had much depth and was often difficult to put aside. I enjoyed the conclusion and was happy to see Jenna finally obtain a measure of peace and happiness.
This is my first book by this author, but not my last. I am eager to continue with this series.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Following a fulfilling twenty-five year career as a nurse, a change in profession finally allowed her the time to write. She initially self-published two novels, Old Sins Long Shadows and The Gossamer Trail under the name B.D.Hawkey. In 2016, award winning publisher, Choc Lit, acquired both novels as part of a four book deal. Old Sins Long Shadows is now published under a new title, The Captain's Daughter, and The Gossamer Trail has been released under the new title The Daughter of River Valley.
Victoria is married and has two grown up children. She likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.
She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association.