Friday, July 23, 2010

"Crossed Bones" aka "The Tenth Gift"

I just finished a swashbuckling romance (but not the Fabio-cover kind) lent to me by a kind customer. She picked it out of the piles at our galley giveaway and was very pleasantly surprised. It's by Jane Johnston, and the published title is The Tenth Gift I'm going to go on record: I prefer the piratical "Crossed Bones" as a title; the published title isn't explained until most of the way through the book, and it just kept reminding me of slimeball character Michael, the adulterous husband-of-her-best-friend who dumps contemporary heroine Julia. (He gives her an exquisite antique book as parting gift, but then, a-hole that he is, spends the rest of the book trying to get it back.)
The novel has two related narratives: Julia's life in London and Cornwall, and the life of Cat, a 17th century Cornish woman who is abducted by Salee pirates! They are connected through Cat's book/journal and their shared love of embroidery. The dual narrative kind of reminded me of "Julie & Julia" in that the contemporary character's story line was less compelling for much of the book than Cat's incredible journey. Things did get spiced up in today's world, though, and romance blossoms in both.
This was a fun and engaging novel that taught me more about the history of Cornwall, pirates, and the corsair culture. Fascinating and entertaining light fare!

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