Crossed Bones - Jane Johnson
Heres the first of my book reviews I want to share - Originally written by me and posted on Goodreads.
I loved this book. Even better than I expected.
It has also been published under the title "The Tenth gift" so you may have read it as that.
Its basically a dual time romance (one of my favourite genres) but is so much more than a romance and in actual fact there's very little soppiness and no bodice ripping at all.
Julia Lovatt is in her 30s and begins the book by getting dumped by her lover, who also happened to be her best friends husband. So she's not perfect by any means. He gives her an antique embroidery book, not such a strange parting gift given that Julia makes a living doing fine hand embroidery.
As she begins to read the book she finds handwritten notes in the margins by the books original owner Catherine, working as a servant in Cornwall in 1625 and given the book as a gift from her cousin Rob to whom she becomes reluctantly betrothed.
Catherines love of and talent for embroidery gives her ideas above her station and she dreams of the impossible, travel, escape from her humdrum life and to become a master embroiderer (unheard of for a woman)
As Julias is drawn to Cornwall to visit a cousin, she continues to read Catherines story which becomes so unbelievable she at first thinks she has got her hands on a rare early work of fiction writing.
As she reads about the kidnap from a church of a large number of Cornish folk, including Catherine, by Barbary pirates she realises it is the truth and as her ex begins to hound her to return the book, she sets of on her own journey of discovery travelling to Morocco to see where Catherine ended up being transported to by slave ship and sold.
It's fast paced and exciting all the way through and I couldn't put it down. The descriptions of Cornwall, London and Morocco read more like good travel journalism than fiction. The Subjects of Piracy and white slavery were different and gripping combined with the detail about embroidery which is also an interest of mine.
All in all it was a sheer pleasure to read and I'd love to read some more by this author.