Published: September 2011
Paperback, 478 pages
Eva visits her friends, Mark and Susan Hallett, brother and sister owners of Trelowarth house. Mark is continuing the long tradition of raising heirloom roses while his sister is contemplating opening a teashop in their greenhouse.
The first morning Eva wakes up to the sound of men's voices and thinks they are in the room next to her. When she asks Susan about it, Susan tells her no one else was in the house. Chalking it up to jet lag and grief for her sister, Eva thinks no more until she has another strange thing happen. The usual path to the cliffs opens into two paths and nothing is familiar about the grounds but Trelowarth house is still there looking like it might have looked centuries before.
Between working on plans for the teashop with Susan, Eva begins to have visions that begin slowly as she slips between time spans landing back in the 18th century. When she returns to the present day, it's as if she had never left. How to explain this time warp?
" I'd just come halfway round the world myself in hopes that at Trelowarth I could touch the past and hold what I had lost a little longer, and now here I was. I'd touched the past all right, but I had missed Katrina by three hundred years, and in this strange place I felt more alone than ever."
The feeling of being alone and strangeness does not last as she becomes more and more familiar with the time frame and becomes enamored of the then owners of Trelowarth; Jack and Daniel Butler along with their compatriot, Fergal. A romance across the centuries with Jack begins as Eva watches history unfold before her very eyes. Along with the dangerous occupation as smugglers, Jack, Daniel and Fergal are also embroiled in a daring plot of rebellion. As time elapses, Eva comes to the conclusion it's not the location that makes you happy but the people you love. Time for Eva to make a decision for her future once and for all.
Kearsley pens a tale that grabbed me right away. Just say "Cornwall" and I'm on board anyway, but this story is so fascinating. I loved the historical aspect of the Jacobite rebellion, the descriptions of the clothing and the unique romance portrayed between a couple from different centuries. I felt like I was really there with the characters. It's as if I could hear the waves thundering against the rocks, the wind in the ship's rigging and the creaking of the wooden boat as the smugglers went about their business. The end just about blew me away with a twist so unforseen, I had to read it several times to make sure I understood the connection. Fantastic job, Ms. Kearsley! if you liked Ciji Ware's A Cottage by the Sea, you are sure to enjoy this one. 4****
Susanna Kearsley’s previous works have won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Award and were finalists for both the UK Romantic Novel of the Year and the RITA awards. Her books have been translated into several languages, selected for the Mystery Guild, condensed for Reader’s Digest, and optioned for film. She lives in Canada, near the shores of Lake Ontario. Her website can be found here.
Disclosure: A review copy of the book was provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for my honest opinion.