Laura Callaway daily walks the windswept Cornwall coast, known for many shipwrecks but few survivors. She feels like a castaway, set adrift on the tides of fate by the deaths of her parents and left wanting answers. Now living with her parson uncle and his parsimonious wife in North Cornwall, Laura is viewed as an outsider even as she yearns to belong somewhere again.
When ships sink, wreckers scour the shore for valuables, while Laura searches for clues to the lives lost. She has written letters to loved ones and returned keepsakes to rightful owners. She collects seashells and mementos, and when a man is washed ashore, she collects him too.
As Laura and a neighbor care for the castaway, the mystery surrounding him grows. He has abrasions and a deep cut that looks suspiciously like a knife wound, and he speaks in careful, educated English, yet his accent seems odd. Other clues wash ashore, and Laura soon realizes he is not who he seems to be. Their attraction grows, and while she longs to return the man to his rightful home, evidence against him mounts. With danger pursuing them from every side, will Laura ever find the answers and love she seeks?
Julie Klassen is one of those authors that you can always count on for a good historical romance hit. While A Castaway in Cornwall is not one of my favourites, it is a unique addition to her incredible body of work. I think I’m used to a few more twists and unexpected surprises from Klassen that were missing from this story.
Laura and Alexander are certainly interesting characters and the underlying narrative of shipwrecks and smuggling was exciting, but the pace here was too slow. I spent the first half of the book wondering when we were going to get to the point and the second half waiting to get to the very obvious conclusion. It never felt like there was ever any true danger or complications, and no serious love triangles or outside suitors – all things I’ve come to expect from Klassen. It may be unfair to compare A Castaway in Cornwall to her other books, but there’s something missing here.