Set in the same time period as Poldark and Bridgerton, this Regency romance follows a young man searching for truth among the debris of multiple shipwrecks on his newly inherited property.
Cornwall, England, 1820: Raised on the sprawling and rugged Wyndcliff Estate near the dangerous coast of South Cornwall, Evelyn Bray lives with her grandfather, a once-wealthy man now reduced to the humble post of steward. Evelyn’s mother, embarrassed by their lost wealth and status, left Pevlyn in search of a better life for them both, but never returns. Evelyn is still grieving her father’s death and her mother’s abandonment when a passing ship is dashed against the rocks.
Liam Twethewey is a mere two and twenty when he inherits Wyndcliff Estate from his great uncle. His optimistic plans to employ the estate’s tenants meets unexpected resistance, and rumors of smuggling and illegal activity challenge his newfound authority.
Brought together by troubling questions surrounding the shipwreck, Evelyn and Liam uncover even darker mysteries shrouding the estate. As they untangle truth from deception, their loyalties separate them—and their budding love might not be strong enough to overcome the distance.
Full-length Regency romanceBook 3 in the Cornwall novels (The Governess of Penwythe Hall, The Thief of Lanwyn Manor, and The Light at Wyndcliff), but can be read as a stand-alone storyBook length: 85,000 wordsIncludes discussion questions for book clubs
The gripping but uneven third Regency romance in Ladd's Cornwall Novels series (after The Thief of Lanwyn Manor) expertly deploys elements of gothic mystery, but couches them in a lackluster love story. When William Twetheway inherits the coastal estate of Wyndcliff Hall, he meets the lovely Evelyn Bray, the granddaughter of the property's steward. Their courtship starts off more Jane Austen than Charlotte Bront , though the descriptions of the dilapidated property add dark, delicious atmosphere. Then William learns that the biggest source of income to the estate comes from looting the frequent horrific shipwrecks on Wyndcliff's shore. As William deals with the ramifications of this knowledge, Evelyn's past trauma and abandonment issues come to light. While Evelyn is drawn with a great deal of heart, William's character is muddled and hollow, though he becomes more dynamic as his interactions with Evelyn's grandfather and the Cornwall locals become increasingly antagonistic. Though the atmosphere and intrigue keep the pages turning, William and Evelyn's relationship is underdeveloped and suffers from clich and poorly timed exposition. Gothic romance fans will appreciate the setting, but long for more substance.
Trust is to be earned, not freely given
At some point you must make decisions for yourself and do what is best for you - Jenna to Evelyn
The author once again takes us to the moors of Cornwall, where many traditions rule the way of life. The sea plays a large part in those rather unsettling customs as this is an area where many ships meet an unfortunate end. Salvaging what they can, the villagers eke out a small income from those sales. Liam Twethewey not only inherits the Wyndcliff Estate from his uncle, but also the longstanding practice of storing the cargo from many of these shipwrecks. How can he possibly condone what is occurring on his own land? Will a rescue at sea help change these unwritten rules?
Evelyn Bray lives in the steward’s cottage along with her grandfather, the steward. This somewhat controlling relationship leads Jenna to make the comment above. But where can a young woman go in 1808, if she has no family to stand behind her?
With a great deal of detail, the author takes us walking on the moors, along the seashore and into what life must have been like in 1808. I could almost smell the sea and hear the waves crashing. This wonderful mystery will not be easy to set aside until you finally reach the conclusion.
This ARC of Book 3 in the Cornwall Novels was received through Thomas Nelson, HarperCollins Christian Publishing and NetGalley. The impressions and comments are my own and were in no way solicited.