Eye of the Wind
Cornwall, 1795. Melissa Tregonning, unconventional, beautiful but too tall for her time, tries to save her late father’s boatyard, which is encumbered by debt. After a tedious first chapter, the story only comes alive when a stranger arrives, with a flayed back and wounds caused by manacles in a French prison. It is hinted that he is not what he seems (aristocrat rather than artisan), and in danger of his life if his identity becomes known. Melissa takes one look at his 6′ 5″ frame, and falls in love.
Conventions keep them apart; Melissa strives to cover her father’s debts and the stranger, Gabriel, helps. The details of this struggle are unfortunately extremely dull, and it is not until the last third of the book that the story becomes exciting and prepares us for the happy ending. If only ‘Gabriel’s’ reason for hiding his identity had been revealed earlier than p.227, it would have been a more enjoyable read.
(Details for Accent Press 2013 reissue: £9.99, pb, 358pp)