A Castaway in Cornwall

Written by Julie Klassen
Review by Rebecca Cochran

In 1813 in North Cornwall, looting shipwrecks is a way of life. Unwritten rules of the area allow for wreckers to take the washed ashore belongings, provided there are no survivors. Like the rest of her town, orphan Laura Callaway collects lost items, but rather than selling the items she finds, Laura researches their provenance and sends them on to the next of kin, giving closure to the families of the lost sailors. When one fateful shipwreck washes ashore a survivor, Laura rescues and revives him. The mysterious survivor appears to be a gentleman, yet he speaks with a strange accent, and appears elusive and keen to keep his identity hidden. Laura soon becomes entangled in his mysterious origins, his story, and naturally, begins to fall in love with him.

While Klassen interweaves interesting snippets from actual historical records, and the backdrop is elegantly described, I was dissatisfied by the slow pace and lack of character development. Laura is a super sweet, angelic character with no flaws or apparent growth. Likewise, the villains of the story are stereotypically villainous, offering no real depth or intrigue. The storyline and plot have great promise but lack follow-through. Nevertheless, for fans of Klassen and her historical romances, this is still worth a read. The scenery, gentle love that grows between Laura and her stranger, and some of the minor characters, help make up for some of the disappointments.