Fate and Fair Winds
A familiar star-crossed-lovers twist informs the basic plot of Dory Codington’s historical romance Fate & Fair Winds: John FitzSimmon, a major in the Royal Army assigned to the American colonies at the breakpoint of Revolution in 1776, is visiting his brother in Philadelphia when he comes across Rebecca Willent sketching on the bank of a river and is instantly taken with her. Rebecca has been promised by her father to a much older man in marriage, and she is furiously despairing about her fate when FitzSimmon makes his appearance. The two strangers fall in love despite their opposite political loyalties in the conflict that is heating up all around them.
Codington manages to make this familiar premise feel fresh, mainly by virtue of her vivid dialogue and her extensive period research, especially into the details of the occupation of Philadelphia in 1777-78. She also gives the ordinary details of day-to-day colonial life (the weather, the food, the roads, etc.) an appealing feel of reality. Readers familiar with the genre will know to expect many of the details of the book’s concluding chapters, but there is enough solid storytelling to keep even genre newcomers reading.