The Captain’s Daughter
In 1873, 17-year-old Rosalyn and her younger sisters, bossy Julia and delicate Cara, are standing atop a cliff on England’s rocky Dartmoor coast, as if awaiting their lost father. After their mother’s death, they had been placed in the well-known George Müller orphanage. Rosalyn leaves shortly thereafter to become a lady’s maid.
Six years later, Rosalyn is falsely accused of theft by her employer and flees. At London’s railway station, she falls for a scam, and despite being warned by Nate, a soldier on medical leave from India, she ends up in a brothel. Destitute, Rosalyn runs away, and while in a theater alleyway, she’s spotted from the window by Gilbert and Sullivan. Rosalyn is offered a backstage job and coincidentally meets Nate, who is there subbing for his injured brother. Rosalyn desires to become an actress and is assisted by her new friend, Tony. Although Nate plans to return to India, he’s drawn to Rosalyn and greatly helps her. She hopes he might change his mind about rejoining his regiment.
Jennifer Delamere has combined her interests in Victorian life, theater, and orphanages into an engaging historical romance. While the streets and neighborhoods of 1880s London, their people, and their lifestyles are brought vividly to life, it is the staging of the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas that captures our imagination. The workings of the theater are blended well into the plot. The novel throws a sympathetic light on the theater industry which, although enjoyed by many, was considered immoral. The characters quote from the Bible at times, which mostly serves to demonstrate their Christian values rather than preaching. While the book’s cover and the title indicate that Rosalyn’s father is a seafaring man, and he’s also mentioned at the beginning by his daughters, the captain is not a character, but he may appear in the sequel.