The Captain’s Girl
Set in Cornwall in 1793, the early scenes in this book reminded me of Daphne du Maurier’s Frenchman’s Creek. However, the story veers off the plot of that novel thereafter, being full of lies and betrayals, autocratic and vicious men, and many adventures for the heroine.
Celia Cavendish runs away from home when she discovers the man she is promised to in marriage is a whip-wielding brute. She seeks refuge with some neighbours and through them meets Captain Arnaud Lefevre. This leads her into danger and adventures, which take her into the back streets of Cornish towns, meeting the good and the bad, the poor and the well-to-do, while trying to discover who to trust, as well as resolve the rather complicated plot. In doing so, she does, of course, also discover love.
This is a sequel to Pryce’s previous book Pengelly’s Daughter, so it may be in that we learn of the fate of Arbella, Celia’s cousin, who has eloped two months prior to the opening of this novel, but it would have been nice to have been told what happened to her in this novel for those of us who haven’t read the earlier book.
There are a few editing mistakes (‘reign’ for ‘rein’, for instance, and could a woman mount a horse unaided with a young boy in her arms?), but the story is full of action which keeps you reading, while learning a lot about the politics of the day!