The Golden Maid (The Smuggler’s Daughters)

Written by Evie Grace
Review by Marilyn Sherlock

This book takes us back to the Napoleonic Wars of the 18th century together with the coastal trades of smuggling, particularly in Kent and the West Country. Times were hard and wages very low, and there was money to be made from the bringing in of goods from France on the quiet. Winnie is an unmarried mother of a baby girl and lives in Deal in Kent with her sisters. The baby’s father is away, having been pressganged into the navy. Winnie hates the ‘free trade’ and longs to be able to be totally uninvolved in it but she has to support her child and help her sisters.

From the publicity, this book is said to appeal to those who enjoyed Poldark, and up to a point this is true, but it is not in the same league. There is not the same intensity of drama, and the characters do not jump out of the page in the same way. Evie Grace has obviously done her homework with regard to local dialect but does nothing to explain what the words mean – e.g. Huffkins, which is a kind of bread roll. This is the second book in a trilogy, so maybe there was a glossary in the first book, but as I had not read it, I had to keep looking these words up, which interrupted the text. This is a capable historical romance.