The Tenth Gift
by: Jane Johnson
Published by: Crown Publishers
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Reviewed by Stephanie Boyd
Julia Lovat’s life is falling apart. Her long-time affair with her former best friend’s husband is ending, her cousin’s husband apparently committed suicide, and she is tired of running the little needlework store she inherited. As a parting gift, her one-time lover gives her an antique book of Jacobean embroidery that she is delighted with. But it isn’t just an embroidery book. All along the edges is a diary of sorts from a young woman, Cat who survives being kidnapped by Barbary pirates and taken from her home in Cornwall to Morocco as a slave. Now four hundred years later, Julia discovers a connection between herself and Cat, and travels to Morocco to research the story she is uncovering in the book. But Morocco holds more than the answers to the mystery, it may hold Julia’s future.
This book is a delightful duel story of two women, four hundred years apart, who travel to Morocco under vastly different circumstances to find their future. The sections about Cat are not just the diary entries but are told from Cat’s perspective. The parallels Julia discovers in her life to Cat’s life, and the fact that they may be distant relatives, adds to the intrigue. The tale of the Barbary pirates kidnapping people from the coast of Cornwall is based on a real event that happened in the 1600s, author Johnson’s version is very believable. Even Julia’s story holds some elements of truth as it is loosely based on the author’s own journey to Morocco to explore her ancestor’s story for a book.
I was completely enthralled from the start of the story to the end of the book. I found it next to impossible to put down and stayed up well past my bedtime to finish the book in one day. The story is so compelling I couldn’t tell when it was fiction and when it was real. I feel like I have personally traveled to Morocco along with Julia.
Armchair Interviews says: Highly recommended to any lover of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, romantic suspense, or just anyone just wanting a really good book to read!
Author’s Web site: http://www.JaneJohnsonBooks.com
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