Julie Klassen has a way of writing stories that teach you about love at the same time that they teach you about forgiveness and the history of the world. Each time I read one of her books, I learn something new, and I especially loved this book for showing the two sides of a war most people in the US don't know much about. Her books, while Christian in genre, can be appreciated by people of all faiths and people of no faith, because you can read the story and see the beauty and ugliness of human nature. You can understand what good can come from doing right by other people, even if it puts you in danger, and you can see the importance of having faith in something, even if that something is simply yourself. Having faith in God is paramount to those of the Christian faith, but first you must have faith in yourself and recognize that the right path for you is also the path that God sets you on.
Laura Callaway hasn't belonged anywhere in a long time, ever since moving to Cornwall at a young age following the deaths of both her parents. While she may not always understand the Cornish ways of her guardians and her neighbors, she adopts them in her own way, ensuring her belief in what is good and right remain firm. When a ship wrecks near her home, the people flock to the beach to see what cargo they can claim as their own, only a few paying any mind to saving the people on board. A man washes ashore, injured, and Laura immediately rushes to his side, saving him from certain death from a bloodthirsty "wrecker" who'd rather there be no survivors, so that no one can claim what they find. Taking him home, she nurses him back to health, soon learning that all may not be as it appears. The man has an accent, even though he tries to hide it, and as bodies and belongings float to shore, it becomes clear that his secrets may put all of them in great danger.
There is something about a story where one person saves the other that calls to me. Perhaps it's because I like the appeal of the idea that one person would risk themselves to save another, even if they didn't know them. There is something so wonderful about that idea, and I especially liked how Julie Klassen portrayed it in this book. Laura was a sweet soul, clearly respecting of the Cornish traditions while also maintaining her own set of morals around what she would and wouldn't do to fit in. She befriended outcasts, saved shipwrecked items at her own peril, and took the time to notify loved ones of sailors who perished, even if it meant receiving an angry reply in return. She wasn't without faults, but she clearly had a beautiful heart. Alexander Lucas, the man she saved, was another who I could tell had an innate sense of good in him. His back story was so tragic, and I can't reveal much without giving away a large spoiler, though I think you will know his secrets before he reveals them. It doesn't take long to figure it out, and by then, you've become so attached to his character that you don't really care about his history. All I cared about was how he was going to make it work with Laura, because they both clearly deserved a happily ever after.
I always read Julie Klassen books, and so it's no surprise to me that I really enjoyed this one. Julie is a masterful storyteller and one I hope continues to gain readers from all backgrounds to enjoy the messages she imparts in each story.
**I received a free copy via NetGalley and this is my honest review.**