Monday, 16 January 2017
Review: Pengelly's Daughter by Nicola Pryce
Cornwall, 1793: Rose Pengelly's father has been ruined—he has lost his boat yard and his fortune, plunging Rose and her mother into poverty and debt. There appears to be only one way out of their terrible circumstances; for Rose to marry Mr Tregellas, a powerful timber merchant and the man Rose believes is responsible for her father's downfall. He has made his terms clear; either she marries him or faces homelessness and destitution. Desperate, Rose sets out to find evidence of Mr Tregellas's wrongdoing. In her search, she encounters a mysterious young sailor called Jim, who refuses to disclose his identity. Even as she falls in love with him, she questions who he really is. He may help her restore her fortune and her good name, but does he ever tell her the truth?
From the cover of this novel I got a Catherine Cookson/family saga vibe that I have to admit almost put me off. But the blurb and the comparisons with Poldark had me sold. For a debut novel this has all the makings of a great historical adventure. I actually looked up the author expecting a back catalogue of similar novels so well established was her style, characterisation, and vivid descriptions of the sights and smells of Cornwall.
Rose, true to form in this genre of novel, was a feisty and headstrong heroine, fighting to make her own way in what was very much a man's world.She was ahead of her time in her thinking, with ideas that many of the other characters found shocking. As for Jim, well... I only wish that we saw more of him. The relationship he had with Rose was my favourite part of the novel and I would have loved more of an ending to their story. Hopefully this is just the beginning for them and a sequel of some kind is in the works - there are so many brilliant characters that there is easily scope for more stories set in this particular fictional community.
4/5 stars: With a hero who is more than a match for Ross Poldark, this is a fast paced and fun historical romp through Cornwall.