Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Tenth Gift

By Jane Johnson
Random House Canada
Reviewed by Heather T.

(Possible spoilers.)

This is a captivating story that spans 400 years. Mystery, pirates, romance, embroidery, strains of the supernatural, history and adventure – this book really has everything and goes at a wonderful pace; I could barely put it down. I’ll be first in line to read Ms. Johnson’s next book, I can tell you.

Julia Lovat is given a seventeenth-century embroidery pattern book with margins full of faint writing. The writing turns out to be the story of Cat who was kidnapped from the Cornish coast by North African pirates with the intention of selling her as a slave. Prior to reading this story I was unaware of the fascinating historical fact that ‘the Barbary corsair raids on the south coasts of England, which took place intermittently over the course of more than two hundred years during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries…’ (p.387)

After I finished the book I realized that I hadn’t stopped to make any notes for quotes! Yes, it was very captivating indeed! I did love the first line of the book which follows.


‘There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they have never happened before, like larks that have been singing the same five notes for thousands of year.’

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