(I received a free copy of Havencross from Covenant Communications to write an honest review on The Silver Petticoat Review. I was not financially compensated for this post and all opinions are my own.)
From the publisher: When a shocking scandal involving her father spreads through London society, Elaine Cardinham and her parents are forced to retreat to their country home in Cornwall for refuge. But Havencross is no sanctuary for Elaine. She is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of her brother and the heartbreak she left in her wake all those years ago.
It has been five long years since Gareth Kemp last saw Elaine. Her reappearance convinces him of one thing: he still loves her. To put his feelings for her aside, he focuses his attention on the dangerous smuggling plaguing the Cornish coast. As Elaine attempts to run from her past, she ventures ever closer to a dangerous truth and Gareth may be the only one who can save her from a deadly finish.
I would not categorize Havencross as only a regency romance. There are fantasy elements, including a ghost, as well as unsolved disappearances and murders. And then, there are the details of Elaine’s father’s disgrace. Perhaps that is why this romance stays with you long after you finish reading. There is simply more to the story. While there appear to be a number of stories, all circle back to one thing: Havencross.
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The story alternates between Elaine and Gareth’s point of view. As a result, this adds depth to every scene. Especially when their viewpoints of the same thing diverge greatly! Gareth, in particular, made me laugh with his internal monologue over his rival for Elaine’s heart. Elaine, on the other hand, made me ache for her broken heart. Havencross was once a place of joy for her. But, tragedy overshadows the more joyful memories. Nevertheless, it is still a place of healing and it’s wonderful to read as Cornwall works its magic on Elaine.
The sprawling coast of Cornwall serves as the backdrop in Havencross. It is the perfect setting, brimming with legends and mystical stories. Cornwall also has a history of being a smuggler’s haven! Daines’ rich detail flows beautifully. Readers have a real sense of the vast landscape, rocky cliffs, and pebbled beaches. Tintagel castle from the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is very much a part of Elaine’s story. So, as she roams the countryside, Elaine’s mind wanders back with childhood tales of King Arthur and Guinevere. Needless to say, the book is very much a love letter to Cornwall and Arthurian legend.
Last, but certainly not least, is Elaine and Gareth’s relationship. Their romance is very tender. They have a long history together. As children, they roamed the countryside with great freedom. They fought imaginary dragons and played Knights of the Round Table.
Elaine and Gareth do not speak of their history. Yet, it is there in every word they exchange. Daines weaves Elaine and Gareth’s history seamlessly into the present. It hums in their conversations and interactions. They know each other inside and out. Consequently, there is a wonderful intimacy between them. Gareth relies on this history in the hope that Elaine will also remember.
I think Havencross would make a perfect Hallmark film. Presently, Hallmark rolls out made-for-television modern day romance movies all year long. In addition, they also have successful period television pieces including When Calls the Heart. Adding more romantic period television movies will only sweeten their selection of old-fashioned romantic entertainment.
Final Thoughts on Havencross
Havencross is a lovely romantic mystery! The romance is sweetly tender. In addition, the mystery blends beautifully with the history of Cornwall. While more mystery than romance, it’s an enjoyable book mixing facts and legends with elements of fantasy. Definitely, cuddle up with a cup of tea and your fuzzy slippers for this one!
Have you read Havencross? Have you read any other novels by Julie Daines? Let me know in the comments below!
Havencross is available on Amazon or NOOK. For more about author Julie Daines, visit her website here.
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