The Golden Maid by Evie Grace
THE SECOND NOVEL IN THE GRIPPING SMUGGLER’S DAUGHTERS TRILOGY! Perfect for fans of Dilly Court and Poldark.
Deal, Kent, 1812
Eighteen-year-old Winnie Lennicker yearns for a peaceful life as a respectable married woman. However, when she becomes involved in her family’s free-trading operations and caught by the Revenue, she is sent before the magistrates. Forced to confess that she is with child, now more than ever, Winnie is determined to give up smuggling. But the only way she can support herself and her unborn child is to carry on.
An opportunity presents itself to carry despatches on behalf of British agents and spies, and gold for Wellington’s army. Needing the money, Winnie can’t afford to refuse, but the journey across the Channel is treacherous. When Winnie discovers the despatches she’s carrying aren’t what they seem, she’s determined to right her wrongs in the hope of achieving her dream and leaving the free trade behind for good.
The Golden Maid is the second in the Smugglers Daughter series. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the chance to read the first one, which centres around the eldest of the Lenniker sisters, Louisa.
In The Golden Maid, we follow the story of Winnie Lenniker from the coastal village of Deal in Kent, England. We meet Winnie as she is brought before the court when caught with contraband in her handcart. It is 1812 and the court system is a world away from the present day. Winnie reveals to the packed courtroom that she is pregnant in the hope that her punishment will be reduced. She then has to undergo the humiliation of being marched through the streets and taken to the stocks.
Her sweetheart Billy is missing and Winnie is worried for his life. He was taken in by Winnie’s Pa as a boy and treated as part of the family. Winnie considered Billy a permanent fixture in her life and hoped to marry him.
Now she has to face the fact that she may have to bring up their child alone.
Smuggling is a huge part of the Lenniker family’s heritage and with that comes extreme danger. Winnie is a warm-hearted girl who would love nothing more to settle down and peacefully care for her family. However, when there are mouths to feed and financial proposals on offer, it is hard to resist. The three sisters have recently lost their father who was shot by a gang, so they are fully aware that there could be danger around every corner.
This is expertly written historical fiction and the period and location are extremely well researched. I enjoyed reading the characters talking in the dialogue and dialect familiar to the time and location. The story is beautifully written, taking you back in time and swept along with strong female characters determined to defy adversity.
Evie Grace is a new historical fiction author for me, however I shall be keeping a watchful eye out for more titles from such a talented storyteller.
Thank you to Georgia from Cornerstone for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.
Evie Grace was born in Kent, and one of her earliest memories is of picking cherries with her grandfather who managed a fruit farm near Selling. Holidays spent in the Kent countryside and the stories passed down through her family inspired her to write her Maids of Kent trilogy. Evie now lives in Devon with her partner and dog. She has a grown-up daughter and son.She loves researching the history of the nineteenth century and is very grateful for the invention of the washing machine, having discovered how the Victorians struggled to do their laundry.