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Wednesday, 29 September 2010
by Christina Courtenay
'Trade Winds' is Christina’s first novel and as expected when you read a book published by Choc Lit, the hero, Killian Kinross, is irresistible.
'Trade Winds' starts in 1732 in Gothenburg where Jess van Sandt feels sure she’s being duped by her calculating stepfather, who for some reason seems determined to foil any attempts by suitors to marry her.
Killian Kinross, a strong, worldly Scotsman with family problems of his own, travels to Gothenburg with a letter of introduction from his grandfather, Lord Rosyth, to Jess’s stepfather who immediately gives him a job. Determined to find a way to make his fortune and prove to his grandfather that he was wrong to doubt him, let alone disinherit him, Killian jumps at the chance to travel to the Far East on an expedition with the Swedish East India Company.
Before going he is asked by Jess’s stepfather to accompany her deep into the countryside where she is being sent as a punishment. Desperate to be free from her controlling stepfather, Jess proposes to Killian, suggesting that a marriage of convenience between them can benefit them both financially as well as allowing her to be rid of her nemesis once and for all.
They marry in secret and Jess, scared of her feelings for Killian, rebuffs him. Hurt and frustrated, Killian goes to his ship and can’t wait to set sail to China. Unbeknown to him, Jess isn’t his only problem. Killian also discovers that he has to contend with his cousin, Farquhar, who, wracked with jealousy, is determined to stop at nothing to ensure Killian isn’t around long enough to become Lord Rosyth’s heir.
Everything about this book is enjoyable, from the gloriously haunting cover to the beautifully written story inside. The descriptions of places, people and lifestyles so cleverly interwoven throughout 'Trade Winds' made me feel like part of Killian and Jess’s world as I read their intriguing story. I wanted them to be together, but couldn’t see how it was ever going to work despite their mutual, though secret attraction to each other. Their own personal difficulties with each other and the outside dangers they have to overcome make this a book to savour.
Reviewed by Debs Carr