I went on an interesting journey this week- -in my reading chair!! I traveled to Cornwall, England and then to the coast of Morocco on Africa's northern coast. I sailed with corsairs, dallied with slave runners, and roamed the alleyways of Sale. The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson was the high seas adventure that provided my escape.
Inspired by a family legend, Johnson's research took her to the Cornish coast and then to modern day Morocco where she discovered that the family rumors were true. A congregation in 17th century Cornwall was kidnapped from a Cornwall church during a slave trader's Sunday raid. It seems that between the 16th and 19th centuries, over a million Britons were kidnapped and enslaved by corsairs and pirates. Indeed, the Pirates of Penzance, had more than an element of truth!! Jane Johnson then went on to pen a tale that wove two women together - 400 years apart.
I loved the author's backstory for this book and I was intrigued by the plot and adventure,however; the main characters left me flat. I felt that Julia, the modern day character, was selfish, petty, and a twit. I had little respect for her and I never really cared about her. Cat, the 17th century character, was similiar to Julia but somehow a little easier to forgive. She was immature but wanted more from life and I guess I was okay with that.
Jane Johnson is the publishing director at HarperCollins UK and The Tenth Gift is her first novel. While on a trip to Morocco to do research for her story, Johnson met a man who so impressed her that he became the inspiration for one of her main characters. Another twist - she later married him and now resides half the year in a Berber village in a remote part of Morocco!! Which is stranger - fact or fiction?!?!
I enjoyed the journey and what I learned - too bad the characters kept me from wanting even more!