Monday, February 17, 2020

Days of Gold by Jude Deveraux (2009)

I have now gotten hooked on Deveraux's Edilean series and chronologically, this is the first one. It really does set the scene for all the other books as the current day characters mostly come from these Scottish and English ancestors. I learned in the previous books that the town was named after the wife of the founder, so we get to meet Edilean and Angus.

We start in Scotland around 1770. Angus McTern is trying to hold his clan together, after his father lost the castle (more like just a tower) and the lands in a card game to a nasty Englishman. The Englishman realizes Angus works hard and maintains the place, so he leaves him alone. Angus is too busy to have a personal life until the Englishman's niece Edilean shows up and he is struck dumb. He avoids her, but then finds out that she is to be married off to one of her uncle's buddies, and he will get all the gold she has inherited from her father. Then we start the wild ride of Angus helping her out inadvertently, though she loves James, but James is just using her, and one way or another, Angus and Edilean end up on a ship to America, though Angus is now wanted for kidnapping. You know the story - they try to stay away from each other, but fall in love.

They land in Boston, she sets up house with James' sister Harriet. Through misunderstandings and Angus not wanting to ruin her life, they mostly do their own thing in the New World. Angus works an an inn for while, later with the army and learns the ways of the woods and natives. He dreams of getting land outside Williamsburg, VA and building a town with Edilean. She in frustration wants to prove she is not a helpless and useless woman, starts a company Bond Girls, where she buys farms of widows and provides them with help. She gets the bonds of women brought over from England for various crimes, usually out of desperation - and gives them jobs working on the farms and producing high quality fruits and vegetables.

I always like historic context. I guess I have seen some of the desolate castles of Scotland in films, and have read some novels set in current day Scotland, but this helps round out the picture in my mind. This book shows a few other routes that immigrants to America have taken. I somehow did not realize criminals were exiled here. Just started reading a bio of Hamilton and in the first few paragraphs learned that the Caribbean was another place to send criminals. Maybe a topic to research - cheaper to exile than keep in prisons? And many made a good life - or at least their children did. Again, early America - Boston (that I've learned about from the Jackie Faber series) and Virginia.

My other joy is learning about a rich set of characters. I will have to go back to the book and pull out the names I know appear in other books.

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