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Book review: ‘Havencross’ is a familiar, fun romance with a few surprises

SHARE Book review: ‘Havencross’ is a familiar, fun romance with a few surprises

"HAVENCROSS," by Julie Daines, Covenant Communications, $14.99, 224 pages (f)

"Havencross," a historical novel by Julie Daines, is a predictable yet enjoyable Regency-era romance. Set in Cornwall, England, the book includes mystery, suspense and adventure.

Fans of the genre will enjoy the familiar storylines and themes of Regency-era romances with a few added twists and mystery subplots woven in. The novel follows main characters Elaine and Gareth, childhood friends from different social classes, as they re-enter one another’s lives in adulthood after many years. Their relationship history is complicated. The novel alternates points of view between the two.

Elaine and her family have returned to Cornwall from London on the heels of a scandal that involved her father. Elaine hasn't been back to Cornwall since the disappearance of her brother several years earlier.

Elaine is confronted with a mystery in the craggy caves and rocks surrounding her family's estate, where there have been rumors of smugglers. Her attempts to unravel it set off a string of events that lead to tragedy, triumph and more matters of the heart for Elaine and Gareth.

Daines clearly loves her subject and paints a vivid picture of the fictional characters and setting along the English coast. Exciting additions to the classic English romance plot include murder, mystery, coastal smugglers and conspiracies.

Elaine’s development at times can seem a bit weak, as the character’s motivations are not always clearly defined. But this is made up for with great action scenes toward the end of the book.

Daines, a Utah native, shows her knowledge and love of the setting of the book by including legends and interesting facts about the time and history of the general area.

“Havencross” is a 2017 Whitney Award finalist in the historical romance category. The Whitney Awards honor novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The book is a romance novel and includes discussion of affection, attraction and romance, but the descriptions are general. Murder and violence are also part of the story but are generally described. No foul language occurs in the novel.

“Havencross” is a quick and fun read and any lover of English romance, Regency-era sagas or romantic mystery will surely enjoy it.

Livi Whitaker is a freelance writer and contributes to publications such as Deseret News, KSL.com, Family Share, LDS.org, Family Search & more in news, print and as a columnist since 2010. Find her online at https://www.linkedin.com/in/liviwhitaker