Tuesday 7 May 2019

A Discovering Diamonds review of A Mistake of Consequence by Terri Evert Karsten

A Mistake of Consequence

"A good story. American readers, in particular, will enjoy the Philadelphia setting. "


Family Drama / Romance

18th Century
Scotland / North America

"It is 1754 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Callie Beaton is nearly twenty, single, and determined not to marry anyone her grandfather deems worthy. But after her impulsive flight from yet another unwanted suitor leads her to the pier one rainy evening, Callie is mistaken for someone else and dragged aboard a ship. Trapped in a dark hold and at the mercy of strangers, Callie has no idea the ship is headed for a bustling port city across the ocean in America.

Wracked with seasickness, unable to convince the ship's captain she is not who he thinks she is, and with only one tattered dress to her name, Callie somehow survives the horrid journey. She arrives in colonial Philadelphia penniless, nameless, and alone in a strange place. Two men offer her help: Ethan Asher, a handsome gentleman with a hidden past, and Davy McRae, a charming ship's captain with a dangerous secret.
Neither seems trustworthy, but when tragedy strikes, Callie is caught in the middle and must choose one of them to help her if she is to save herself and her newfound friends from disaster."

Callie Beaton has rebuffed yet another attempt by her grandfather to marry her off to someone he deems suitable, only his idea of 'suitable' is someone his age or someone dull, and Callie needs some air. She flounces out of the front door of her Edinburgh house and goes for a wander. However, she strays too close to the docks and is grabbed by an agent looking to replace a missing indentured servant. Locked in the hold of a ship, the next time Callie sees daylight, she's on her way to Philadelphia. 

This is a love story set in the late eighteenth century, the early days of settlers in North America. I don't know enough of this period or location to comment on the historical accuracy of the period as portrayed, but I did pick up some errors - the material that women wore to cover their decolletage at the end of the eighteenth century was called a fishu - the author didn't research this, so I do wonder about the accuracy - but, this worked as a good story. American readers, in particular, will enjoy the Philadelphia setting. 

Callie is a likeable character and the romantic lead is mysterious enough to be interesting. Bizarrely the best-drawn character is one of the lesser people from the second half of the book - Ethan, a young man we question until the very end when his true self is revealed. Is he good, or is he evil? You'll have to read it to find out.

© Louise Adam

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