A tale of smuggling, love and accepting what life throws at you. Of a lost love that when faced down defies sense and sensibilities. At times I felt like I was moving in a Constable painting, at others I was looking around for Ross Poldark and Demelza.
Peggy Shawe was engaged to Ralph Duggan, a free trader, a euphemism for smuggler. Her mother sends Peggy to live with Ralph's family for six weeks to test the relationship. When Ralph's brother Philip is accused of murder, Philip is forced to flee England. Ralph goes with him, and with that event Ralph and Peggy's story takes a different path. Although determined to wait for him Peggy is worn down by the importuning of her family to marry into a neighbouring farming family and to secure the care of her own family's holding. After time Peggy gives in.
You can feel the unhappiness of Peggy and her slow coming to acceptance of what life has dealt her, only to have it ripped once more from her grasp by one heady and unlooked for moment.
The tragedy of her life is that she was given no choice. She makes do, but in the end making do is not enough. One comes to hate how women were treated and the narrowness of some minds.
Ralph Duggan and Peggy Shawe's love was tangible and real and yet both bowed to circumstances and the times. Love lost and love gained, years that never quashed their secret feelings for each other, pushed as they were to a small secret corner of their hearts.
A NetGalley ARC