Reviews - Historical

The Sugar Merchant
James
Hutson-Wiley

Thomas Woodward, merchant of Al-Qahirah, is the main character in this first-person saga set during the years just prior to the Great Crusades.  Orphaned as a young boy when Flemish mercenaries sack his village, Thomas finds himself rescued from a beggar’s life by the monks of Eynsham Abbey.  In exchange for his salvation, Thomas must pledge fealty to the Abbott and his brother monks.

Isobel Campbell has a secret mission: to find a safe place to keep the holiest relic in all of Scotland. She is escorted on this mission by a mysterious crusader, Alexander MacKinnon, who has just returned home to Scotland. 

Independent, unconventional, and eccentric, 30-year-old Elaine Bond is an open book. Since the death of her beloved father, she has come to rely on her friendship with 50-year-old bookseller Basil Wall. His unrequited love for Elaine is only one of many secrets he is keeping, both from her and the community of Brynthwaite, Cumbria. 

Katherine Bingham is an English lady by birth, but an Irish lass by inclination. The intrepid daughter of Connacht Governor Richard Bingham and the most hated enemy of Pirate Queen Grace O’Malley is drawn to Grace’s grandson, the refreshingly thoughtful Thomas Esmonde, at first sight.

Drake, the Duke of Ravenscar, feels tremendous pressure to make the Chadwick Theatre a big success. Having booked the premiere ballerina Mademoiselle Taglioni for the theatre’s opening, Drake is feeling confident. However, the famous dancer bails on him, at the eleventh hour. A talented understudy, Britannia LeClair, is brought in to take her place.

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