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Kidnapped: His Innocent Mistress Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 2009
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The author also loved Stevenson's book and she wrote this one as, in her words, "a homage to both Robert Louis Stevenson's wonderful story and to Scotland, one of the most beautiful countries on Earth."
Stevenson's original story begins in summer 1751 as young David Balfour leaves the home where he grew up, following the death of his parents. Nicola Cornick's book begins in Summer 1802 as young Catriona Balfour buries her father and prepares likewise to leave her own childhood home.
This book is more of a romance than an adventure story, but many of the most enjoyable scenes in the original book, from the siege of the roundhouse to the wreck of the "Cormorant", find echoes in Nicola Cornick's book.
The development of the story, characters, romantic tension and the depiction of the beauty of Scotland are alike well done: the historial era in which the story is set, fifty one years later, is of course a little different. Instead of the aftermath of the '45 rebellion, Nicola Cornick's heroine and hero are living through the brief Peace of Amiens which punctuated the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars.
Mostly this period is well described, but there is just one significant clanger. The hero is given the rank of lieutenant commander which was not introduced into the Royal Navy until a hundred and eleven years later. (The rank was first adopted by the U.S. Navy in 1862, and the RN followed in 1914.)
This mistake aside, it is an enjoyable, well written romance. If you do enjoy it, be sure to try Stevenson's original, which is a work of genius.
When Catriona is left destitute and homeless after the deaths of both parents, she discovers her father actually had a brother! She's bookish and rather more fiery that most young women of her day, but she's very glad that she has a family to fall back on, even if it was one she never knew about before. The only downside she can see is the arrogant rogue that's sent to escort her to her new family. Why, less than 48 hours after meeting her, her's offering her carte blanche!
Sinclair will be an Earl one day, but he refuses to live the life of leisure his uncle, the Earl, demands. Instead he joined the British Navy at sixteen and has spent his years since then sowing his oats. He's captivated by Catriona's fire from the first, so when they end up kidnapped and shipwrecked together he has a devil of a time controlling his 'urges'.
I think I enjoyed the play on RLS's Kidnapped more than anything else in this book. By writing in the RLS style, it was hard for me to get a good 'feel' for the characters and their relationship. It had a more stilted tone and the hero and heroine stayed figures on paper rather than coming alive for me. The romance part of the book was definitely G-rated and the nasty plot at the end seemed more contrived to force a happy ending than something that came up naturally. But even though this one wasn't a winner, I'll continue to read Cornick's books because her normal writing style is one I enjoy.