The Tenth Gift
By Jane Johnson
(Crown, Hardcover, 9780307405227, 400pp.)
Publication Date: May 6, 2008
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The art of embroidery uncannily links two fascinating women of different eras and their equally passionate love stories
In an expensive London restaurant, Julia Lovat receives a gift that will change her life. At first glance it is a book of exquisite seventeenth-century embroidery patterns belonging to a woman named Catherine Ann Tregenna. Yet in its margins are the faintest diary entries; they reveal that “Cat” and others were stolen from their Cornish church in 1625 by Muslim pirates and taken on a brutal voyage to Morocco to be auctioned off as slaves. Captivated by this dramatic discovery, Julia sets off to North Africa to determine the authenticity of the book and to uncover more of Cat’s mesmerizing story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia will discover buried secrets. And in Morocco—just as Cat did before her—she will lose her heart.
Set almost 400 years apart, the stories of these two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that will make readers wonder—is history fated to repeat itself?
A literary mystery, historical adventure, and dual love story, The Tenth Gift literally crosses genres with narrative ease and prose that is as captivating as the characters who people this unforgettable tale.
JANE JOHNSON is the Publishing Director at HarperCollins UK. While she was researching the story of an ancestor stolen by pirates, remarkable events changed her life. She now works remotely for part of the year from a Berber village in the mountains of Morocco.
“A remarkable view of Barbary pirates and their times, and an engrossing romance of clashing cultures and wonderful characters.”
—Diana Gabaldon, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“This is such a lush book! It transported me to another time and other places, enticing me into an exotic, turbulent world in which past and present are seamlessly woven into a mesmerizing story.”
—India Edghill, author of Wisdom’s Daughter
“What a tangled web Jane Johnson weaves with the opening of a book of old embroidery patterns! Two heroines cross paths across centuries. Unworthy lovers, treachery, ghosts, and pirates march through the streets and seas of modern day England, 17th century Cornwall, and Morocco as each woman tries to find what is most important to her. Discovering one’s authenticity is a story in which time doesn’t matter, and Johnson stitches the threads of both stories into a lovely, enticing whole.”
—Karleen Koen, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Angels
“I was totally enthralled from the first page to the last by this dramatic, exotic, and passionate tale that slips seamlessly through time. Jane Johnson’s wonderfully researched book leaves the fragrance of spices and the rustle of beautiful silks lingering in the mind with images of two exceptional women and the men in their lives.”
—Rosalind Laker, author of The Golden Tulip
"A gripping historical mystery based on historical fact. A sensuous, richly-textured novel."
—Rebecca Stott, author of Ghostwalk
"Exciting, intriguing, fascinating and also illuminating."
—Rosalind Miles, bestselling author of I, Elizabeth
"Brings to life a forgotten part of England's past: the capture of inhabitants of the southern coast by Barbary corsairs in the early sixteen hundreds. Rich with detail, wonderfully researched, this is a novel that will surprise and delight."
—Gerri Brightwell, author of The Dark Lantern