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The Old Cape Blood Ruby
In 1898, the Portland Gale tore across Provincetown on Cape Cod’s coast. Walter Ellis, a descendant of legendary Maria Hallett, loses his ship and fishing livelihood. Forced to leave his family behind, he seeks gold in Alaska but never returns. Present-day Nancy Caldwell travels to Alaska to visit family. She discovers an old letter destined for Provincetown but never sent. Back home on Cape Cod, a 1780s house, a hidden ‘pigeon’s blood’ ruby ring, and a past nemesis complicate Nancy’s search for what happened to the missing fisherman. Using dueling timelines between centuries, the historical fiction, The Old Cape Blood Ruby, follows Nancy as she untangles the lost message’s clues, in a quest filled with love, heartbreak, and treasure.
Plot/Idea: 9 out of 10
Originality: 10 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 8.75 out of 10

Assessment:

Plot: This richly compelling novel is a multi-generational saga and mystery with a family heirloom at its center. Ambitious in its scope, the work largely succeeds in capturing the events unfolding within two distinct places and time periods and satisfactorily ribbons the narrative threads together.

Prose/Style: Despite occasionally awkward sentence structure, the prose is generally evocative and clear. The author authentically conveys circumstances of the distant past, while modern-day events are presented vividly.

Originality: Highly original in its premise, its dual settings, and focus on the Tlingit people of Alaska, this work offers fresh appeal for fans of mystery and historical fiction.

Character Development/Execution: There are a great many characters in this novel, some quite distinct, others simply seen in passing. The relationships between individuals are not always clear, but the author excels at creating lively portraits of significant characters--notably, her protagonist-turned-sleuth whose search for clues to the past will keep readers fully invested.

Date Submitted: April 30, 2021

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