We've got an exceptionally cheeky heroine. LOVED her. She's brass, speaks her mind, has funny thoughts, but her life is a shambles. Everyone she meets is a dickwad. Her father is dead, her mother, brother, this arsehole wants to rape her, her neighbor robs her, the town spreads rumors about her, she's homeless, hungry...good gawd, it's like...wow. How much can one person take?
But she's got Seth. Despite the fact he's a Jago and comes from house full of the meanest people that ever lived, there is something between him and Emma. But he doesn't have the balls to act on it. He's a wuss...at least in the beginning.
Then there's Matthew. I liked Matthew! He rescues Emma in more way than one.
And there's Mr. Smythe. Sometimes you'll like him, sometimes you'll hate him.
And there's a smuggling thing, corruption, barroom brawls, affairs, misunderstandings...there's no lack of drama or entertainment.
But above all, I loved Emma. Cheeky girl. Funny. Fancies starting her own business, and it's 1909.
--"You...you...foul-mouthed, bitter old woman," Emma yelled. She didn't care who heard her. "And you're a liar with it." She snatched at the catch of her carpet bag and thrust her hand in, searching out the bar of soap Matthew Caunter had just given her. "Here, take this. Wash your filthy mouth out."
--She didn't want to know what making love did to her body in case she liked it and she couldn't enough of it and ended up dead in a back alley like Sophie Ellison had done.
This was a really enjoyable read with a heroine I really liked, and the style was very Catherine Cookson (another big bonus.) Quibbles: I found some of the cruelty of some of the characters a bit over the top. I wouldn't call it a romance either as it was hard to feel it. The love was there, but it really didn't seem like they were going to get together. I also didn't quite care for the man who is the hero in the end. I'd have liked to have taken a different turn. My personal opinion.
Four bikes. I got this from the publisher.