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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dark romantic mystery on a knife edge throughout, 14 July 2014
By 
Tony Spencer (Yateley, Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Dark Night (Kindle Edition)
On dark nights in Regency England, the smugglers operate their business on the North East Kent coast. Meanwhile, Customs & Excise try to thwart their plans, confiscate the brandy, silk and other luxuries, and hang or exile the culprits to the other side of the world.

In the midst of this world, 19-year-old Lucy Yorton struggles, as a farm servant, to earn a living wage to support herself and her mother. Until seven years earlier, her father was butler and her mother housekeeper in service to a generous Baronet. Lucy had benefited from an education as companion to Dougie, the son and heir of the wealthy landowner. Lucy and Dougie accidentally overhear the Baronet and her mother discuss the growing impropriety of the arrangement. Lucy realises that she will soon be separated from her childhood friend.

At dead of night, Lucy and her mother, Annie, sneak away from her father and comfort of Faefersham Court, to a mean cottage near Merrygate on the tip of the Estuary and the Channel. Annie pretends to be a widow and Lucy is warned not to divulge any of their past. Lucy secures a farm servant’s position at a tiny coastal farm that can barely scrape a living.

This is an enjoyable and thoroughly recommended read, a romantic thriller mystery that maintains its knife edge tension through to the last page. There is action, violence, danger and threats to Lucy's life. It is impossible to trust anyone and Lucy seems powerless to influence the events which threaten to ruin her future. As the story unfolds, an interesting cast of entertaining characters emerge, like Martha, Bodger, the Vicar, even pets like Scat the ratter cat and the faithful dog Josh, none of whom disappoint.

Anna Faversham captures the flavour of the period perfectly, making it easy for the reader to become fully immersed in the period. It is a time of hardship, the long series of wars against the French long over but the return of ex-soldiers and sailors has depressed wages, parishes cannot raise sufficient local taxes to support the old, crippled and underemployed, the Workhouses filled to capacity. Miscreants are dealt with harshly, with offenders exiled, now that the American Colonies are no longer available as sink pits for the unfortunate or antisocial. Begging, petty theft, smuggling and deliberate wrecking are rife on the north Kent/Thames Estuary coast where "One Dark Night" is set. The black economy depends on smuggling and Kent's proximity to the Continent increases its profile in this regard. Charged with stopping this tax evasion, Revenue Officers step up their efforts to close down the smugglers' increasingly violent operations, led by the darkly vengeful Lieutenant Karl Thorsen.

The main mystery is that Lucy is penniless, outgrowing her old clothes to the point of shame, while her mother lives in relative comfort. Why did they have to swap their comfortable arrangements for this? Clearly well-educated and soft-handed despite dressed in rags, Lucy is regarded suspiciously as a revenue spy by locals, including her employers. Now the farmer's son Daniel Tynton, who has a reputation for romancing local wenches and apparently betrothed to another, returns to visit after several years' absence, determined to add Lucy to his list of conquests.

As well as hiding her origins, Lucy has other secrets, knowing where her employer and a mysterious naval man have buried what is possibly a body, on the beach. She's also witness to a murder, but has no idea how she can use her knowledge of either without risking her life.

On the day Farmer Tynton fires Lucy, Lt Thorsen appoints her as his housekeeper in the Customs watch tower, where she meets the delightful Martha, the cook. Although her circumstances have improved by this change, the naive and self-effacing Lucy is bewildered by the mixed messages she is receiving from the men in her life, as well as the intrigues of Excise men, smugglers, pirates, even the rector and his wife exerting their influences on her. She has to make up her mind which of her suitors to give her heart to, while uncertain whether such commitment will lead to love, convenience or misery. At every turn of events, she is confused about where her own heart lies.

Soon, the smugglers and revenue men have their day of reckoning and Lucy is caught up in the midst of it and her life in danger. Great story, complex, interesting, with engaging characters, well worth reading, especially as on offer for 99p at the moment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable book, 20 July 2014
By 
Ignite (East Yorkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Dark Night (Kindle Edition)
Lucy is brought up in a wealthy household with the owner’s son, Dougie. Her mother is housekeeper and her father the butler. Once the young people reach their teens, they are separated and her mother takes Lucy to live away from her roots. Their cottage is by the coast and there is smuggling in the area, attracting the attention of the revenue men. Two men with very different backgrounds and intentions fall for Lucy as she grown from a shy child into a young woman.

The story is quite fast moving and we are not given the ‘romantic’ view of smugglers here but see the deaths resulting from their activities and their run-ins with the authorities. We also see the devastating effects upon their families left without a breadwinner. Lucy attains her true destiny and chooses between her two suitors. The writing is good and nicely paced but I felt, for me, the book could have ended at 90%. The last 10% tied off the ends and finished the individual characters’ stories but I never mind a few loose ends. I can use my imagination then! In spite of that little whinge, this is an enjoyable book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One Dark Night, 17 July 2014
By 
Joo "kuforum" (Wales, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Dark Night (Kindle Edition)
Lucy starts her life in early 19th Century Eastern England in a good home as her mother is a maid to a well-to-do family, but they have to leave to a life of poverty. Well for Lucy anyway and her mother takes all the money she earns. As she blossoms into late teenage, Lucy find herself the centre of attention of two eligible men who hate each other.

This tale of life in the times of smuggling depicts how hard it is to survive unless you get a chance. Lucy needs to make a choice, but which should she choose. As a reader I knew which one I wanted her to go with and at times was annoyed that nobody ever gave their true intentions. But that seems to be the way it was in those days. You could wait a few months before finding out the punchline of a joke.

I enjoyed this story even if I though Lucy was a bit child-like at times. There was enough romance and smuggling action and drama to keep me interested and wanting to read on.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!, 7 Aug 2014
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This review is from: One Dark Night (Kindle Edition)
A great read! I love all the historical detail and I learnt much about smugglers. It's fast paced, and it really grips you until the end. The characters are very well portrayed. I was sorry to finish the book, always the sign of a good story. I've read both of Anna's books (the other one being Hide in Time) and I liked this one even better than the first. I shall look forward to reading more by this author!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This one kept me up late to finish it!, 30 July 2014
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This review is from: One Dark Night (Kindle Edition)
Who would have thought that I would like historical, but throw in smugglers, a pretty girl and young men ( more than one) and you have a cracking adventure. Set on the coast of Kent with veiled clues as to the real beaches and coves involved, it spins along.
A very good second novel from Anna Faversham.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, 14 Aug 2014
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This review is from: One Dark Night (Kindle Edition)
It was a very enjoyable read - a lovely romance, great descriptions of the countryside and seaside, and good development of the characters. I finished it too quickly!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, 20 Sep 2014
By 
Scorpio (Plymouth, Devon UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: One Dark Night (Kindle Edition)
Well written and an enjoyable read. I really cared what happened to the folk and how their tale played out.
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One Dark Night
One Dark Night by Anna Faversham
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