The Tenth Gift

The Tenth Gift

A Novel

Book - 2008
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In an expensive London restaurant Julia Lovat receives a gift that will change her life. It appears to be a book of exquisite 17th-century embroidery patterns but on closer examination Julia finds it also contains faint diary entries. In these, Cat Tregenna, an embroideress, tells how she and others were stolen out of a 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 story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia discovers buried secrets. And in Morocco-just as Cat did before her-she loses her heart. Almost 400 years apart, the stories of the two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that will make readers wonder-is history fated to repeat itself?
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2008.
ISBN: 9780385665001
Characteristics: 390 p. ;,25 cm.
Alternative Title: 10th gift


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ontherideau May 13, 2019

Historical fiction to capture the imagination. Ms Johnson's life story and the reason she wrote The Tenth Gift add credibility. My knowledge of world religion has been expanded.

Aug 05, 2015

I really enjoyed my reading of The Tenth Gift by Jane Johnson. The story swings back and forth between two women, Julia in modern times and Catherine from the year 1625. Both stories were interesting and although neither would have fully sustained a book on their own, this blend worked.

I felt the contrast between the two women could have been more defined. For all her modern ways, Julia didn’t seem that different from Catherine, who, in turn, seemed a little too “with-it” to be a totally credible 17th Century woman. I would have liked both these characters to have been a little more developed. Overall however, The Tenth Gift was a fast-paced, highly readable story that shines a light on a little known piece of history.

StratfordLibrary Mar 03, 2015

"After 400 yrs still reading of piracy and Muslims and Christians warring with each other." - Blind Date with a Book 2015 comment

Mar 16, 2013

I absolutely loved this book, written in the present and the past. The English and Moroccan settings are wonderful, and the characters are fascinating. Couldn't put it down, as with all her books.

Mar 03, 2013

Julia, the young woman protagonist, receives a parting gift from her lover – a small book of embroidery that is from the 1600s. An avid embroiderer herself, she finds a hidden diary written amongst the patterns. The reader is soon whisked through time to learn of the diarist’s adventures as a kidnapped slave in Morocco while Julia tries to finds out what happened by travelling to Africa to find the truth. Her ex-lover has nefarious reasons of his own to get his hand on the book, and soon follows her. It is as if the two lives, centuries apart, combine into this wonderful tale.

Nov 19, 2011

Loved this book! It took me a few chapters to get into it, but then I could barely put it down! Really liked the historical parts about Morocco and Cornwall. Also the parallel of Julia's and Catherine's lives.

Oct 02, 2011

My first delve into the pirates and corsairs of the Barbary Coast and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Parts of it were definately predictable, as previously noted, but still a good read and I found the information about the slave trade "into" Africa very interesting.

May 03, 2011

Historical romance about an area and time not generally well known. I liked the contrast between the times. The 1625 Catherine wants more from life than her time and circumstance would seem to allow. The modern Julia is doing nothing with her life even though she has all of the opportunity that money and women’s liberation has provided. This book is a little predictable for my taste. I enjoyed the tour of Morocco Julia took us on. I did like the very ending in the attic. It really worked for me.

Sep 01, 2010

Excellent book, great writing imaginative storyline. I couldn't put it down

May 01, 2010

In the present day, Julia is given an embroidery book and diary of a young girl kidnapped in 1625 in Cornwall and taken to Morocco as a slave. As Julia reads Catherine's story, she discovers that their lives are intertwined, and that her own life will be changed by the encounter. Combining history, romance, art, tragedy and a hint of the supernatural, this is a great novel.

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DanniOcean Jun 15, 2009

In modern day England, Cornish craftswoman Julia Lovat is given a seventeenth-century book of embroidery patterns as a consolation prize when her lover dumps her. Although broken-hearted, Julia is spellbound when she discovers a journal in tiny handwriting between the patterns; the diary of a young woman of Penzance in Cornwall named Catherine Anne Tregana, who became a captive slave to the “Sallee Rovers”, the corsairs of Sale.
As Julia follows Catherine’s journey to Morocco and self-discovery, she follows her own journey – she is pursued by her ex-lover who realizes the book’s material worth, and reconnects with her oldest friends as she races to find out if Catherine’s story is true. What she finds are connections to her own past – and to her future. Part historical fiction, part mystery, part ghost story, Crossed Bones is a fascinating story about a little-known era in British and Moroccan history.

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