Recommended and sent to me by my reading sister Lonny, I picked up Jane Johnson's The Tenth Gift to see what had her rating it in her top five of the year so far. It's indeed an excellent read, traveling between the present day and 1625, woven together by small book of embroidery that has also been used as a journal. In the present day, Julia Lovat's erstwhile lover has broken things off and given her a parting gift, though he mistakenly gives her the far more valuable copy of a book and begins desperately to try to retrieve it. Julia becomes lost in its pages as she reads the musings of seventeenth century Cat, who longs for a life beyond her Cornish shores (and should be careful what she wishes for). While I wasn't enamored of Julia (her choices alone gave me no sympathy for her), the historical parts where Cat is taken captive by Moroccan raiders and sold into slavery were riveting. I liked the idea that these two women's lives were brought together over the centuries, but a few of the plot points were way too coincidental (though, I must admit, satisfying for a romantic). There are a few mystical elements involve as well, and while their presence is not disturbing, the novel could just as easily have done without them. Still, I did enjoy this one and would look for another book from this debut novelist.
Amazon review? Coming right up at http://www.amazon.com/review/R3PTZ6UTC8XT2U/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm. Stop by and vote if you get a chance.