Most helpful positive review
Romance, Suspense And the History Of The Steam Locomotive!!
on January 24, 2004
Penelope Williamson mixes romance and history in this novel set in Cornwall during the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. McCady Trelawny, the novel's dark brooding hero, is the latest Earl of Caerhays. He is seemingly destined to self destruct, as did all his ancestors, though strong drink, gambling and other vices. Unlike his relatives, McCady's vice is an obsession to invent the first steam locomotive to run on rails. He has recently returned to England from fighting at Waterloo and the former captain, who made it through the war, almost blows himself up during a failed experiment with a small steam engine. A teenage girl, a wild child of the Cornish coast, destined to become a beautiful lady, attempts to rescue him but he rebuffs her assistance. Jessalyn Letty, who insists that McCady call her Miss Letty, is not easily deterred, however. And she is absolutely fascinated with the Earl, who she believes is a kindred soul. She contrives to meet him at fairs, along the beach, and occasionally ventures into his "laboratory," making a pest of herself. He, in turn, stops thinking of her as a child and begins to see her as the woman she will become.
Trelawny leaves Cornwall for a few years to serve in the military in the West Indies. When he returns, Jessalyn has turned into the lovely, sympathetic woman she promised to become, and is engaged to her childhood sweetheart, an acquaintance of Trelawny's. She loves this man, a wealthy banker, but only as a friend. Trelawny's reappearance on the scene convinces her that she must break her engagement.
"Once In A Blue Moon" takes some surprising twists and turns, with attempted murder, jealous rage, betrayal, sabotage, and a passionate love story, all set against the backdrop of getting that steam locomotive on the rails and running. I thoroughly enjoyed the story. It's an interesting light read. The steam locomotive part is based on historical fact. In 1804 a Cornishman made the 1st locomotive to run on rails and as early as 1801 Parliament had already passed an act establishing the principle of a public railway.