The Trader’s Reward (The Trader’s) by Anna Jacobs
Review copy provided by publisher
Hodder & Stoughton, April 2014
Synopsis- The final book in the Traders series.
When Fergus Deagan’s wife dies, leaving him to care for their small children, he doesn’t know how to manage. He’s always been envious of his older brother Bram’s good fortune but now he reluctantly knows he needs his help, and sets off with his family for Western Australia. When he gets there, he finds that the problems with Bram’s ice-making venture are threatening to ruin his brother. Can Fergus help find a solution and make amends with Bram at last?
Review- I am quite a fan of Anna Jacob’s historical novels with characters that often start out in the UK and find themselves a place to call home in Western Australia’s Swan River Colony during the 1800’s. In the final segment of ‘The Trader’s Series’ Bram brings out his younger brother Fergus Deagan to join his emigrated family.
Fergus’ wife dies in childbirth leaving their newborn daughter fighting to survive. With his hands full with two young sons and grieving the loss of his wife, he employs a wet nurse to bear the responsibility of caring for his daughter. As the result of a rape Cara Payton falls pregnant but to her dismay bears a stillborn baby. Already exiled from her family, wet nurse position at the Deagan household is her last desperate attempt to make a life for herself. Fergus and Cara form a slow-building friendship based on the mutual companionship they offer one another. At the same time Fergus has to submit to the last promise he made his wife- to find a mother for their daughter and to remarry within the year.
The opportunity to migrate to Australia with the financial support of Bram takes them across the globe to create a new family together. Cara forms a strong bond with the baby and learns to love Fergus. I can’t say this story is really a romance, but Cara and Fergus do develop a romantic relationship that builds upon a marriage of friendship. To be honest, I felt the whole story was quite slow-building and it did lack some element of suspense or momentum. So in some way I suppose The Trader’s Reward’s main aim was to tie up all the loose ends in the series before Jacob’s said goodbye to the rather large family she has created in these stories. While I wasn’t completely enthralled in the story, I too was happy to see things tied up and overall it was a pleasant read.
The Trader’s series is a spin-off from Jacobs’ original Lancashire series. While I haven’t enjoyed The Trader’s series quite as much as I’d liked, I have enjoyed seeing Bram’s family in Australia expand and how they all connect and find home in the Swan River Colony.
“It was okay”
The Trader’s Reward can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers
This book was read as part of the AWW2014 challenge: