Book summary: Taking Liberties

2003 BY DIANA NORMAN

A remarkable, sparkling historical novel by the author of A Catch of Consequence.

Two women, both searching for apparently missing people, meet in the chaos of wartime Plymouth. Britain is at war with the French and the rebellious American colonies. But where the French captured by the British navy are recognized prisoners of war, the Americans are the non-combatants of their era.

Diana Stacpoole a young aristocrat recently saved by the death of her husband from a brutal marriage, is searching for the imprisoned son of a colonial friend: Makepeace Burke, a self-made woman, is looking for her daughter and companions, rescued from their destroyed ship but somehow lost on arrival in Britain.

The journey of discovery both women make through docks and prisons, government offices and brothels, palatial houses and smugglers hideaways, not only allows them to find the missing persons but also to forge an unlikely friendship and to find remarkable lovers. Finding liberty for others leads them to splendid liberty for themselves.

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