by Sharon K. Garner

October 2003
ISBN: 0-7599-4134-3
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The Spaniard’s Cross by Sharon K. Garner is a fast read that entertains and educates. Beginning with the arrival of American Ellie Jaymes, the reader is introduced to Cornwall, a magical region in Great Britain.

Ellie has gone to meet Trevor Sinclair, a man with whom she has corresponded for eighteen years. Since they began writing to each other as children, they literally grew up together through letters, developing a bond that only deepened as they got older. However, they’ve never met.

Ellie’s purpose in going to meet Trev now is three-fold: to heal emotionally from a near-fatal car crash, to act as public relations director when Trev opens his family home as a B & B, and to discover if the love she feels for him on paper exists when they’re face to face. Trevor knows of the first two reasons for her visit because he invited her, but he’s not aware of her feelings. Neither is she aware of the love he harbors for her.

Mystery is introduced very quickly when Trev reveals that his first paying guest at the house is arriving the next day—before the house opens for business — and that it’s a Spaniard. He seems troubled, but won’t tell Ellie why. When Sebastian Reynaldos arrives, she meets a very handsome, commanding man. While she’s examining him, he does a little looking himself, and it becomes pretty obvious that he likes what he sees. At dinner, something else becomes obvious. Reynaldos isn’t visiting the Cornish coast for his health. He’s looking for something, and is deadly serious about getting it.

Trevor shows Ellie later what the prize is: a gold cross encrusted with rubies, hanging on a gold chain. Originally, it was the property of a young Spanish sailor rescued by a Cornish girl when his ship in the Armada sunk off the coast. He gave the cross to his rescuer after they fell in love and married, and before he returned to Spain. It’s been a Sinclair family treasure ever since, carefully hidden and deeply valued. Unfortunately for Trev — and thus for Ellie — Reynaldos believes the cross to be his family’s. The conflict and action revolve around that discrepancy.

The Spaniard’s Cross is well-told and enjoyable to read. Ellie and Trevor were totally believable, as was the situation in which they found themselves. Sebastian Reynaldos was picture perfect as the handsome but dangerous man, who would do anything to get what he wanted. The descriptions of Cornwall, and the smuggling and tin mining the region is famous for, were made a vital part of the story. Even though this isn’t a true “who-done-it,” it was still interesting to see how the pieces were going to fit together. The cliffs of Cornwall, old legends, secret passages, fiery gold and blazing rubies, and a hint of past lives and loves coming together again, all play their parts in this interesting tale.

If you’re looking for a bit of English countryside to explore through a fun and quick story, this book is worth picking up.

Reviewed in December 2003 by Kris.

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