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Bridles Lane (West Country Trilogy #1)

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Cornwall, England. 1740.

They say only the brave ride Bridles Lane at night.

Vicar Richard Dodge speaks of ghosts and demons, conducting elaborate exorcisms in his churchyard overlooking the lane. And with the villagers sheltering in fear, local smugglers carry their haul up the road to be hidden in the safety of the church.

Isaac and Scarlett Bailey have spent their live
Kindle Edition, 306 pages
Published May 24th 2018
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4.29  · 
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 ·  34 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Jul 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If the beautiful cover on this book attracts you - buy it! Black threatening skies, crashing waves, rocky shoreline and a mysterious young woman, probably where she shouldn't be - that sums up the tone of the story based around the Cornish coastline, pretty well!
If you like historical fiction written in a way that draws you into the story so you see events unfolding as if you were there, then this is the book for you.
I loved the plot and characters and the eerie atmosphere of mistrust and ancien
Angela Lockwood
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
This is the third book I read by Johanna Craven and like her other books it is meticulously researched. She has set her story in 1740’s cornwall , a time when taxes where high and smuggling therefore rife. We are introduced to Isaac Bailey and his much younger sister Scarlet. After the death of his parents, Isaac does not only have to care for his sister but also has to pay of his father’s debt. The writer has put her characters in some desperate situations and they don’t always take the noblest ...more
Allen M Werner
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Inspired by true events, author Johanna Craven has spun a historically chilling tale of lies, manipulation, religion, superstition, smuggling, shipwrecks and debt in 18th century Cornwall.
Orphan Scarlett Bailey is delivered from a children's home by Isaac, an older brother she didn't know she had. Raised in a superstitious community where shipwrecks and smuggling go hand-in-hand, Scarlett grows, and despite being fueled by an anger she calls The Wild, she saves the life of an injured sailor, Ash
K.J. Simmill
Isaac returned home to find his families' graves had expanded further, he thought he was alone, until he heard of his sister, Scarlett, at the children home. He planned to leave her, thinking she would have a better life than he could offer, and yet he took her home. The problem about returning to his father's land was he also obtained his debts, debts that were to be repaid via smuggling. Scarlett helped where she could, but on the night the dead ship arrives on the beach, things take a turn. E ...more
Gordon Bickerstaff
Sep 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended

I've read 'Forgotten Places' and 'The Devil and the Depp Blue Sea', so I new this would be a well-written and well-researched historical fiction story. It is set in the mid-18th Century in Cornwall, SE England where life is hard and the burdens of family push the main protagonist to the edge. The author successfully brings the location with all the idiosyncrasies of the time and the people to life. The plot is well-crafted and as usual the narrative follows smoothly. Scenes are
Jun 21, 2018 marked it as to-read
Shelves: freebies
💝FREE on Amazon today (6/21/2018)!💝
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
I received this book for free. I am voluntarily leaving this review and all opinions expressed herein are my own.

I have not read any of this author's books but what a great introduction by way of this book. It is the first book in the series West Country Trilogy. It is not a standalone story and ends with many threads of the story unresolved.

This story is loosely based on a true historical event. Here, Isaac comes home to find both of his parents deceased and a sister Scarlett in the orphanage.
Michael Kelly
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another cracking historical novel from Johanna Craven, this time the first in a trilogy dealing with smugglers and superstition in old Cornwall.

Firstly, the characters are pleasingly multi-layered, revealing new aspects to themselves as the plot unfolds and we - and the other characters - get to know them better. The character around whom the narrative turns is Scarlett, who idolises her brother, though even he turns out to have moral grey areas as the story unfolds. Fine, upstanding folk are sh
This tale set in Cornwall draws on the tales of smugglers, sailing the high seas and evading the Revenue men as they bring their contraband back to land.

Scarlett Bailey and her older brother Isaac are in the thick of the free trade as smuggling is known, shackled to it by their father's debts to the head smuggling honcho in the area. One night, a ship wrecks in the bay below their village and Scarlett plucks a sole survivor from the doomed ship.

The man she saves is a liar and a fantasist, suff
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-groups
As I was reading this story, so much of it sounded as if it had been something I'd read before, yet different as well. I think this is due to the fact I had read some historical accounts, perhaps even the ones the author used as the basis of this story. Even so, I found it completely engaging, with many surprises thrown in along the journey.

I was especially engrossed in the the mix of old and new beliefs (for the time period) that was so much of the background of this story--beliefs that made p
Ellie Midwood
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Johanna Craven is one of my favorite historical fiction writers and I couldn’t be more excited about this newest release of hers! Her writing is always so vivid and powerful that it places you right in the middle of the action, where ships wreck and mysterious strangers are found amongst the debris; where curses seem to still have their power over people, and pirates’ treasures aren’t a fruit of one’s imagination. Scarlett was a wonderful central character - strong, willful, and determined; but ...more
Madeleine Holly-Rosing
In the harsh Cornwall countryside of the mid-1700s, Scarlett lives with her brother and his wife as they struggle against poverty and living under the boot of a smuggler. Their story intertwines with Flora, a would-be inn keeper and healer, whose husband died in a cave-in several years earlier. When Scarlett rescues the sole survivor of a doomed ship, all the secrets, lies, and betrayals come to a head in this small English village.

I enjoyed this story. The characters were well-developed and I f
Joey Paul
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book by Ms Craven. Starting the story with a ship crashing into port seemingly empty, the tales of what happened aboard changing through different persepctives and Scarlett seemingly the heroine even as the story continues and you start to suspect there's something more to the man aboard. Even then you don't get the full story until the final climax which packs a punch, completely out of nowhere and a brilliant end to the first in a trilogy. I adored the writing, the history, ...more
Lucinda Clarke
Jun 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Having Read Music from Standing Waves some time ago, I knew I was in for a treat when I noticed another book by Craven. Reminiscent of Frenchman’s Creek, this is a story of smuggling in Cornwell centuries ago. The plot was excellent with satisfying twists and turns, the characters lived vividly and the writing flowed seamlessly. I particularly liked the addition of the superstitious beliefs held at that time. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it is well worth the 5 sta
B.J. Tiernan
Sep 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Since Halloween is soon approaching, BRIDLES LANE may be the perfect book to pick up. An abandoned mystery ship, curses, smugglers, graveyards and elaborate exorcisms are served up in this dark and haunting tale that is filled with interesting characters, dialogue and a tight writing style that keeps your undivided attention. Taking place in Cornwall, England in the 1740's, the atmosphere and vivid descriptions are guaranteed to raise those little bumps on your arms. I highly recommend this exhi ...more
Pamela Canepa
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is such an intense, involving read. Bridles Lane is a tale of smugglers, secrets, and a harbour town that may be harboring ghosts! There is danger and suspense in this historical fiction story. The dialogue is intriguing and revealing, as the plot moves forward to unravel many family and town secrets. I ejoyed this book and couldn't help but sympathize with its flawed characters. Though the ending was a little bit of a cliffhanger, I still found it to be a satisfying conclusion to this inst ...more
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I discovered this author! This is a wonderful book, and I look forward to reading more in the series. The characters are interesting, realistic, and believable, and the setting of a small harbor town is mysterious and unique. I got hooked from the very beginning when I read about a woman who risked her own life to enter a shipwreck and pull out a wounded man. And that's just the beginning. What follows is a well-crafted tale of contraband hidden in a church, superstitions, and compli ...more
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
This storyline is up there with one of my favorite smuggler tales (Daphne DuMaurier's Jamaica's Inn)....It's a cauldron of dark, fast-moving twisted plotlines, romance and superstitious witch-hunting. The author writes in an easy-to-read style fleshing out the characters, their dialogue and the surroundings beautifully. If you have several 'me' hours you might want to indulge yourself with this book.
Kate Everward
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you love historical fiction, the blurb will be enough to captivate you. But don’t stop there. Craven’s writing is incredibly powerful and intense. If you love also watching historical fiction like I do, you’ll find you can actually see the story in your mind and feel it in your soul. The descriptions are so vivid they give you goosebumps and your heart just beats fast. It’s an atmosphere that exists in that era and it takes a lot of talent to be able to express it.
Kat Drennan
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic! This novel is lyrical and mesmerizing, tempestuous as the sea. Craven takes you into a world of 1740 Cornwall England with brilliant characters, ghostly myth, and the darkness and yearnings of human hearts. The atmosphere hunkers over you like a brooding desire and the ending make you want more. West Country Trilogy promises to be Craven's masterpiece.
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully writen story of a shipwreck, a rescue and what it leads to in a small village.It makes you feel as thou you are there! Rebecca McKernan was an excellent narrator.I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.
Fay D
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it

Great story with plenty of depth too it's writing and characters. Interesting take on smugglers and village life back in those days. Looking forward to reading more books
Joyce M. Moulden
rated it liked it
Jan 29, 2019
Robin Fitch
rated it liked it
Dec 28, 2018
rated it did not like it
Jan 01, 2019
Bruce Polkinghorne
It is both an interesting story and an insight to how life might have been in a time and place that goes largely unreported. History tends to focus on the lives of the rich and famous, not the masses trying to go about their normal lives. While there are plenty of stories about the gentry living in their manors, there is less about the masses who struggle to survive in a world still governed by the old beliefs and superstitions.

This story is set among a community of sea faring smugglers. People'
Connie Ferguson
rated it really liked it
Jan 28, 2019
Marcelle Cole
rated it liked it
Jan 06, 2019
Don Robins
rated it it was amazing
Jan 26, 2019
rated it really liked it
May 21, 2019
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New release 'The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea' out now from Endeavour Press.

Johanna Craven is an Australian-born writer of historical and contemporary fiction. She is also a film composer, music teacher and pianist. She has lived in Melbourne and Los Angeles and is currently based in London.

Her more questionable hobbies include ghost hunting, meditative dance and pretending to be a competito