Dense with excellent detail, this is a highly satisfying romance about Nova Scotia during the Napoleonic wars. Melodrama is at a minimum, while the accent is on evocation of everyday life...Peter McNab has inherited his father's island and manorhouse in the mouth of Halifax harbor. As laird, he has built up some healthy business in Halifax and a retinue on his island. One day a crusty old British admiral decides to use a beach on McNab Island as a display place for gibbets with condemned sailors hanging from them; passing crews on British ships will get the message. Meanwhile, a French lieutenant, Cascamnd, the man who shot Nelson at Trafalgar, is captured and interned near McNab's Island. McNab's wife decides that this fellow is just the tutor for her sons to learn French from, so he is brought to McNab Island and given a cottage to himself. McNab's ward Ellen falls in love with Cascamond, although she is engaged to an elderly Scot. When their affair is discovered, Cascamond is forced to flee and lands in prison, incognito. The rest is predictable...true love wins out. Despite its conventional storyline, the novel goes down like a dipperful of rainwater.