REVIEW: The Cockermouth Mail by Dinah Dean (aka Marjorie May)
For those interested in trying Dinah Dean who don’t want to pay a fortune for her Russian set Regency books, this is one that was reissued in the US and which is easier (and cheaper) to find. It’s a sweet, more old fashioned type of book (it was written in 1982) and is set entirely outside of London with no Season what so ever in it.
Miss Dorcas Minster is traveling to her new position at a remote household in the English Lake District. Her father, a baronet, fell into drink and gambling and ended his life when his debts grew too large, leaving her to make her way in the world as a governess. There are several other interesting people with her on the Mail Coach to Cockermouth and they all get a chance to know each other better when the coach is waylaid by a snowy accident, leaving them all stranded at a small inn.
By far the most interesting traveler is Sir Richard Severall, a Colonel in the Dragoons who has been invalided out of the Peninsular Army. He’s immediately attracted to Dorcas but feels that he can’t approach her due to the fact that she has no male family member with her and the belief that she wouldn’t be interested in a man with a game leg.
Their slow, quiet courtship occurs over a period of days until the snow melts and they can travel on to their destinations. There is a subplot with a highwayman they all help to catch and take to justice but the main part of the story is two lonely people learning that there just might be someone interested in them and then having the courage to try for love.
The description of the country inn, the early 19th C English celebration of Christmas and finely detailed secondary characters make this a soothing, excellent read. B