REVIEW: The Cockermouth Mail by Dinah Dean
Snowed-in for Christmas!
The penniless orphan of a disgraced Baronet, Miss Dorcas Minster catches the Mail coach north to work as a governess. Her traveling companions are very jolly, but on Christmas Eve the coach breaks down in thick snow and Dorcas finds herself walking back to the inn with kind and gruff Sir Richard Severall, a Colonel in the Dragoons.
She’s shocked when, caught in the freezing weather, Sir Richard kisses her! Rescue, safety, and warmth at the inn brings new perils: Sir Richard insists on loaning her money, but what will he want in return? And there’s a highwayman at large who they suspect is one of their companions…
Though the snowbound inn is full of friendship, good food, and laughter, Dorcas’ future is bleak. If only she could stay in the inn—and with Sir Richard—forever…
This is one that was reissued in the US and which used to be easier (and cheaper) to find than Dean’s Russian series. 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