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Summary

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 lives hiding contraband in Talland church. Forced into free trade by their father's mistakes, they want nothing more than to escape the smuggling syndicate and build a life above the law. 

On the other side of Bridles Lane, Flora Kelly has grown up in the shadow of her mother, the village charmer. Sceptical of her mother's craft, Flora reopens her family's tavern, determined that her life will not be one of fortune telling and herbal lore. 

When a seemingly abandoned ship is wrecked in Talland Bay, it sparks a wave of hysteria among the superstitious villagers. Faith in the vicar wavers and Flora feels herself drawn to the controversial old ways of her mother. Among growing unrest, the mystery of the wrecked ship deepens, unearthing long-forgotten secrets that will tear a village - and a family - apart.   

Inspired by true events, 'Bridles Lane' is the first book in the West Country Trilogy, from the author of Forgotten Places and The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

©2018 Johanna Craven (P)2018 Johanna Craven

What listeners say about Bridles Lane

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Reminiscent of a Movie

Bridles Lane by Johanna Craven brought back many childhood memories of watching a Disney movie regarding smuggling. I could envision so many details with the vivid imagery in this story. I was immediately pulled into this book, and found the unexpected twists to be well done. The narration by Rebecca McKernan was spot in. She gave appropriate emotions for the various scenes, and had distinguished voices for the numberous characters. I requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I would definitely listen to more books by this author and narrator. This book is a standalone listen and the beginning of a series.

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  • William Cady
  • 17-05-20

Bridles Lane

I received a review copy of this audiobook.

The story was interesting and engaging. The characters felt nuanced. The story presents an interesting perspective on the interaction of Faith & Science.

The narration of the audio was too tense for my taste. The effect was similar to a monotone reading, in that everything had the same emotional impact.

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  • Janeleadfoot
  • 27-04-20

wicked!

Bridles Lane is both terrible and beautiful. An unyielding foreboding runs throughout the story . Written with skill and care for a time that was. I could clearly visualize the wild cornish coast and village. The language was lovely and powerful.
I grew to appreciate the narrator and listened at 1.05x
I look forward to listening to the next book in the series.
I was given this book at my request and am voluntary leaving a review.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 04-11-19

Bridles Lane

I enjoyed the story. It was well written and researched. However, the narrator ruined the experience for me. I found her delivery to be bombastic and utterly lacking in nuance. She seemed to be spitting out every sentence rather than speaking it. Listening to her was exhausting.

I received a free code for an honest review.

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  • Listener
  • 23-07-19

Good historical story

I was given this book by the narrator,author or publisher free for an honest review.

Rebecca McKernan did a great job in the narration of this story.

Good historical story, with some twists and turns along the way.

However, I did find that the story jumped around quite a bit and I had to go back and relisten to a few chapters.

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  • RS 🌹
  • 19-07-19

Smugglers, treasure on the high seas & history!

I loved this first installment of the West Country Trilogy! The story called the Daphne DuMaurier classic Jamaica Inn to mind for me. This novel reminded me of it in so many ways, yet the characters are as complex as DuMaurier‘s in their own right, have different and sometimes really surprising motivations, mysterious backgrounds and overall it’s an intriguing tale filled with twists and turns. Everyone is hiding a secret (or two, or three or four!) and I had a hard time pausing this book for any reason. I cannot wait to read the next installment and find out where Scarlet leads us!

Until now (after finishing the book, LOL!) I learned that this was based on historical events, which makes the next installment even more exciting to look forward to.

One little blip I feel I should mention: At first I found the audio quality could have been a bit better on this audiobook, but as I moved beyond the first chapter I never gave it a second thought, so I decided it was me being picky and wouldn’t subtract any points for performance or sound quality. The narrator, Rebecca McKernan, does a wonderful job with all of the voices, and she relates this super-suspenseful story with a flair that matches the action of the book.

I really enjoyed this book. Johanna Craven has laid out a batch of characters who will surprise you by their motivations, behaviors, and outcomes of their actions, and the story is well thought out and played out. I am really excited to get to the next book, and enjoyed this first book very much. I am hooked!

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.




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  • Kindle Customer
  • 11-07-19

Nice Historical Fiction

I enjoyed listening to this tale of a fishing village, pirates, shipwrecks and buried treasure. I must admit it took me a little while to get into the story as it is told completely in 3rd person. This is just my own personal taste and others may not even notice since the narrator does a good job. I'm glad I stuck with it as I soon became immersed in the tale. I received this book free of charge so that I would write an honest review.

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  • Laura
  • 26-02-19

Wonderful Historical Tale Based on True Event

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. With no means to care for her, he briefly contemplates leaving her behind. But instead, Isaac takes Scarlett home and is forced to make difficult decisions to care for his family - not always on the right side of the law. One night a ship washes ashore. Some of the villagers gather to plunder the ship. However, they soon discover that the ship has no crew and barely any goods to take. However, Scarlett finds an injured man on the ship. She sneaks him off the ship to nurse him back to health. This man tells Scarlett about a treasure to be found and she agrees to help him find it. But, since the ship's arrival, things have started to change in the village and the villagers believe they have been cursed. What happened to the crew of the ship? Is there truly a treasure and does Scarlett's father have anything to do with it?

I really liked the village setting and the hysteria which develops, in part thanks to the Vicar. The interactions between Scarlett and Isaac made you feel like you were eavesdropping on real family dynamics. The author's manner of writing - short descriptive sentences, some just a word or two long - added to the tension/suspense of the story. I can't wait for the next book in the series.

The narrator, Rebecca McKernan, did a very good job. The only slight ditraction - She has [or uses] an Irish accent, which a few times caused me to misunderstand what she said. For the entire story, I thought Scarlett's name was Charlotte due to pronunciation.

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  • Layla
  • 13-02-19

Historical

The narrator in my opinion did not suit this audiobook. The book is interesting and there is a lot of drama.

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  • Manuel
  • 05-02-19

good enough read

the storey took to long, In my opinion to develop, and the story jumped around a but to much as well, but a good book

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  • Erin S
  • 20-01-19

Great book, leaves me wanting to read Book 2

I enjoyed Ms. Craven's story of the village of Talland, set in Cornwall in the mid-1700s. There are well-developed characters, and the storyline is intriguing. The details of the villagers' past are nicely woven into the current time, when a shipwreck sets a chain of events into motion which begins to upend the way of life that the villagers have been used to for decades. There are multiple main characters introduced, and I was drawn in to their lives, both as individuals, and how they interact with each other. The steadfast vicar, shepherding his flock in the name of God, but also deceiving them at the same time. Isaac, deeply involved in smuggling and indebted to the local peer, but wanting a different life for his family. Isaac's younger sister Scarlett, having been under her brother's guidance for years, just coming into her own independence as the story unfolds. Flora, starting a new venture to support herself and her daughter. The mysterious man who survives the shipwreck and is a catalyst for the events that subsequently occur. And many other side characters that make this story vivid and interesting. When first listening, my mind was catching on something in the writing - I finally figured out that it seemed most or all sentences describing the current events are written in the present tense. And while this bothered me at first, I soon got used to it and settled in to focus entirely on the story. I know a book is good when I find myself eagerly wanting to listen to more of the story. The book ends in a cliffhanger that leaves me looking forward to reading Book 2.

Ms. McKernan does an excellent job narrating. Her characters and accent are well done, and the recording is clean and clear. I hope to listen to her narration again for the remaining audiobooks.

Overall, a great listen.

I received a promotional copy of this audiobook, and this is my honest review.