Review: Far Horizons by Kate Hewitt

Far Horizons by Kate Hewitt
Series: The Emigrants Trilogy (# 1)
Release Date: April 29, 2012
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services
File Size: 522 KB
Source:  contest win at Romance Book Haven blog

The Highlands of Scotland, 1819: On the eve of his departure for the New World, Allan MacDougall asks his beloved Harriet to wait for his return, when he will be established and able to marry her. When his father discovers his intent he insists it is dishonorable, and so Allan must free Harriet from her promise even as he vows to remain faithful himself. Through years of hardship, heartache, tragedy, and betrayal, Allan and Harriet cling to the love that first brought them together–yet it is the treacherous doubts of their own hearts that could prove to be their undoing, and drive them farther apart than ever.

Far Horizons is a sweeping saga that will take you from the Highlands of Scotland to the untamed Canadian wilderness and the bustling streets of Boston. Based on actual events, it celebrates the strength of a promise and the enduring power of love. Previously published in hardcover and written by USA Today bestselling author Kate Hewitt, this is Book One of The Emigrants Trilogy.


Review:  This is a gentle historical romance, set back in the early nineteenth century when Scottish settlers were traveling out to Canada in a sort of exodus. Using actual letters written by her ancestors and interweaving fact and a little bit of fiction, Kate Hewitt gives us, in the form of a novel, the story of two related families, the Campbells and the MacDougalls as they make their way from the Isle of Mull in Scotland to the new world, or the new Scotland, in Nova Scotia in Canada.

This is no saccharine tale. The hardships faced by the settlers were very real indeed. Leaving their roots in the Scottish wilderness and its reassuring familiarity, they moved towards the new world with it’s unknown perils and extreme weather conditions. No doubt, a better life awaited them in many cases, but they had to travel through seas of hardship and peril to get to their promised land. There was also the agony of separation from loved ones. A six week journey overseas, then dependence on occasional sailings to send letters home – letters which would take as long to reach as the voyage did. Sometimes it took up to a year for a letter to reach and be answered. It sounds so very strange in this world of Skype and Facebook. Living as I do in India, I can speak every day to my mother in Dublin if I wish and also to my lovely Indian niece who has recently relocated to Cincinnati, USA for studies.

As mentioned earlier, this is a gentle love story, from what seems like such a different world to that of today. It’s not a world of panting, gasping love scenes. It’s a world where promises meant something, where your word was your bond. Yes, there is tension and jealousy, but above all, a sense of honor. On the eve of his departure for the new world, young Allan MacDougall asks his sweetheart Harriet Campbell to wait for him and be his bride when he has succeeded in becoming a man of property. She readily agrees, knowing the value of his promise, yet he honorably releases her from the obligation to wait for him on the grounds that he is asking too much. At the same time Allan’s sister Margaret falls in love with Henry Moore, a Boston sea captain whose work takes him back to the USA and the Caribbean. I have to admit that wondering if these couples would succeed in making their dream a reality was the hook which kept me coming back to this book again and again. It’s basically a story of simple, hard working Presbyterian folk, in search of their promised land, a new life, the fulfillment of their dreams.

A sentimental story, lovingly told. Highly recommended for readers of historical fiction and family sagas and anyone with an interest in Scottish and north American history.

Favorite Quote:  The sea was calm tonight. Harriet Campbell stared across its flat grey surface and wondered how far The Economy of Aberdeen had traveled in one day. There wasn’t much wind. Perhaps it was still close to shore, nestled among the green curves of the inner Hebrides, waiting for the wind to pick up and take her to the New World, the New Scotland.