Review: Trail of Crosses by Jo Grafford

Trail of Crosses by Jo Grafford
Series: The Lost Colony (# 2)
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Astraea Press
Pages: 378
Source:  book provided by the author for review



Jane Mannering can shoot a rifle and handle a knife as well as any Englishman. However, she is no match for the red-painted warriors who ambush her section of a Colonial caravan the moment she and her comrades reach the shores of Virginia.

Jane plots their escape during a forced march inland, leaving a trail of maltese crosses carved on the trees – their pre-agreed upon signal of distress. All the while, she fumes over what interest their captors could possibly have in a twenty-three-year-old spinster and a rugged band of brick masons, sawyers, and farmers.

When the ruthless Chief Wanchese intercepts them at the crossroads of the Great Trading Path, Jane is shaken to discover their greatest enemy plans to keep her for himself. It’s a pity he’s the only man on two continents who’s ever stirred her heart. Alas, she has an entire colony to save, and capturing his attentions is not part of their escape plan.


Review  When I laid eyes on the cover, I thought to myself, this looks like an exciting read. Then when I read the blurb I knew I had to read this book. So I was glad when I was able to acquire a complimentary copy through Romancing the Book blog.

Now, this is my first experience with the author’s work, but based on the above I had great expectations. I have now completed my reading of Trail of Crosses. Were my expectations met? Yes and no. I say this because the story was all I was hoping it to be until I came to the end. Here I was waiting for a fantastic ending after such a great build up only to be left wondering as to what just happened. There are some unanswered questions as it relates to what happened to Askook, which I am assuming will be answered in the next book in the series.

Trail of Crosses was set in the 19th Century, in a time when the British sought to colonize islands that were inhabited by Native American Indians. Ms. Grafford’s ability to mix historical, and romantic elements with a little action made this story a worthwhile read.

The male protagonist, Wanchese is most women’s fantasy. Personally, I thought that not only was he hot and sexy, he is also compassionate and caring when it came to those he hold dearest in his heart. His appeal is further enhanced by the fact the he is a Native American Indian.

Jane Manners, the female protagonist, is a school mistress that had left England and followed her puritan friends on their pilgrimage to the new world. Jane suffered loss at an early age with the death of her parents. Her father had taught her how to hunt and trap and this skill served her well on the island of Roanoke. Jane is a spinster as she was at that age where she was considered as no longer being ripe for marriage. Men never generally notice her as she was considered too tall and thought not to have any curves. She had pretty much given up on the idea of falling in love and getting married.

When Wanchese laid eyes on Jane, he knew he wanted her. He saw his wishes being fulfilled when he got the chance to rescue her from being raped and living a life in servitude. This rescue meant, however, that she along with a few of her friends will become members of the Roanoke Tribe.

I love her fighting spirit and her ability to adapt to her changing circumstances. She did not allow the events after her rescue to dampen her spirit. She is an example of the adage ‘If you can’t beat them, the join them’.

The character that demonstrated growth is George. At first he was not likable due to his constant complaining and his refusal to accept that his life would never be the same. He is snobbish and he thought himself better than the members of the Roanoke tribe. He viewed them as savages. He, however, showed his maturity when he made a selfless sacrifice to save a member of the very tribe he had once detested.

The character development was good. It was easy to relate to the characters. They way in which they were portrayed allows readers to understand and experience their every emotion.

The author made every scene come alive through her vivid descriptions which made me feel as if was a part of every aspect of the story.  This is an exciting story of love, jealousy, family betrayal, loss, rediscovery and the quest for power. It depicts that change can come when we least expect it and that if we are willing to embrace it, we will be entering a world of great possibilities.

I enjoyed reading this title and would highly recommend to lovers of historical romance.

Favorite Quote:  (Wanchese to Jane)   “During the dry summer, you were my rain. At night you were the moon and the stars. Each day, you were my son. My whole world rises with you in the morning and escapes with you to the world of dreams at eventide”.