Storks in a Blue Sky

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Storks in a Blue Sky
by Carol Anne Dobson (Appledrane Books, 2008)

Storks in a Blue Sky is a historical romance set in England and France in 1763. It won the David St. John Thomas fiction award in England.

One of its central themes is about discrimination and hostility towards Catholics in England in the 18th century. The hero, Jean Luc de Delacroix is a French aristocrat, a soldier and a scientist, and a devout Catholic. The heroine, Sarah Durrant, initially shares the unenlightened views against Catholics of her fellow English countrymen. The beautiful, flame-haired Sarah Durrant is an uneducated former kitchen maid who impersonates her mistress when she suddenly dies. At the same time, her own origins are a mystery. She has no knowledge of her parents and possesses a gold locket which contains a miniature of a woman who resembles her.

English xenophobia towards both the French and Catholicism finds expression in local antagonism towards the Delacroix family, an antagonism which is exacerbated because Jean Luc has just returned from fighting against the British in North America. Jean Luc is attacked and seriously wounded on Exmoor.

Invisible forces of hatred and revenge create and influence the course of events, but love is a powerful thread weaving through the story, thwarting the dark side of human nature. The wild coast and moors of North Devon and the mountains and river-crossed plain of Alsace are a suitable background to a turbulent tale of love, deception, and fear.