Queen Anne’s commissioners have begun paying out money sent up from London to settle the losses and wages owed to Scots who took part in the disastrous Darien expedition eight years earlier, an ill-fated venture that left Scotland all but bankrupt.
When the young widow of a Darien sailor comes forward to collect her husband’s wages, her claim is challenged. One of the men assigned to investigate has only days to decide if she’s honest, or if his own feelings are blinding him to the truth.
First off, a disclaimer. I am a huge fan of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, which has likely influenced my review of The Vanished Days, another sweeping historical saga set in Scotland. If only one of the main characters wasn’t named Jamie and there wasn’t a Jacobite tie-in.
The Vanished Days has a completely different voice. I enjoyed the first-person narrative, and the author handily balanced dual timelines, but my mind often wandered. Then wham! A delightful twisty ending. As with most reads, I alternated between the eBook and the audio version. Narrator Robert Ian Mackenzie is extraordinarily talented (his Scottish brogue… be still my heart), but in this case, I recommend reading the book to better follow the intricate plot. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.
Publication Date: October 2021
Genre: Historical fiction
Read-alikes: Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg, The Pretender’s Lady by Alan Gold, The Rebel Wears Plaid by Eliza Knight