The Tenth Gift: A Novel

The Tenth Gift: A Novel

by Jane Johnson
3.9 40

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The Tenth Gift: A Novel by Jane Johnson

An enthralling story of secrets and discovering love where you least expect it, in The Tenth Gift the art of embroidery uncannily links two fascinating women of different eras and their equally passionate love stories

In an expensive London restaurant, Julia Lovat receives a gift that changes her life. At first glance it is a book of exquisite seventeenth-century embroidery patterns belonging to a woman named Catherine Ann Tregenna. Yet in its margins are the faintest diary entries; they reveal that “Cat” and others were stolen from their Cornish church in 1625 by Muslim pirates and taken on a brutal voyage to Morocco to be auctioned off as slaves. Captivated by this dramatic discovery, Julia sets off to North Africa to determine the authenticity of the book and to uncover more of Cat’s mesmerizing story. There, in the company of a charismatic Moroccan guide, amid the sultry heat, the spice markets, and exotic ruins, Julia will discover secrets long buried. And in Morocco—just as Cat did before her—she will lose her heart.

Though they live almost 400 years apart, the stories of these two women converge in an extraordinary and haunting manner that begs the question, is history fated to repeat itself?

"The Tenth Gift is wildly yet convincingly romantic—a rare combo…both a sensitive portrayal of Muslim culture and a delectable adventure of the heart."—USA Today

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307409249
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 05/06/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 7,808
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

JANE JOHNSON is a British novelist, historian and publisher. She is the UK editor for Dean Koontz and George R.R. Martin, and as Jude Fisher has written the companions to Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movie trilogies. Visit her at

Customer Reviews

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Tenth Gift 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 40 reviews.
KY_reader More than 1 year ago
I kept putting this book on the bottom of the pile because I didn't think that I would like it. The title just made me think of some other books that I think are very lightweight, but when I finally started to read it, I couldn't put it down. The connection between the past and the present is told in an original way here. I also loved the strong and unpredictable women characters. The best suprise was the undercurrent of Islamic culture and the impact on the characters. This was a very pleasant surprise-- I really enjoyed this book. I wish that it had a better title though!
coffeegoddess More than 1 year ago
This book begins by following the tale of woman embroiderer that is captured on the Barbary coast by pirates. Then you are transported to the world of Islam. Catherine must make a choice between her freedom as a Muslim woman or staying a Christian slave. In a post 9/11 world this story was intriguing and a good read for the open minded.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really wanted to like this book. It has a great cover, a great premise, and even the writing is good. What I couldn't get beyond is the idea that this English girl is captured, sold into terrible slavery, and yet falls in love with her slaver. Are you kidding? The real English women of the 17th century who were sold into slavery in Morocco were abused: physically, mentally and every other way. This is, imo, an isn't-it-great-to-be-serving-another-culture book, especially when that culture is non-white. Can anyone imagine the roles reversed, and a Moroccan slave falls in love with her white slaver? Would that have even been published today? I would give this book one star, except it has a nice cover.
SecondRunReviews More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book solely because Diana Gabaldon had a featured quote on the cover of the hardcover version. I snatched up a copy once it reached paperback and was drawn in immediately. While the present day part of the story was a little over dramatic, the historical part of the story kept me moving through the book as I was dying to find out what became of Cat and her unlikely love for one of the Barbary pirates.
NZH More than 1 year ago
A great read.
pern53 More than 1 year ago
I was asked to help a 'friend' out by reading this book so he/she could rate it for his/her work. It took me awhile to get into the book because the initial premise is of a woman, Julia, who's so screwed up she's been sleeping with her best friend's husband for years. He dumps and she doesn't see it coming?!?! As a breaking-up gift he presents her with a special book and that is where the story really starts. Julia discovers the long lost words of a young woman living in the early 17th century who is captured by Barbary corsairs and condemned into slavery. Some of the points previously made in other reviews are fairly valid. Perhaps Cat has a bit of Stockholm syndrome when she discovers her love for her captor. But the main thrust of the story seems to be more of how this young woman deals with the cards dealt her in life while Julia in the present seems to screw up the cards dealt her and can't seem to face up to the decisions she's made. Book clubs will have a great time with this book because there are so many issues which are open to discussion: women's issues, infidelity, cross-cultural issues, the juxtaposition of the present writing in the first person with the past being written in the 3rd person, etc. If you like historical fiction written with some authority, you'll enjoy this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I actually read the uncorrected proof of this book instead of the official version available at stores. I was completely spellbound! A lot of history, well researched, and VERY romantic! It depicts the differences between cultures and how servants lived their lives in eastern europe. If I were in that situation, I'd choose Morocco over the other culture any day!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely loved this book and could not put it down..drawn into the history of textiles and needlework with historical facts of the Salle pirates this was a wonderful read!! From past to present this book has a message for women...loved the character of Cat...gave one a sense of how the servants were regarded in British society...I would live in Morroccoo too!! Please write more!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. I could not put it down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book. Secret history, well researched, strong characters, fantastic romances, both in the past and the present, and lots of wonderful exotic detail. Can't rate it highly enough.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will try others by this author!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved how the parallell tales unfolded. The characters were both unique and real. I enjoyed that it did not indulge any stereotypes. Each character made realistic decisions.
KatZombie More than 1 year ago
The Tenth Gift was such a different premise to my current reading that I admit I found it difficult to get my head into a non-zombie, non-post-apocalyptic state of mind, and it has taken me nearly a month to complete. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I kept getting distracted by all the other books on my e-shelf. I read a lot of reviews of this book before I started reading this book (something I rarely do), and the overwhelming majority of readers either didn’t respect, or found it hard to connect with the main character, Julia, mainly due to her choices in life. Personally, I didn’t have that problem – sure, I didn’t agree with some of her life choices, but I could understand why she made some of those choices. The character of Cat is particularly engaging – the journal excerpts are written in 17th century English which can be hard to read, until you get used to it, and her fiery, independent character make her the ultimate heroine of this book. The dedication of Rob is sweet but does stretch the imagination a little. There is a focus on Moroccan and 17th century English history, and the history of embroidery and needlework in the middle-east and England, which adds an extra point of interest. I’m undecided on this one – there were some very interesting parts, and some that just felt like padding.
auncgal89 More than 1 year ago
Though the story begins slowly, the interwoven past life is fascinating. Traveling to pirate ships in the 1600s captures the imagination and the reader's concern! Not an "easy read," but definitely wort the time!
April1777 More than 1 year ago
This book paints a picture of a great adventure which leaves you on the edge with anticipation. Great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago