The Tenth Gift

A Novel
Narrated by: John Lee, Susan Duerden
Length: 14 hrs
4.5 out of 5 stars (216 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 17th 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)

©2008 Jane Johnson (P)2008 Books on Tape

Critic Reviews

"A remarkable view of Barbary pirates and their times, and an engrossing romance of clashing cultures and wonderful characters." (Diana Gabaldon, number one New York Times best-selling author)

“This is such a lush book! It transported me to another time and other places, enticing me into an exotic, turbulent world in which past and present are seamlessly woven into a mesmerizing story.” (India Edghill, author of Wisdom’s Daughter)

“What a tangled web Jane Johnson weaves with the opening of a book of old embroidery patterns! Two heroines cross paths across centuries. Unworthy lovers, treachery, ghosts, and pirates march through the streets and seas of modern day England, 17th century Cornwall, and Morocco as each woman tries to find what is most important to her. Discovering one’s authenticity is a story in which time doesn’t matter, and Johnson stitches the threads of both stories into a lovely, enticing whole.” (Karleen Koen, New York Times best-selling author of Dark Angels

What listeners say about The Tenth Gift

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Listen

Very entertaining and educational. I liked the references to the needle work but if you don't stitch you may not like this part. The use of two narrators helped keep things straight as it switched between present day and 1625.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

People aren't perfect--even in fiction

This was a wonderful story---a modern day love affair (no angels there), 17th century pirates, women's changing place in the world, clashes of cultures, and embroidery. The narrators are perfect (thank you again, John Lee), and besides, any story that gets me up out of bed and walking in 90 degree heat has got to be engrossing.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Abusive relationships

One of the reviewers was very hard on the female characters, (ie being in an adulterous relationship with best friends husband) 1-The relationship started before her friend married him. 2-For what ever reason, she was a weak person who was manipulated by Michael, and always took him back. (just like battered wife syndrome) The other is a girl in 17th century England, hoping for a better life, and dreaming for more than her guardians want for her. Is that wrong for a 19 year old girl? There are parallels and as the story progresses, much more is revealed. (maybe even a ghost or two). Yes it did bother me in the beginning that the female lead character was abused, emotionally by this man for over 7 years. However if you give the story a chance, it does have twists and turns that I wouldn't have thought when I first started listening. John Lee and Susan Duerden are wonderful narrators, (one of the main reasons I chose this book) You are taken from 21st Century to 17th Century, to get the connection in the story. I thought it was well done and worth a listen. .

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A must read for every embroiderer!

This was such an enjoyable book. I really enjoy books that flash between the past and the present. This book switched between the 1600s and present day. It was a romance of sorts.

The narration was done by a man and a woman was expertly done. The story was well-crafted and moved quickly.

It is unusual to read stories about embroiderers. Being a hand embroiderer by trade I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it to others.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

An Engaging Read, But I'd Hoped For More

The premise of this book sounded right up my ally. And there were parts of it I really enjoyed. But it could have been much better. The parts of the book that took place in the past were better written than the current day story. The heroine's "friends" weren't friends. And the heroine's initial love interest wasn't lovable at all. She seemed to surround herself with poor excuses for loved ones, and when she finally formed a lasting relationship, the book was almost over.

The relationship between the historical heroine and her captor was unbelievable, but since it was historical, it was easier to swallow and parts of the book that dealt with these two were truly fun to read.

I can't exactly recommend this book, but I can't not recommend it either.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Probably geared more to women, but...

A romance novel but not overly reliant on that angle to carry your interest. You could say that things are a little too convenient when all is said and done but I still enjoyed it.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

This book was highly recommended to me by a fellow needleworker. The references to needlework, however, are just embellishments to the story of two women whose lives closely parallel each other 400 years apart.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Breathtaking

This book is amazing. I have read two other of Jane Johnson's Morocco novels, and was excited to see it here in audible. in the same moment I was fearful that having it read aloud to me would somehow spoil the story that I knew would be captivating. I could not have been more wrong. The performers who did this production are amazing. Their accents perfect, their tone and depth breathtaking. They took a spectacular story and made it enthralling. I was there in the story, not reading it, but being read to, and my imagination was free to soak in the colors, sounds, and scenes.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A mesmerizing read!

Mystery, history, and a love story that resonates from the 17th century to the present.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good companionship

If you could sum up The Tenth Gift in three words, what would they be?

These three word would be PAL. Yes, this is what Audible makes with a book. It seems you are sitting and having a sound talk with a buddy. And as long as you listen and at the same time consider the arguments displayed by the author you can imagine the give and take of a real conversation. A magic experience!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Susan. She talks with a deep feeling that almost hides her wrong-doing.

What about John Lee and Susan Duerden ’s performance did you like?

Transporting me to past time environment

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Finding the gift

Any additional comments?

Ready for a new experience

1 person found this helpful