(Review) Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks

Publisher and Publication Date: Shadow Mountain Publishing. January 2021.
Genre: Historical fiction. Proper Romance.
Pages: 320.
Format: Paperback.
Source: I received a complimentary paperback/NetGalley e-book copy from Shadow Mountain. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction and proper romance stories.
Rating: Very good.

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Author Info:

Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the
Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures
and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in
history, especially the history of her English heritage. When she isn’t writing,
Arlem is baking her characters’ favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning
how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her
husband and two children. Having previously published four historical romance
novellas, Georgana’s Secret is her debut novel.

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Summary:

A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe
harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.
As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls,
and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future
under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join
her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”
Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication
to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a
new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the
captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it
and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic
deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s
secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent
and hides his growing affection for her.
Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is
convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life
on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her
chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable
husband are quickly slipping away.

My Thoughts:

I love the unique story of Georgana.
As a young girl, and beginning to mature and develop, she became another person in order to be near her father and safe. She is uncomfortable in this role. She is bullied and abused because of this role. She is always on guard hoping her true identity will not be discovered. Her impersonation is difficult but required.
I am reminded of how difficult it is to try and be someone else in order to please another. I am reminded of men and women who are in relationships who pretend to be someone they are not. It is a burden and taxing. These issues are never deeply explored, but Hawks touches on them in Georgana’s story.

I love the character Dominic.
Lieutenant Dominic Peyton is a good son, and he is an officer in His Majesty’s Royal Navy. He is not looking for a romantic relationship. He believes it will detour him from life and career at sea. After boarding the HMS Deborah, he notices a cabin boy who is in trouble. It is interesting Dominic makes time to be compassionate and kind. I feel this is an admirable trait in a man who seems to be singularly focused on his career. But he is also a good son and treats his mother well. This is often a predictor of how a man will be in a relationship. Further, I feel a part of him knows the truth about Georgana.

I’d like to have read more about Georgana’s father. I know enough about him to be curious for further character development.

Another character who is an intriguing secondary character, Etienne. He is the ship’s doctor.

I love reading about life at sea, encounters with the enemy, duties for the crew, medical procedures onboard ship, emergency situations, and the relationships between the males.

Men can be friends with men. Women can be friends with women. Men and women can be friends. And all these relationships can happen without sex. It is possible. Romance doesn’t happen to two people because they are in a platonic relationship. Romance is a result of a mix of other factors. It is possible for a reader to wonder is there could have been a sexual relationship between Dominic and Georgana—Dominic thinking Georgana was a boy. I don’t know, that’s a far reach. I still believe a part of him knew her identity.

(Review) Drake: Tudor Corsair, The Elizabethan Series Book 1 by Tony Riches

Publisher and Publication Date: Preseli Press Ltd. August 5, 2020.
Genre: Historical fiction. British history. Elizabethan era. Sea adventure.
Pages: 344.
Source: I received a complimentary eBook copy from Tony Riches, I was not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Readers of historical fiction who love sea adventure.
Rating: Very good.

To read other reviews:
The Coffee Pot Book Club
Candlelight Reading
Historical Fiction Blog
Zoe’s Art, Craft, and Life
A Darn Good Read
Gwendalyn Books

Links to purchase the book:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

Goodreads link

Further links of interest:
Elizabethan Era
Elizabeth an England Life
Britannica-Francis Drake
Historic-uk.com-Francis Drake

Tony Riches is a full-time UK author of best-selling historical fiction. He lives in Pembrokeshire, West Wales and is a specialist in the history of the Wars of the Roses and the lives of the early Tudors. Tony’s other published historical fiction novels include: Owen – Book One Of The Tudor Trilogy, Jasper – Book Two Of The Tudor Trilogy, Henry – Book Three Of The Tudor Trilogy, Mary – Tudor Princess, Brandon – Tudor Knight and The Secret Diary Of Eleanor Cobham. For more information about Tony’s books please visit his website tonyriches.com and his blog, The Writing Desk and find him on  Facebook and Twitter @tonyriches

Sir Francis Drake (1540-43 to 1596)

Summary:
1564 
Devon sailor Francis Drake sets out on a journey of adventure. Drake learns of routes used to transport Spanish silver and gold, and risks his life in an audacious plan to steal a fortune.
Queen Elizabeth is intrigued by Drake and secretly encourages his piracy. Her unlikely champion becomes a national hero, sailing around the world in the Golden Hind and attacking the Spanish fleet.
King Philip of Spain has enough of Drake’s plunder and orders an armada to threaten the future of England.

My Thoughts:
I love sea adventure stories and this is my favorite aspect of Drake: Tudor Corsair. As a young man, Francis Drake had piloted ships to safe harbor, but he had the ambition to sail the ocean. He began working for the privateer, seaman, and slave trader John Hawkins. Most of the story is in preparing the ship for a journey, sailing the ocean, and skirmishes with the Spanish and Portuguese. The actual day to day duties on a ship is not described in-depth as I’d liked. However, I understand better the English ambition for gold and silver made in the slave trade. I understand better the terrible conditions for the African people who were caught, transported to another land, and sold. The story shows a glimpse of uncomfortableness Drake felt about the slave trade, but it did not stop his activities.
I’ve read a little about Sir Francis Drake. I feel Drake: Tudor Corsair has characterized Drake as a likable person. A person who is heroic. He did have strong accomplishments. For example, he was the first Englishman to circumnavigate the earth. I have to remember, and other readers must remember, this is a historical period where many saw wealth as more important than human life. The African’s lives were expendable. It is difficult for me to wrap-my-mind around “that” type of thinking, but this is history, they lived differently than we do.
The personal life of Drake is shared in the story. I wonder if a fictional account of Drake’s first wife is possible? Her story is enticing and I wonder how she felt about his long absences? What did she know about his travels? How did she feel about how he made his wealth?
One of my favorite scenes in the story is when Drake met Queen Elizabeth. His description and impression of her is priceless.
Over-all this is a splendid story. I feel it gave me a solid education of what life at sea was like in the mid to late 1500s.

(Review) Moby Dick by Herman Melville

 

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Publisher and Publication Date: The photo above of the front cover is NOT the book I own. My book is a green hardcover, old. Published by Grosset & Dunlap. No date is given in the book. My guess is the 1950s. Originally published 1851.
Genre: Classic fiction.
Pages: 633.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: This is a second read-very good. The first time I read the book-excellent.

Supplemental material in my copy is an introduction by Grosset & Dunlap. Also, an etymology, and eleven pages of quotes.

Two men signup on a whaling ship. One of the men is introduced in the first sentence, he is the narrator. The opening line is considered a classic first line.

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago-never mind how long precisely-having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. Page 11.

The story is told through his perspective. He is a young man, and with a focus of something new, an adventure at sea aboard a whaling ship.

According to SparkNotes the time period is the mid 1830s or 1840s.
The whaling ship is the Pequod. The captain is Ahab. Ahab is a man with one leg. He has an obsession with a whale he has named Moby Dick. Moby Dick is a white whale or beluga.

The story is much more than about Moby Dick.
•Life and work at sea aboard a whaler.
•A study of whales.
•The men who make up the crew of the whaling ship. Mixed races aboard the Pequod, this is a theme itself.
•A sermon on Jonah and the whale.
•Ahab and his obsessive vengeance against Moby Dick.

Not a word he spoke; nor did his officers say aught to him; though by all their minutest gestures and expressions, they plainly showed the uneasy, if not painful, consciousness of being under a troubled master-eye. And not only that, but moody stricken Ahab stood before them with a crucifixion in his face; in all the nameless regal overbearing dignity of some might woe. Page 141.

All that most maddens and torments; all that stirs up the lees of things; all truth with malice in it; all that cracks the sinews and cakes the brain; all the subtle demonisms of life and thought; all evil, to crazy Ahab were visibly personified, and made practically assailable in Moby Dick. Page 205.

It’s been several years since I first read Moby Dick. This second time around I gave the book a very good rating. The book didn’t impact me like the first time.
It’s difficult, because I’m sensitive, to read the attack and killing of the whales. A different era, a different culture. Nevertheless, it is tough to read.
The men aboard the whaling ships (other ships are remarked on in the book) have a arduous life.
I’ve read other books about life and work at sea. I recommend Two Years Before The Mast by Richard Henry Dana, Jr.