Delighted to share a review with you all, but first I will introduce the book as always.
As the first full-length novel in The White Sails Series, DISCERNING GRACE captures the spirit of an independent woman whose feminine lens blows the ordered patriarchal decks of a 19th century tall ship to smithereens.
Wilful Grace Baxter, will not marry old Lord Silverton with his salivary incontinence and dead-mouse stink. Discovering she is a pawn in an arrangement between slobbery Silverton and her calculating father, Grace is devastated when Silverton reveals his true callous nature.
Refusing this fate, Grace resolves to stow away. Heading to the docks, disguised as a lad to ease her escape, she encounters smooth-talking naval recruiter, Gilly, who lures her aboard HMS Discerning with promises of freedom and exploration in South America.
When Grace's big mouth lands her bare-bottomed over a cannon for insubordination, her identity is exposed. The captain wants her back in London but his orders, to chart the icy archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, forbid it. Lieutenant Seamus Fitzwilliam gallantly offers to take Grace off the fretting captain's hands by placing her under his protection.
Grace must now win over the crew she betrayed with her secret, while managing her feelings towards her taciturn protector, whose obstinate chivalry stifles her new-found independence. But when Grace disregards Lieutenant Fitzwilliam's warnings about the dangers of the unexplored archipelago, it costs a friend his life and she realises she is not as free as she believes.
Series: The White Sails Series
Author: Emma Lombard
Publication Date: 22 February 2021
Page Length: 372 pages
Genre: Historical Women’s Fiction
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Now for the review -
Running away to sea takes on an all new meaning in Emma Lombard’s debut novel, Discerning Grace (Book One of The White Sails Series). Grace Baker disguises herself as a boy and runs blindingly into the night. She has nowhere to go, nor does she have any money. Grace soon realizes she has two options. She can go home to her parents, plead a moment of insanity and marry the lecherous and abusive Lord Silverton, or she could go on an adventure of a lifetime by hopping on board HMD Discerning and travel all the way to South America. For Grace, this isn’t a difficult decision. She just has to pretend that she is a teenage boy for the duration of the expedition - something that is far easier said than done.
This novel is as unpredictable as the ocean, but just as much fun. With Grace’s dogged determination to live the life she wants, and her almost fearless sense of self, Emma Lombard has given her readers a protagonist that a reader can really get behind. I really enjoyed reading about Grace and how she overcomes one obstacle after another. She bravely faces her foes and, no matter what is thrown at her, she somehow always walks away from the situation with her life. However, Grace is a woman who is deeply disturbed by what she witnesses and what she endures, and I thought this gave Grace a realism and a believability.
There is quite the cast of colourful characters in this novel and there are plenty of plot twists. From the lowest to the highest in society, Emma Lombard has given her readers a detailed look at the life of the gentry, the servants and the sailors.
The historical detailing of this novel has so obviously been painstakingly researched, and it definitely shows through the author’s clever use of word-building. Emma Lombard has made history come alive.
I really enjoyed everything about the book. There is enough drama to keep a reader up all night, as well as a very tender romance. This book is a real treat.
Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously sea sick. Discerning Grace, is the first book in The White Sails Series.
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That's it for now.
Till the next time.
Take care Zoe.