When two young women meet under extraordinary circumstances in the eighteenth- century West Indies, they are unified in their desire to escape their oppressive lives. The first is a slave, forced to work in a plantation mansion and subjected to terrible cruelty at the hands of the plantation manager. The second is a spirited and rebellious English ...
When two young women meet under extraordinary circumstances in the eighteenth- century West Indies, they are unified in their desire to escape their oppressive lives. The first is a slave, forced to work in a plantation mansion and subjected to terrible cruelty at the hands of the plantation manager. The second is a spirited and rebellious English girl, sent to the West Indies to marry well and combine the wealth of two respectable families. But fate ensures that one night the two young women have to save each other and run away to a life no less dangerous but certainly a lot more free. As pirates, they roam the seas, fight pitched battles against their foes and become embroiled in many a heart-quickening adventure. Written in brilliant and sparkling first-person narrative, this is a wonderful novel in which Celia Rees has brought the past vividly and intimately to life.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-10-20 Fans of Rees's earlier Witch Child will relish this highly romantic cross-dressing romp on the high seas in the early 18th century. Readers new to the author may be drawn in by the book's good looks: handsome cover art and appropriately swashbuckling endpapers. After her family's fortunes founder, and her merchant (and slave trader) father dies, narrator Nancy is sent from her Bristol home to the Jamaica plantation she is slated to inherit. There the 16-year-old learns she has been promised in marriage to the Brazilian Bartholome, a sadistic man rumored to be "the Devil himself." Nancy runs away with Minerva, the slave girl to whom she has grown close, and they wind up on the pirate ship captained by the gentlemanly officer who befriended Nancy on her way to Jamaica. Clad in men's clothes, the two girls adapt quickly to their new life, but Nancy's prophetic nightmares indicate that the Brazilian still hunts for his vanished bride, captaining a "dark ship, sailing under a black hoist with no device upon it." So fast and furious are the pirates' adventures, so enthralling are the girls' passions (Nancy has promised herself to her childhood sweetheart, while Minerva falls hard for Vincent Crosby, "a handsome young mulatto of about five and twenty with skin the colour of dark honey"), that it's easy to ignore the one-dimensionality of the novel's characters (villains are almost always denoted by a lack of personal hygiene). A playful yet intriguing glimpse of 18th-century life as it was lived by those who were not-or chose not to be-gentlefolk. Ages 12-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-10-03 A wealthy young woman escapes an arranged marriage by posing as a pirate. In a starred review, PW wrote, "Fans of Rees's earlier Witch Child will relish this highly romantic cross-dressing romp on the high seas in the early 18th century." Ages 12-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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