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Mistress of the Sea [Hardcover]

Jenny Barden
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 12.51 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 Aug 2012

Plymouth 1570; Ellyn Cooksley fears for her elderly father's health when he declares his intention to sail with Drake on an expedition he has been backing. Already yearning for escape from the loveless marriage planned for her, Ellyn boards the expedition ship as a stowaway.

Also aboard the Swan is Will Doonan, Ellyn's charming but socially inferior neighbour. Will has courted Ellyn playfully without any real hope of winning her, but when she is discovered aboard ship, dressed in the garb of a cabin boy, he is furious.

To Will's mind, Drake's secret plot to attack the Spanish bullion supply in the New World is a means to the kind of wealth with which he might win a girl like Ellyn, but first and foremost it is an opportunity to avenge his brother Kit, taken hostage and likely tortured to death by the Spanish. For the sake of the mission he supports Drake's plan to abandon Ellyn and her father on an island in the Caribbean until their mission is completed. But will love prove more important than revenge or gold?

Mistress of the Sea is an epic romantic adventure set against the backdrop of Francis Drake's first great enterprise - the attack on the Spanish 'Silver Train' on the isthmus of Panama

Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (30 Aug 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091949211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091949211
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,152,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jenny Barden is an artist-turned-lawyer-turned-writer who has had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for her debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan 'lost colony' of early Virginia. She is currently working on an epic set during the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

Jenny has four children and lives in Dorset with her long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of pets and animals.
Website: www.jennybarden.com
Facebook: jennybardenauthor
Twitter: @jennywilldoit

Product Description


"A fascinating look at a "lost" adventure of English sea-faring--exotic, savage, and altogether engrossing." (Diana Gabaldon author of the bestselling Outlander series (Cross Stitch, UK))

"Fantastic, really fantastic. Very exciting, and moving, vivid characters, great ending" (Richard Lee, founder of the Historical Novel Society)

"Beautifully written and researched, this tale of desire, revenge, piracy, war and valour is so evocative we can taste salt on our skin and hear the swoop of sails overhead as we're swept up into a high-stakes adventure unlike any we've read before" (C.W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de Medici)

"A captivating and well researched tale of love, duty, and the consequences of actions, set against a vividly described New World." (Editor's Choice Historical Novels Review)

"Brings together all the best elements of historical writing and breathes new life into the craft of epic storytelling. Sharply-drawn, credible characters, perilous adventure, exotic locations and the skilful blending of fact with fiction, make Mistress of the Sea a real page turner." (Elaine Saunders Post-ChickLit Book Group)

Book Description

An epic, romantic swashbuckling Elizabethan adventure set at the time of Sir Francis Drake, pirates and privateers

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
From the very first image on page one of Mistress of the Sea I knew that I would love the writing in this Elizabethan adventure. 'The chill was enough to hurry everything along, as if the season was already sliding over ice.' We are off and moving back into Elizabethan England in the period of Shakespeare, Drake and Raleigh. This novel is suffused with constant movement. From the shores of Devon to the New World the reader travels with Sir Francis Drake, the sea rolling the ships, the sails catching the wind, to Spanish forts on the rim of the Caribbean, to islands and forests inhabited by the Cimaroons. We voyage with Will a strong and attractive seafaring hero and, importantly, Ellyn an adventurous and very courageous heroine, a merchant's daughter betrothed, of course, to another. Ellyn, concerned for her father heads for the New World on Drake's galleon. The mistress of the sea is more than a little in love with Will and, disguised, Ellyn sets sail for the New World with a crew who are determined to captured Spanish gold. Will, however, has another quest and Ellyn's fate is determined by this, by Drake's ruthlessness and by her devotion to her difficult but likeable father. Mistress of the Sea is a beautiful novel, refreshing after so many stories of the queens of this period. This book has the feel of adventure, the smell of the ocean, is pacy and moreover is superbly researched and carefully written with attention to small fascinating details. Every eloquent chapter has a tiny paratext extracted from literature of this era, the language is accessible, the characters engaging and most of all we, the readers, want to turn the pages.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sir Read-A-Lot's Review 1 Dec 2012
Mistress of the Sea is a real, old fashioned swash-buckler of a novel that will appeal to all readers. Its is a story that harks back to the very start of the Golden Age of Discovery and the author has weaved a marvelous work of fiction around a very well-known historical figure and his "antics".

Sir Francis Drake was both hero and villain to England and Jenny Barden creates characters that explore the most pertinent questions about his intentions as well as crafting a story that is strong and set apart from Drake's own. It is, essentially, a love story. But not only about the love between hero & heroine but the love of family, the love of humanity and, ultimately, the realisation and acceptance of the price each of us must pay to find happiness.

This is a rip-roaring story where heroes are crafted in the spirit of Errol Flynn & the heroine could be Olivia de Haviland. Jenny Barden writes scenes that you picture in your mind just like the films of yore where dashing heroes fight with dark, brooding enemies in order to win the heart of the maiden in distress. All in all this is a very good debut novel by an author who has a talent for creating exciting, vibrant stories.
I give MISTRESS OF THE SEA 5 Crosses!

(I edited my review because I believe Mistress of the sea genuinely deserves a 5 star rating)
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic 21 Nov 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This novel was exciting above all. I was gripped from the very first paragraphs and I kept snatching minutes whenever I could to get back to it. I liked the way the heroine evolved, who I wasn't so keen on at first but then became a wonderful, brave character. The hero was fantastic, with his internal issues, sense of loyalty and handsome face. I liked the way he didn't act as I'd expected him to. It was great to read a novel with Francis Drake and his adventures as the backdrop, especially as you could see that the author depicted a true version of him and had done her research. I found it refreshing and it has piked my interest in that period. This book was surprising, exciting, illustrative and romantic. It is an exceptional début novel and I hope there's more to come.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction on a grand scale 7 Oct 2012
By ESau
Mistress Of The Sea is an intriguing, intelligent read set in the Elizabethan age of exploration and sea-faring. It's obvious from the outset that this novel has been meticulously researched because vivid, historical details underpin every page. However, the history is written with a very subtle hand and it never once overpowers the narrative, even though it contains charismatic, real-life characters like Sir Francis Drake. It takes an expert author to combine history, adventure, romance and fast-paced storytelling, and Jenny Barden gets the balance exactly right.

This sweeping novel brings together all the best elements of historical writing and breathes new life into the craft of epic storytelling. Sharply-drawn, credible characters, perilous adventure, exotic locations and the skilful blending of fact with fiction, make Mistress Of The Sea a real page turner. By interweaving several narratives, the author ensures the momentum is never lost as the plot races to the exciting climax that keeps readers guessing all the way.

It's a long time since I read a book that satisfies on so many levels and I was glad to learn that the author is intending to revisit this period in the future. Mistress Of The Sea updates the Tudor world recreated in Philippa Gregory's novels, and explores the Elizabethan era with imagination, historical accuracy and compelling narrative. An irresistible combination for any lover of good quality, historical fiction.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book
As much adventure book as romance, Mistress of the Sea still manages to keep the romance reader engaged as you follow the blossoming relationship between wealthy merchant's... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Hannah Fielding
4.0 out of 5 stars What did Francis Drake do before he saw off the Spanish Armada?
I really enjoyed the story which wove a romantic tale around Sir Francis Drake's American exploits which were well documented at the time by English and Spanish sources. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Tweedledum
5.0 out of 5 stars Good adventure yarn, well told.
This gets 5* from me for the way the main character grows from a spoilt, petulant young woman into a plausible heroine, and for the thoroughness of the historical context. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Geoffrey Gudgion
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Historical Fiction..
Mistress of the Sea is set in 1570 against the background of Elizabethan England when glorious sea voyages led to the allure of prosperity, and the magnetism of inscrutable sea... Read more
Published 12 months ago by jaffareadstoo
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful début novel
Jenny Barden's brilliant debut novel is the type of story that first hooked me on historical fiction many years ago. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jean Fullerton
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful story with love and action
OK, you're looking for something specific, you want high sea's action, a story of love and romance and mix it all up in Elizabethan England? Read more
Published 14 months ago by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding debut, not to be missed!
Adventure, suspense, action, poignant loss and conflicted love--Jenny Barden's Mistress of the Sea offers all this, and more. Read more
Published 19 months ago by M. Porter
4.0 out of 5 stars A rollicking good read
I essentially devoured this book in two sessions. I'd broken my foot, was in a lot of discomfort and was in dire need of some pure escapism - and "Mistress of the Sea" did the... Read more
Published 20 months ago by justininlondon
5.0 out of 5 stars Mistress of the Swashbuckler...
From the vivid opening scenes of bear baiting, the reader is transported into an Elizabethan England far from the usual Court locations and characters. Read more
Published 23 months ago by C. Alleyne
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