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5.0 out of 5 stars
Outstanding debut, not to be missed!, 20 Jan. 2013
Adventure, suspense, action, poignant loss and conflicted love--Jenny Barden's Mistress of the Sea offers all this, and more. Driven by concern for her ailing father, a disguised Ellyn Cooksley boldly stows away on Sir Francis Drake's Panama-bound vessel--also carrying her admirer Will Doonan. She leaves behind a reclusive mother, a pair of eager suitors, and all the luxuries of a Plymouth merchant's household.
Shipboard discomforts and the deprivation she experiences on a remote tropical island are only the beginning of her trials. A lone female in a very masculine environment, the resourceful Ellyn remains a woman of her time and place--though displaced in a fashion unimaginable to the average 16th century maiden. Will Doonan is on a mission of vengeance and discovery, desperate to learn the fate of his lost brother Kit. His concern and deep feelings for Ellyn are at odds with his very personal need to strike at England's great enemy.
Drake's risky attempts to seize Spanish silver and gold threaten the lives and test the loyalties of Ellyn, Will, and all the crew as they strive to outmaneuvre the Spaniards. People of the Old World and the New forge alliances, meet in battle, and constantly struggle for survival in harsh yet exotically beautiful surroundings.
Jenny Barden deserves highest praise for her historical fiction debut, intelligently and sensitively written. Readers will be eager for her next novel.
Margaret Evans Porter