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Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX  76244-0425


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Books for Adults - Fiction

Cover Art: Mistress of the Sea
Mistress of the Sea
By Jenny Barden
Ebury Press, 2012, ISBN 978-0-091949-56-3, £12.99

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In the fall of 1570, Ellyn Cooksley has two suitors. They seek her hand because of the business opportunities allying themselves with her father will bring them. But Ellyn is more interested in the master carpenter who rents a room from her father. Master Cooksley, however, will never agree to a match between her and Will Doonan, for he has neither wealth nor position.

Willís wooing is more courtly than serious . . . until they share a kiss.  Although he loves Ellyn, he has no chance of winning her without funds to support her. Joining Captain Drake on a new venture to the Spanish Main offers that chance. It also gives Will the opportunity for redemption and revenge. The last time Will sailed with Drake, his brother Kit stayed behind as a hostage. Knowing the Spaniardsí hatred of the heretical English, Kit is probably dead. If Will canít rescue him, he vows to make them pay in blood and treasure.

Drakeís brother enlists Master Cooksley as a trading partner in the venture to the New World. An innocent dinner conversation, however, persuades Cooksley to accompany Drake and Doonan on the voyage. Ellyn fears for her fatherís health and, unable to change his mind, stows aboard Drakeís ship to watch over her father. In her heart, she also hopes to spend more time with Will. But when Master Cooksley falls and she comes to his rescue, her secret is discovered and no one, including her father and Will, is pleased to have her aboard.

Then Master Cooksley becomes ill, the Spaniardsí welcome is anything but, and Will deserts Ellyn. No matter how he feels about her, she must not prevent him from his mission. Gaining that wealth and locating Kit prove greater challenges than either he or Drake expect. Eventually Will wonders if his goals are the same as Drakeís, especially when the latter places Ellyn in grave danger.

Mistress of the Sea is a fictional account of Drakeís legendary strike against the mule train carrying Spanish gold. Barden does a fantastic job of recreating the Elizabethan period and Spainís colonial empire. The story is rich in historical details, and while Ellyn learns just how strong she truly is, she does so within the confines of the time period. Some scenes are heart wrenching; others are heart stopping. Barden spins such a masterful web that readers may be surprised to look up and find that they arenít in the midst of the jungle, fending off Spaniards, or lying in wait for treasure beyond the imagination.

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  Review Copyrighted ©2013 Cindy Vallar
 
 
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