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Posted October 22, 2003
Excellent Historical Romance
Young and beautiful Marie Cabot of Boston is homeward bound on a ship of Greek registry when the vessel is attacked by pirates in the early morning hours. Clad in her flimsy nightgown Marie manages to reach the deck, only to find herself at the mercy of a trio of swarthy pirates. In desperation, she pries a sword from a dead sailor's hand and defends herself, happy that she has defied tradition by taking fencing lessons, a pastime pursued only by men. The pirates flee but she soon finds herself overpowered, being heaved over the shoulder of an even larger scoundrel. Visions of being sold into slavery (or much worse) cloud her thoughts as she is lowered over the side of the Greek ship and dropped, unceremoniously, into a smaller boat. Voicing her rights as an American citizen, she is pleased to find that she has been 'captured' by the U.S. Navy! Marie is reunited with her French maid, Josephine, and the two are made comfortable in the Captain's quarters. When asked to join the captain for dinner, Marie is appalled to find that the silent brute who tossed her overboard is the temporary captain of the U.S.S. Declaration of Independence, Lieutenant John Appleton. As the days pass, Marie and John Appleton continually clash. She, an independent young woman who has vowed to become a spinster, and he, the brooding seaman who fears succumbing to the charms of a woman, knowing that all young women aspire only to lay a trap to snare themselves a husband. (And what better 'catch' than a handsome career seaman, who has set his sights on his own command?) A thoroughly entertaining read (beginning with the title), The Old Maid and the Sea pulled me into the action right from the start. The sexual tension between John Appleton and Marie Cabot carries the book along in a delightful, enchanting storyline. Pamela Cummings has done her research so well that all of your senses are used when reading this historical romance/action/thriller. You'll be tossed along in a turbulent sea during a violent storm one moment and savor the sights and sounds of an old seaport, swashbuckling your way through the crowds, the next. An over-zealous maid dedicated to making her mistress the object of all men's desires, a magical costume ball, a picnic in a foreign country and a 'welcome home' party for the sorely missed Marie all conspire to throw the confirmed bachelor and avowed spinster together against their will. A heart-warmer that leaves you contented and smiling, The Old Maid and the Sea will also leave you knowledgeable about historic ships and vintage ladies clothing. along with a lesson on the how and why to use a sextant for navigation. Despite a couple of typos and a 'sturdy pair of walking boots' that are lost when the Greek ship is attacked and mysteriously reappear when Marie needs them for an island hike, this is a terrific 'escape' read the whole family will enjoy. If she isn't already, look for Pamela Cummings on the bestsellers' lists in the near future, she's a winner!
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