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Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (Bloody Jack Adventure Series #2)

Curse of the Blue Tattoo: Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady (Bloody Jack Adventure Series #2)

4.6 92
by L. A. Meyer

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After being forced to leave HMS Dolphin and Jaimy, her true love, Jacky Faber is making a new start at the elite Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston. But growing up on the streets of London and fighting pirates never prepared Jacky for her toughest battle yet: learning how to be a fine lady.

Everything she does is wrong. Her


After being forced to leave HMS Dolphin and Jaimy, her true love, Jacky Faber is making a new start at the elite Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston. But growing up on the streets of London and fighting pirates never prepared Jacky for her toughest battle yet: learning how to be a fine lady.

Everything she does is wrong. Her embroidery is deplorable, her French is atrocious, and her table manners--disgusting! Then there's the small matter of her blue anchor tattoo. . . .

Despite her best efforts, Jacky can't seem to stay out of trouble long enough to dedicate herself to being ladylike. But what fun would that be, anyway?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this second installment of the series begun with Bloody Jack (which PW called "a rattling good read"), Mary "Jacky" Faber goes ashore, enrolled in the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston where she helps solve a murder mystery. Ages 12-up. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Subtititled, "Being an Account of the Misadventures of Jacky Faber, Midshipman and Fine Lady," this addition to L.A. Meyer's "Bloody Jack Adventure" series has young Jacky booted off her ship and into a fine New England boarding school. But the former London orphan and incognito sailor is not cut from the same cloth as the others at the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls. Soon Jacky's raucous behavior gets her busted down to serving-girl status. Her crime? Showing too much leg while dancing good-naturedly with some sailors. Nevertheless, Jacky's honesty, love of adventure, and indomitable spirit do not let her stay down for long. She earns a living dancing and singing, while at the same time getting herself in the middle of several clever plots along the way. Her most formidable foe is the Reverend Mathers, who Jacky suspects has his sights set on her for evil purposes, perhaps even murder. Letters—most of them undelivered—between Jacky and her betrothed Jamie, who is somewhere on a British warship, add a heartfelt layer to the story. Jacky is an unforgettable heroine who undoubtedly will develop a devoted following with this series. Romance, adventure, humor, and social commentary, this one has something for everyone. 2004, Harcourt, Ages 12 up.
—Christopher Moning
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, May 2004: Nearly 500 more pages of Jacky Faber (aka Bloody Jack) adventures! The time is the end of the 18th century, America is a new country, and Jacky is sent to a school in Boston to become a fine lady (with her share of the pirates' treasure from book one, Bloody Jack, reviewed in KLIATT in September 2002). She is smart, so the studies aren't so hard; but the rigid discipline is confining, and Jacky starts sneaking out, sometimes disguised as a boy. The action is fast and furious and the pranks Jacky dreams up are astounding. She is pursued by a grandson of the Puritan minister Cotton Mather, who already has murdered one girl, accusing her of being a witch. She learns to ride a horse, becoming an expert; one of the major scenes is when she takes over for a jockey who is ill, pretending to be him, and wins a race to save her friend's family from financial ruin. She earns money by playing, singing, and dancing in local pubs near the harbor, without the school knowing, of course. Her antics frequently get her into trouble, and she bemoans her impulsiveness but recovers quickly to start anew. The author lives "with his wife in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine." He seems to love the sea, ships, and harbors—with a believable re-creation of life in Boston just after the Revolution. Best of all, the humor and wit make this book a treasure. (An ALA Best Book for YAs.) (A Bloody Jack Adventure). KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2004, Harcourt, 495p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Claire Rosser
School Library Journal

Gr 8 Up

The audacious Jacky Faber is back in L.A. Meyer's fabulous sequel (2004) to Bloody Jack (2002, both Harcourt). In the first novel, Jacky cut her hair, put on boy's clothes, changed her name to Jack, and signed on as a ship's boy aboard a Royal Navy frigate. Jacky thrived at sea and attained the rank of a midshipman. When the Navy discovered she was a girl, they dumped her, albeit with great pomp and ceremony, in Boston. This sequel begins as Jacky leaves behind her beloved Jaimy, disembarks in Boston-in a dress-to attend The Lawson Peabody School for Fine Young Girls. Jacky soon discovers that fighting pirates was a piece of cake compared to circumnavigating the complexities of becoming a lady. She fails at embroidery, but excels at sneaking out of school and playing her pennywhistle in taverns. Jacky falls short in French, but ably learns to ride astride a glorious stallion and compete in a horse race. Her table manners are deplorable, but her sleuthing abilities are top notch when she uncovers the murder of a former classmate. Finally giving up, Jacky abandons her school, in flames (don't ask), and jumps aboard a whaling ship to make her way back to Jaimy. Katherine Kellgren delivers a stunning performance with a myriad of amazing voices. Her cockney Jacky is just right and makes the story more accessible to listeners who may struggle with the Brit-speak. Loyal, clever, sassy, impudent, and just a little bit naughty, Jacky is a protagonist to admire. Simply delightful.-Tricia Melgaard, Centennial Middle School, Broken Arrow, OK

Kirkus Reviews
The sequel to Bloody Jack (2002) is a rousing adventure, short on character development but perfectly delicious in all other ways. Our heroine, London-born Jacky Faber, having been found out as a girl, must leave her ship and the boy she loves, taking her pirate money for tuition at an exclusive girls' school in Boston, 1802. Cheeky as all get out, Jacky sings (lyrics of famous ballads and chanteys throughout), plays the penny whistle and concertina, learns to paint miniatures on ivory, ride a horse, and curtsey. Jacky gets busted to the servants' quarters, but is raised up again, finds herself a good lawyer, and writes many letters to her true love Jaimy. He writes back, and various events are conveyed, but not to their recipients. Jacky wins a horse race, escapes from a predatory preacher, even saves her starchy headmistress from the thrilling end-of-the-story conflagration. But she doesn't reach Jaimy, and the end finds her aboard a whaler, headed toward England. Breathless readers don't have to know the first installment to thrill to this one, but they will long for the next. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher

"Entertaining." —Booklist, starred review

"Sure to please fans of the first title, this adventure-packed historical novel also stands on its own." —School Library Journal

"Compelling." —VOYA (5Q—highest rating)

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Bloody Jack Adventure Series , #2
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)
1120L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

It was a hard comin' I had of it, that's for sure.

It was hard enough comin' up from the brig, the cell down below where they had me kept these past few weeks, squintin' into the light to see all of the dear Dolphin's sailors lined up along the spars of the great masts and in other parts of the riggin', all four hundred of 'em, bless 'em, my mates for the past year and a half, all cheerin' and hallooin' and wavin' me off.

It was hard, too, walkin' across to the quarterdeck, where the officers were all pulled up in their fancy uniforms and where the midshipmen and side boys made two rows for me to walk between on my way off the ship, and there's Jaimy all straight and all beautiful in his new midshipman's uniform, and there's Davy and Tink and Willy, the boys of the Brotherhood to which I so lately belonged, and there's my dear sea-dad Liam lookin' as proud as any father. The Bo'sun's Mate puts his pipe to his lips and starts the warble to pipe me off the Dolphin, my sweet and only home, and I start down between their ranks, but I stop in front of Jaimy and I look at the Captain and I pleads with my teary eyes. The Captain smiles and nods and I fling my arms around Jaimy's neck and kiss him one last time, oh yes I do, and the men cheer all the louder for it, but it was short, oh so short, for too soon my arm is taken and I have to let go of Jaimy, but before I do I feel him press something into my hand and I look down and see that it's a letter. Then I'm led away down the gangway, but I keep my eyes on Jaimy's eyes and my hand clutched around his letter as the Professor hands me up into the carriage that's waitin' at the foot of the gangway. I keeps my eyes on Jaimy as the horses are started and we clatter away, and I rutch around in my seat and stick my head out the window to keep my blurry eyes on him but it's too far away now for me to see his eyes, just him standin' there at the rail lookin' after me, and then the coach goes around a corner and that's all. He's there, and then he's not.

That was the hardest of all. I put my fingertips to my lips where his have just been and I wonder when they will again touch me in that place. If ever...Oh, Jaimy, I worry about you so much 'cause the war's on again with Napoléon and all it takes is one angry cannonball, and oh, God, please.

I leave off what has up to now been fairly gentle weeping and turn to full scale, chest heavin', eyes squeezed shut, open mouth bawlin'.

"Well," says Professor Tilden, sittin' across from me, "you certainly have made a spectacle of yourself today, I must say."

...don't care don't care don't care don't care...

"You should compose yourself now, Miss. The school is not a far ride from the harbor. Here," he says, handing me a handkerchief, "dry your eyes."

The Professor is taking me to the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls, which is where they decided to dump me after that day on the beach when my grand Deception was blown out of the water for good and ever and I was found out to be a girl, which was against the rules. Being a girl, that is. They being the Captain and the Deacon and Tilly. I felt that I should have been allowed to go back to England with them. I wouldn'a caused no trouble-they could have kept me in the brig the whole time if they wanted. But, oh no, that would have been too easy, too reasonable for the Royal Navy. No, far better to kick me off thousands of miles and an ocean away from my intended husband, that being Midshipman James Emerson Fletcher, Jaimy for short. I take Jaimy's letter and put it in my seabag for readin' later, 'cause I know that if I read it now, I'll break down altogether and be a mess.

I know old Tilly, who was the schoolmaster back on the Dolphin, sure liked me much better as a boy. He gets all nervous and fussy around me now, now that I've become a girl. He's right, though. Must pull yourself together now, Miss. Can't show up at the school, where they're gonna make a lady out of me, lookin' like a poor scrub what just crawled out of a Cheapside ditch, and so I takes the bit of cloth from his hand and dabs it at my eyes. I wants to blow my runnin' nose on it but don't want to mess up Tilly's handkerchief so I just snarks it all back and swallows with a big gulp. Tilly shudders and shakes his head.

Right. I've got to put my mind on other things, like this, my first carriage ride...imagine...Jacky Faber, ragged Little Mary of Rooster Charlie's gang of beggars and thieves runnin' all wild through the streets of London, the same sorry little beggar here now, in her first carriage ride, her bottom sitting on a fine leather coach seat. That selfsame bottom is also sitting in its first pair of real drawers it's seen since That Dark Day when my parents and my little sister died and I was tossed out into the street to either live or die. These drawers come down to just above my knees and got flounces on 'em, three on each leg. The dressmaker said that the ruffles were there to keep the dress from clinging too close to the legs. Can't have dresses clinging too close to the legs in oh-so-proper Boston, now, can we?

My dress, now, is surely a fine thing-all black as midnight and waisted high up under my chest and falling in pleats down to the tops of my feet. The bodice comes down low-much lower than I would have thought for Boston, but I've given up trying to figure out that kind of thing as there never seems no sense to it-I mean, we got drawers with ruffles to keep the legs from being too noticeable down below, yet we have the chest in danger of spilling out up top. Don't ask me to explain, 'cause I can't. Anyway, the sleeves are long and end in a bunch of black lace at the wrists. It is the school uniform and it's the finest thing I've ever had on me and I got to say I'm proud to be in it, and I know Jaimy was proud to see me decked out this way on the quarterdeck today. I could see it in his eyes when he looked in mine and the way his chest puffed up under his tight black broadcloth jacket with all the bright gold buttons gleamin' on it.

Deacon Dunne took me out the first day we were docked in Boston, to get me fitted out, as Tilly warn't up to the challenge of being alone with the female me in a female dressmaker's shop. The seamstress there was amazing fast, with her tape whipping all around me up and down and all around. Pins put here and there and chalk marks, too. She got all of my stuff to the ship today-two pairs of drawers, two pairs of black stockings, one dress, one nightshirt with nightcap, one black wool sweater, one chemise, and one black cloak with bonnet-and two hours after it arrived, I was off the ship. They couldn't get rid of me fast enough, the sods.

Everything that I ain't got on is packed away in my seabag with my other stuff that I've picked up along the way-needles, threads, awls, fishing lures, my concertina, my blue dress that I made myself and my Kingston dress, my pennywhistle, and, yes, me shiv, too, 'cause I can't figure out how to keep it in its old place next to my ribs in this dress. Not yet, anyway. And my sailor togs are in there, too-my white dress uniform that I made for myself and the boys and my drawers with the fake cod and my blue sailor cap with HMS DOLPHIN that I'd stitched on the band. And Rooster Charlie's shirt and pants and vest that delivered me from the slums of London and my midshipman's neckerchief and even a midshipman's coat and shirt and britches and cap that I'd got off Midshipman Elliot, who'd outgrown them. I think about that middie's uniform and how everyone on board thought it was such a great joke that I was made a midshipman before they discovered I was a girl. Everyone but me. I earned my commission, I did, and I didn't think it was a joke. Still don't.

Ain't no money in my seabag, though. After paying for my clothes, they gave the rest of my share of the money from the pirate gold to the school to pay for my education in ladyhood. Wisht they had just given me the money and let me make my own way in the world like I always done, but, no-I'm a girl and too stupid to take care of money. That's a man's job, they say. Like I'd be gulled out of my money, me what's as practical and careful with a penny as any miser? Not bloody likely.

Oh, look. There's a row of taverns at the end of that pier. They look like places where I might be able to play my pennywhistle and concertina and maybe make some money after I get settled and know the lay of the land...and look there-there's one called The Pig and Whistle and it's kind of seedy lookin' but it's got a sign with a fat jolly pig playing a whistle just like mine and he's dancin' about and he looks right cheerful.

Ah. There's a bookseller's. And a printer's next to it. Maybe I could pick up some work there, if I have any time off from the school. I wonder how confined I'm going to be. The school couldn't be as tight with its students as the Navy is with its sailors, though, could it? Wonder if the school has lots of books. Coo, wouldn't that be something-all you ever wanted to read right at your fingertips? It's a school. It's got to have a lot of books.

Copyright © 2004 by L. A. Meyer

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Meet the Author

L.A. MEYER was an art teacher, an illustrator, a designer, and a naval officer before he began to write about the impetuous Jacky Faber. He currently operates an art gallery with his wife near their home in a small fishing village on the coast of Maine.

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Curse of the Blue Tattoo 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 92 reviews.
RoseTW More than 1 year ago
I love Mary, the Bloody Jack. She's quirky and gutsy and her devil-may-care personality gets her into trouble more often than not. I bought the first book and was so drawn by her character and adventures, I had to read the rest of them!
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
More adventures of Bloody Jack. I only wonder if she always leaves the secene in ruin? Meyer does a great job of blending current teen concerns with those of a young women in the 18th century. Great historical and cultural detail. My young niece recommended the books to me -- and she is spot on. Highly recommended.
Steven Hinkle More than 1 year ago
i have read all of the books in this series and i love them all cant wait to see what happens next
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Curse of the Blue Tattoo
L.A. Meyer
Harcourt Children's Books
Historical Fiction

What happens when a girl who has been disguised as a ship's boy for the last two years gets put into a lady's school? Jacky Faber in The Curse of the Blue Tattoo finds out. L.A. Meyer writes this exiting and very adventurous book. Jacky has no idea how to be a lady at all. She does not know how to curtsy, eat meals properly, or embroider beautifully like the other girls. Jacky cannot read music or sew very well like most girls her age. She realizes that being a girl is much different than being a boy in this world. It can even be dangerous to do the ¿wrong¿ things like show her knees in public. Jacky can't seem to behave properly, she gets arrested, demoted to serving girl at school and sneaks out at night. She has many other adventures like dealing with a crazy preacher who thinks she is a witch. Jacky comes to the rescue when a jockey gets too sick to ride and her friend Amy's father is about to lose his farm. But good times don't last for Jacky. That night at dinner something terrible happens to Jacky and Amy will never forgive her completely.
Jacky Faber is a fun, energetic and adventurous girl who always does something that gets her into trouble. She is small for her age because she grew up an orphan, starving in the streets of London, England. Her hair is light brown, she has freckles, and is very tan from being on a boat out in the open for two years. A unique trait is a blue tattoo of a ship with dolphins and an anchor that she has on her right hip. This gets her in trouble even though she tries to hide it. Jacky is very self confident and loves singing, dancing, and acting. She and the other ship's boys, all had ¿sea daddys¿ and hers (Liam) gave her a penny whistle which she learned to play quickly. Her biggest thoughts are always of Jaimy, the young man she is engaged to marry. At the ¿Lawson Peabody School For Young Ladys¿ she meets her friend Amy, who has long black hair which she ties back tightly. Amy is of medium build and has poor hygiene. She is kind but serious. Clarrissa Howe is Jacky's enemy. They hate each other very much and try to get each other into trouble. Clarrissa is beautiful with blonde hair and is widely respected by most people because she is extremely rich and has slaves. Jacky hates her for having slaves. The evil preacher, the helpful lawyer, the proud Randall, and the downstairs crew (Annie, Betty, Peg, Rachel, Sylvie...) are all supporting characters who affect Jacky in many different ways, and she changes them too. The characters are all very different with engaging personalities.
This is an excellent book full of adventure and surprises. I would recommend it to anyone age 11 and older who loves action-packed, emotional books with courageous characters. Jacky tells the story in a personal, straight forward way. It is suspenseful and intriguing. The reader will love how Jacky pushes things a little too far and ends up in dangerous situations. This is the second book in a series, the first book, Bloody Jack, is just as exiting and dramatic as Curse of the Blue Tattoo. If you like books that will make you feel a mix of emotions then you will love Curse of the Blue Tattoo.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jacky is on another adventure but this time on land. What got me into this series was how the author described in detail the character's background and to her surroundings and the people around her. I enjoyed this book very much and recommend it to anyone who's starting the bloody jack adventure series.
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SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
Good sequel. Got weird near the end. Writing is still good. Though there's moments where you think, Jacky what are you doing? Or not again! Still a good sequel and the covers are really good. Paint like even. Not a favorite of mine, but glad to have read it.
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