In 1812, Elinor Pembroke wakes to find her bedchamber in flames—and extinguishes them with a thought.
At 21, she is old to manifest magical talent, but the evidence is unmistakable: she not only has the ability to start fires, but the far more powerful ability to control and extinguish them. She is an Extraordinary, and the only one in England capable of wielding fire in over one hundred years.
As an Extraordinary, she is respected and feared, but to her father, she represents power and prestige for himself. Mr. Pembroke, having spent his life studying magic, is determined to control Elinor and her talent by forcing her to marry where he chooses, a marriage that will produce even more powerful offspring. Trapped between the choices of a loveless marriage or living penniless and dependent on her parents, Elinor takes a third path: she defies tradition and society to join the Royal Navy.
Assigned to serve under Captain Miles Ramsay aboard the frigate Athena, she turns her fiery talent on England’s enemies, French privateers and vicious pirates preying on English ships in the Caribbean. At first feared by her shipmates, a growing number of victories make her truly part of Athena’s crew and bring her joy in her fire. But as her power grows and changes in unexpected ways, Elinor’s ability to control it is challenged.
She may have the power to destroy her enemies utterly—but could it be at the cost of her own life?
About the Author
Cat Gould grew up in Sydney, Australia, and after extensive travel moved to the United States in 1990. A classically trained actress with a BFA from Southern Oregon University, she has performed in many regional productions.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I love stories set in the regency time period! I also love fantasy stories, and pirate stories. I felt like this book was written for me! I was really hoping it would live up to my expectations. Um, yeah! It definitely did! I loved Elinor! The story is told from Elinor’s perspective, so the reader really gets to know her. I admired the way she took control of her life, and then worked through whatever that choice brought. She had such great strength and spirit, and was also humble and kind. Captain Ramsay was perfect! Not in an annoying, unrealistic way, but in a pure-hearted, strong leader, complete gentleman way. The unique story pulled me in and I couldn’t stop reading, especially after the first battle! The twists just kept coming and I had to know what happened next. There is some mild, sailor’s, profanity used, but the romance in the book is clean. This was my introduction to Melissa McShane’s work. I will be looking at her other books, and anxiously awaiting the next book in this series.
This book easily made my top 5 favorite reads for 2016. The writing, the characterization, and the world-building were all exquisite. From the moment I started the book, I couldn't put it down. I read it during my breaks at work, while in line at the post office, and pretty much everywhere else I went. The only bad thing about this book is the fact that, since it was just released, I can't immediately pick up the sequel and continue reading about Elinor's adventures. When the book opens, Elinor has just discovered her powers. Through this momentous event, the author explores shifts in family dynamics and Elinor's suitability as a bride. Setting this novel in Regency England allowed the author to explore the role of women in society during that time period, which she did in a masterful way. The book is peppered with references to Elinor's respectability and how public perception mattered more than truth. Her life was dominated by her father until she found the determination to escape and choose a path different those those he offered her. Elinor herself is a marvelous character. She is strong-willed, independent, and gutsy (not to mention incredibly powerful). We see her on a journey of discovery, both of herself and of her powers. What I liked the most about this book is that Elinor experiences consequences for her actions. She goes to war against the pirates, does gruesome things, and has to find a way to live with her choices. At one point, she must struggle to survive on her own and she uses her intelligence and grit to make it through. The romance in this book was exquisitely done, as was the dialogue. As a matter of fact, both were almost Austen-esque in their execution. The banter was witty and highly engaging and the softer, quieter moments were done just as skillfully. Elinor's immersion into the crew was handled incredibly well and the reader came to care just as much for the secondary characters as she did. Regarding her romantic love interest, the slow burn of their romance was handled perfectly. Before there was any romantic interest, they developed a very solid friendship (Although I will admit to rooting for the pair of them the entire novel). Additionally, the concept of a romance is not introduced (except for a few sleazy men who end up burned), until Elinor has decided who she will be and the path she will take. Overall, this was a highly enjoyable, engaging read. I already know that I will be buying a copy of this book and pre-ordering the entire rest of the series. I would recommend this to anybody who enjoys a strong female character, adventure, and magic. *I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review*
This was a great book--a mix of Regency, swashbuckling, and coming of age. I really enjoyed reading it, and was drawn in from page one. The heroine was relatable, strong, believable, and someone for readers to admire. Some may feel that it took a bit for the story to really get going, but that background was necessary for the reader to understand why Elinor was driven to take the life-altering step to join the Royal Navy. The setting was very well described, and just enough explanation was given about various aspects of ship life for the reader to understand what was going on without being bored by too many details. I really enjoyed the character of Elinor, as well as Captain Ramsay. Elinor's relationships with everyone on board the ship was interesting to watch unfold. I also liked watching Elinor come into her powers, learn how to use and control them, and see just what her limits could be. My only problem with the book was that the ending was just a bit too abrupt. It seemed to end up perfectly with everything tied up with a nice bow on top, when some of the issues Elinor and Ramsay must face were extremely intense. I would have liked a little more time to have been spent addressing those issues. If felt slightly glossed over. I really did enjoy reading this book, however, and look forward to reading more about Elinor's adventures in later books. I would absolutely recommend this book.