Publisher: Regal Crest
Dr. Julia Blanchard, a marine archaeologist, and her team of divers have spent almost eighteen months excavating the remains of a ship found a few miles off the coast of Georgia. Although they learn quite a bit about the nineteenth century sailing vessel, they have found nothing that would reveal the identity of the ship they have nicknamed “The Georgia Peach.”
Consumed by the excavation of the mysterious ship, Julia’s relationship with her partner, Amy, has deteriorated. When she forgets Amy’s birthday and finds her celebrating in the arms of another woman, Julia returns alone to the Peach site. Caught in a violent storm, she finds herself separated from her boat and adrift on the vast Atlantic Ocean.
Her rescue at sea leads her on an unexpected journey into the true identity of the Peach and the captain and crew who called it their home. Her travels take her to the island of Martinique, the eastern Caribbean islands, the Louisiana German Coast and New Orleans at the close of the War of 1812.
How had the Peach come to rest in the waters off the Georgia coast? What had become of her alluring and enigmatic captain, Simone Moreau? Can love conquer everything, even time? On a voyage that lifts her spirits and eventually breaks her heart, Julia discovers the identity of the ship she had been excavating and the fate of its crew. Along the way she also discovers the true meaning of love which can be as boundless and unpredictable as the ocean itself.
[Originally posted on Amazon 4/20/10]
I swear I must have read a different book than everyone else who has reviewed it so far. I bought The Sea Hawk because I thought it would be a nice addition to my small, yet treasured, lesbian pirate library, and a large part of my decision was based on the reviews on Amazon. I was horribly disappointed.
The main character, Julia, remains almost a complete unknown to the reader throughout the book. I never had a handle on who she really was as a person, other than not terribly interesting or likable. Near the beginning she has this thought: Hell, at this point I’d fuck his mother for a drink of fresh water! How charming. Later she starts to introduce herself to people on the ship as Doctor Blanchard. I guess she’s one of those stuck up types, since she’s a PhD, not a medical doctor.
Little bits of info would just get dropped out of the blue as revelations that didn’t seem to relate to anything else previously mentioned in the story. About 2/3 of the way into the book this passage pops up: She could not have traveled so far in time and place to finally find the love she had been looking for… What? She’d been looking for a love? No wonder her partner had been cheating on her back in her own time. Maybe that should have been mentioned earlier in the book to give it some meaning?
Later Julia feels like she can’t go on living without Simone, yet they’ve hardly spent any time together. Julia avoided her for over a month and then they spent a long time on separate ships. Another out of the blue statement was Julia saying she didn’t belong in that time. News to the reader! She’d been there for months and nothing even hinting that she felt that way had been stated any earlier. I could go on and on about many of the nonsensical things (like her thought that she’d never been naked in front of a woman without having sex – yet she’s a swimmer and diver – what about all those locker rooms?) or all the examples of people just knowing things that are never established.
Simone’s character isn’t really developed any better, and in some ways it’s worse. She has a lover when Julia comes on the scene, but I guess it’s okay for Simone to just dump the old without a by-your-leave since she didn’t actually love her, despite forming a family with her. Julia refers to Simone as being honorable, which is laughable in light of the fact she killed two men in cold blood near the beginning of the book and then whipped her lover. No, not kinky play whipping. Her lover was an ex-slave, but Simone tied her to a post and whipped her as a punishment.
The writing was sometimes passable, but usually dull, and scattered throughout the book were these odd sentences where the second half is practically a non-sequitur. Which always brings reading to a screeching halt. Things like: Although they were not assigned to the same ship, Simone was impressed by the firepower aboard the Carolina. And: Wheeling the Jeep into her usual parking space, Frankie followed Damian up the stairs to the Institute’s front doors.
And then there are the inaccuracies that drove me completely bonkers. A few examples: Simone apparently carries a musket around in her waist sash. A musket? Really? Matches are in use on the ship, which is interesting since they hadn’t been invented yet. A maid is seated at the ship’s table with officers and the wealthy family she works for. Amazingly enough Julia has a private cabin on all three ships she’s on, even though she joins them mid-voyage. It’s stated that Simone keeps a daily log for no other reason than to pass the time. How about the reason that all ship captains kept a daily ship log? After a long time at sea fresh bread, fruit, and cheese are served. The hold is called a keel, the figurehead is called a masthead, and “wheel deck” is constantly used. I can only assume the author meant quarterdeck.
To sum up, the story idea had a lot of promise, but execution was extremely lacking. The characters were not interesting, and not even particularly likable. The only relationship that seemed to have any real depth was between Julia and the son of Simone’s lover. The book apparently had very little editorial help to catch all the errors and cliché-ridden dialogue and passages.
The only reason I finished reading the book was so I could feel fully justified in writing this review. As for the ending, I did see it coming, and it left me feeling rather squicked out.
Kindle Note: I purchased the ebook in mobi format from the publisher at Allied Crest Editions. The ebook had a few issues such as spaces missing in place names that were more than one word, no page breaks between chapters, and paragraphs aren’t indented, just a slightly wider space than usual is used between paragraphs. I don’t know if the Kindle edition being sold on Amazon has the same problems.