As the first full-length novel in The White Sails Series, DISCERNING GRACE captures the spirit of an independent woman whose feminine lens blows the ordered patriarchal decks of a 19th century tall ship to smithereens.
Wilful Grace Baxter, will not marry old Lord Silverton with his salivary incontinence and dead-mouse stink. Discovering she is a pawn in an arrangement between slobbery Silverton and her calculating father, Grace is devastated when Silverton reveals his true callous nature.
Refusing this fate, Grace resolves to stow away. Heading to the docks, disguised as a lad to ease her escape, she encounters smooth-talking naval recruiter, Gilly, who lures her aboard HMS Discerning with promises of freedom and exploration in South America.
When Grace's big mouth lands her bare-bottomed over a cannon for insubordination, her identity is exposed. The captain wants her back in London but his orders, to chart the icy archipelago of Tierra del Fuego, forbid it. Lieutenant Seamus Fitzwilliam gallantly offers to take Grace off the fretting captain's hands by placing her under his protection.
Grace must now win over the crew she betrayed with her secret, while managing her feelings towards her taciturn protector, whose obstinate chivalry stifles her new-found independence. But when Grace disregards Lieutenant Fitzwilliam's warnings about the dangers of the unexplored archipelago, it costs a friend his life and she realises she is not as free as she believes.
DISCERNING GRACE is historical women's fiction that will appeal to fans of Claire Fraser from Outlander and Demelza Poldark from Poldark—in other words, fans of feisty historical female leads. It is a B.R.A.G.Medallion Honoree.
Historical fiction - so real.
I love that the characters of Grace and Seamus are so real, with strengths and weaknesses, character flaws and a depth of emotion that paints a real picture of who they are. I found myself drawn into their story, experiencing the highs and lows, excitement and trepidation, pain and passion right along with them. This depth of emotion also extends to the hatred and fear of the vile villain Silverton.
The way Emma Lombard has imbedded the journey of Grace and Seamus, sticking as close as possible to historical correctness of the times, only serves to enhance the ‘realness’ of the story.
I found this to be an exciting and compelling read and can’t wait for the next instalment.
Escape to the high seas with Grace
How much adventure can a well-to-do young lady find after running away to sea in 1826? I loved the portrayal of a strong-minded young woman who, after finding out what her conniving father has in store for her with the lecherous Silverton, takes her future into her own hands. Join Grace on the Discerning to find out what life was like out on the open ocean in a tall ship nearly 200 years ago. As loveable as Grace is, she certainly has her foibles too, as do the other characters she finds herself sailing with onboard the ship. Some of the crew are delightful, some downright creepy and one particularly dishy gentleman. They are all woven together in a fun epic, which, to my delight, continues on for three books. I can’t wait to continue reading Grace’s story in the next instalment.
Fabulous adventure, so well written!
I love this book so much! Ms Lombard’s words paint such clear pictures of the characters that they quickly endear themselves to you like old friends, except for a few villains that you will soon love to hate - especially Lord Silverton, who is so vividly described as to be impossible to not be repulsed.
I thoroughly enjoyed being swept up in Grace’s adventure as a co conspirator, keeping secrets and taking sides. With just the right mixture of adventure, action, and a sprinkle of romance I have genuinely laughed out loud at times, and then been so sad at other parts that I needed to make a cup of tea before continuing.
I heartily recommend this book to anyone who enjoys leaving reality behind them for a while to be immersed in another time and place; and am eagerly waiting to find out what happens next.