Sea Witch by Helen Hollick.
Romance and adventure set during the times of the the swashbuckling seventeenth century and early eighteenth century give splendour to the story of “Sea Witch” which is a ship named after Tiola Oldstagh, whose name in an anagram means “All that is good.”
The two main characters, Jesamiah Acorne and Tiola Oldstagh come from very unlikely backgrounds which tend to fascinate and also shock. Tiola, from a coastal village in England from which she had been forced to flee with the assistance of family members and Jesamiah from a plantation in the New World, where he had been obliged to move on and make a new life for himself. Tiola and Jesamiah learn to overcome their background family traumas to hopefully move on to a better life. Tiola and Jesamiah both seem to have been victimised as a consequence of events beyond their control. Tiola should have been free to pursue a happy life and eventual marriage in her home village which would have been expected in those times. Jesamiah should have been welcome to work or pursue a career at his father’s plantation.
The story is quite enchanting with a romance between Tiola and Jesamiah The fantasy aspects of the story appeal and are quite refreshing. Sometimes mystical, sometimes magical or was it only a drream? Quite fascinating!
Tiola is beautiful. Almost like a sea nymph. She is also gifted with special healing talents aided by concoctions from medicinal herbs. Jesamiah seems to be more of a complex character. He is fascinating and popular with his sea going friends. Jesamiah, with his blue ribbons in his wind-swept hair on board a ship appeals. This is the first time Tiola glimpses him from the deck of another ship.
The settings of the story are exotic and different.e.g. Cape Town in South Africa and the Bahamas, Nasau and Port Royal. The descriptions given in the story bring the reader to the far off and distant places, often portrayed with vivid landscapes, as for example the beautiful scenery at Table Mountain, Cape Town in the early days. The author has realistically evoked the far off times and the places well with wonderful descriptions which give colour, brightness and beauty to the novel.
Piracy on the high seas and the adventures of a likeable pirate, Jesamiah Acorne, make this story believable and wonderful. Other characters in the story, e.g. Rue, a friend and sea-going companion of Jesamiah and Jenny, a companion/nurse/governess of Tiola give added depth to the story. Several of the characters are fascinating to read about, including William Dampier, Mr Overvanstratton, governors, sea-captains, sea-crew and acquaintances, including people Jesamiah has known from his past.
It was interesting to read of nautical terms and learn more about the sailing of the ships. The book gives very good descriptions of the complexities involved during those times of the master and crew sailing the ship.
There is an index given in the book of the nautical terms.
I look forward to following the story of Tiola and Jesamiah in the following books in the series “Pirate Code” “Bring It Closer” and “Ripples in the Sand.” I loved the romance and adventure of the story and the descriptions given on land and on the ocean wave were magnificent. Sea battles, chases, the lure of the ocean, romance and humour make for an enjoyable read!
This book is bright and wonderful. Jesamiah is a bold and adventurous pirate.