An enjoyable read.
WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT
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.
WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK
Discerning Grace by Emma Lombard is an excellent historical fiction. It charts Grace’s tempestuous journey aboard a ship full of men in the nineteenth century.
It has a fast-moving plot and features relatable, flawed characters. Some of their decisions irritated me but that is what makes them human and moves the plot forward.
I loved the romance blossoming between Grace and Seamus. Their devotion to each other endeared them to me, and I would like to read more about them in the upcoming sequels.
Grace was my favorite character in this book. She is a strong girl unwilling to accept a loveless marriage to a scoundrel imposed by her father. She flees to make her destiny and lands on a ship full of men. Disguised as a boy, she makes her place in the harsh conditions of a British Navy ship, only to blow off her disguise with her impulsiveness.
Grace’s impulsiveness stands out the most followed by her compassion. She would act impulsively but then would regret her decisions. She is also sensitive towards the pains of her compatriots.
Discerning Grace is a beautiful story since the author not only allows romance to blossom in the story but also lets Grace be a part of a tightly-knit crew on a ship. They work hard, sweat a lot, curse even more, and go to sleep with weary bones. Because of vividly descriptive writing, I felt the camaraderie between the sailors on the ship as I was one of the crew members. I am glad that Grace felt that too.
It’s a testament to Lombard’s writing prowess that I connected with Grace so much. Her impulsive actions would have me tearing out my hair while her attempts at saving her friends from punishment on the ship won my heart. Her attempts to persuade Seamus to be gentle towards his subordinates endeared me to her.
I loved Seamus as well. He is a taciturn man who offers Grace his protection, once it is revealed she is a girl, and then falls in love with her. Initially, he is stubborn and a tad dominating however, under Grace’s gentle persuasion soon mends his ways and lets Grace take her own decisions. He is also a valiant man and devoted to his crew.
The supporting characters are brilliant too. I cared for each of the good guys who protected and befriended Grace while I despised every evil guy who harmed her.
To sum up, this is a brilliant piece of historical fiction that engrossed me till the wee hours of the night. Highly recommended for every fiction lover.
Genre: Historical Fiction || Pages: 370 || Published on February 22nd 2021 by Emma Lombard
Many thanks to Love Books Tours for organizing this blog tour. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book. This does not affect my opinion on the book. I opted to provide an honest review on my blog.
Emma Lombard was born in Pontefract in the UK. She grew up in Africa—calling Zimbabwe and South Africa home for a few years—before finally settling in Brisbane Australia, and raising four boys. Before she started writing historical fiction, she was a freelance editor in the corporate world, which was definitely not half as exciting as writing rollicking romantic adventures. Her characters are fearless seafarers, even though in real life Emma gets disastrously sea sick. Discerning Grace is the first book in The White Sails Series.
Author Link(s): Website