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Friday, 18 October 2013

High jinx on the High Seas - NEW ZEALAND, MADEIRA, SOUTH AFRICA

Close to the Wind by Zana Bell set in New Zealand, Funchal and Cape Town

"It doesn't seem fair that New Zealand should have quite so many beautiful corners tucked away...." (from Close to the Wind)

Click on the cover to find out more
The year is 1868. This is the story of Georgiana da Silva, living with her Aunt, and betrothed to Jasper. But she soon overhears a conversation that turns her world on its head. Her brother Charlie is, it seems, terribly ill in New Zealand, and based on what she has heard, she determines to flee to his bedside, as he could be in mortal danger - it is the time of the Gold Rush, and Jasper and his cronies certainly have a plan to make the gold theirs.

From England, she leaps aboard the 'Sally', disguised as a young lad. First land stop is Funchal, where she beings to bond with handsome Harry, the captain in command of the rather rickety ship, and now the dance of romance can begin. On to Cape Town, and the final stop, via Christchurch, is Dunedin. Oh, the vagaries of true love, handsome men, whose muscles ripple and whose bodies are as 'taut as a drawn bow'. Horses, adventure, rakish pursuers, swashbuckling fights and fisticuffs, blind alleys, and villains who are rotten to the core - the story, as it moves along, is told with aplomb. Formulaic in plot progression, it nevertheless offers a comforting, feel-good factor as our heroine marches forward with determination and sharp thinking.

Georgie is a charming and feisty heroine, Harry is a morally upstanding beau. Much of the novel takes place on the high seas, but offers delightful vignettes of period life in Madeira and South Africa, as well as the final destination of New Zealand. On the cover of our copy, it does says 'Love, Passion and Adventure in 1860s New Zealand', which is actually rather misleading, as arrival in the country only happens about three-fifths of the way into the book.

If you like romps that cover the world via the high seas, we have reviewed another novel, also from the ChocLit Uk stable, and it's here on our archive: The Gilded Fan by Christina Courtenay.

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