The TBR Challenge theme this month was to choose a book that a friend had recommended but had you hadn’t gotten around to reading yet. I chose this one because Ames had loved it and after reading her review and having her recommend it to me personally I thought it would be a good read…and it was.
American privateer Captain David Fletcher needs a surgeon for his wounded brother. But when he captures a British merchantman in the Caribbean, what he gets is Charley Alcott, an apprentice physician barely old enough to shave. Needs take priority over skill, and Captain Fletcher whisks the prisoner aboard his ship with orders to do his best or he’ll be walking the plank.
Charley Alcott’s medical skills are being put to the test in a life-or-death situation–Charley’s life as well as the patient’s. Even if Charley can save the captain’s brother, there will still be hell to pay, and maybe a plank to walk, when Captain Fletcher learns Charley is really Charlotte Alcott.
A war is raging on the world’s oceans, and two enemies will fight their own battles and their attraction to each other as they undergo a sea change neither of them is expecting, but cannot deny…
Charley Alcott aka Charlotte was practically raised as boy. Her mother had died and since her physician father didn’t know what to do with her he dressed her as a boy and took her with him on his patient rounds. Charley wanted nothing more than to be a doctor and continue the good work her father started before he died. But Charley is a woman and heaven forbid a woman become a doctor – they’re just not intelligent enough! At least that’s was the thinking way back when. After her father dies Charley has no family that she can contact and no where to go. She decides that she should go to Jamaica where her godfather (who is also a physician) lives and hope that he can take her in. She acts like a young man and contacts a ship captain telling him that she’ll act as his physician on the ship while they sail in exchange for passage. Since the captain’s wife is pregnant the man agrees and they set sail.
While at sea their ship is stopped and a band of pirates confiscates their medical supplies…and Charley. But Charley soon learns that they are not pirates but American Privateers and that’s not good as their countries are at war! Charley thinks of herself as a physician though and she helps the captains brother and ends up healing a great many of the crew as well – with them all thinking that she is a he.
The captain, David Fletcher, begins a friendship with Charley and he loves playing chess with the boy and talking over books and politics. He soon finds though that he’s attracted to Charley and that’s just not right according to his thinking! He is about to give in to his attraction when he finds out that Charley’s a woman! He’s pissed yet overjoyed as many men would be and they soon become lovers. But they both know that their relationship can go no further. They are from warring worlds and nowhere Charley goes can she practice her medicine. When tragedy strikes the ship though their hopes are forever taken from them.
This book looked interesting but after Ames reviewed it I have to say that I was even more convinced I should read the story. I’m so glad I did. I really enjoyed Marshall’s writing and look forward to reading more of her work.
The friendship and romance between David and Charley was fantastic. I loved seeing their friendship flourish throughout the book and not end once David discovered her secret. It happens so often in a book that once a couple gets to know each other and then moves on to the more intimate portion of their relationship that the story is then all about the bed play. While there was certainly plenty of that the connection between the couple’s minds didn’t diminish and I loved that.
Both David and Charley were incredibly strong personalities and characters and the author let them have their heads so to speak. They weren’t afraid to argue with each other or tell the other exactly what was on their mind. the fact that they could do that and not have a ton of angst really made my day. I love when an author can show a couple arguing and not have one stomp off! lol Sounds so simple but it happens so infrequently!
My only niggle with the book was the last chapter or so. I thought that while we got to see Charley in a more womanly role – that she really didn’t care for btw – it seemed a little too drawn out to me. While I was happy with the HEA, the ending portion really didn’t do all that much for me and I was more than a bit disappointed. I hate to say that because the rest of the book was so very good but…there it is.
Despite the ending I really loved the book and highly recommend it. (I LOVE the cover of the book. That model is, in a word, yummy.)
Rating: 4 out of 5