BOOK REVIEW: BARBADOS BOUND by Linda Collison

This was my first sampling of Linda Collison’s writing, and I add her to my list of recommended writers of nautical fiction. And that says a lot coming from someone like me who does not prefer first person narrative or female protagonists! So, my friends, be prepared to delve into yet another compelling Age of Sail series.

In Barbados Bound, Linda introduces us to her heroine, Patricia Kelley, when Patricia is just a girl stowing away on a merchant ship bound from England to the West Indies. At first  the young Englishwoman comes across as a bit haughty because she feels an entitlement to her gentleman-planter father’s estate in Barbados. But once she finally makes it to Barbados, she finds that things aren’t as she had been promised. The journey to arrive there and the trials she suffers afterwards molds the character into one the reader cares about.

Linda Collison provides a unique narrative in the genre of Age of Sail fiction by letting the reader experience the wooden world through the eyes of a young woman instead of the usual naval officer present in so many other books of the genre. The reader gets a real sense of what it was like in society to be a woman back then, a society worlds different from what today’s woman experiences. As Patricia quickly learns, a woman’s life was only worth as much as that of her husband, should she be “fortunate” enough to find one. Patricia does indeed find a husband, though not necessarily the one she wants, and thus she acquires the name MacPherson.

The story culminates with the British siege of Havana and opens the door wide for the continuation of the series, which is Surgeon’s Mate. Here’s to the future adventures of Patricia “Patrick” MacPherson!

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