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Jewels on the Water: A Song of Songs (Volume 1) Paperback – November 15, 2017
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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About the Author
About the Author I love to watch my giant plecostomus (sucker fish) hang upside down in his tank. I love to spoil my six grandchildren and spend time with friends. A voracious reader all my life, I surprised myself by discovering I love to write stories. The first idea rolled downhill in 2016 and dislodged an avalanche. I am busy trying to get them at least outlined as more ideas roll my way. I love everything Narnian. And from the world of Jane Austen. And just about any story where the bad guy ‘gets it’ and the good guy goes home with the good girl. I am blessed to have had the rare experience of being cherished by many godly men who now show up as the heroes in my stories. My father was quite possibly the best Dad—ever. And my husband of more than three decades is my best friend as well as the love of my life. Together we have three handsome, smart, tall, athletic, kind, and awesome sons who have in turn produced superlative words-fail-me grandchildren. I kissed my husband for the first time in Psychology Lab 101. He was blindfolded and hooked up to a millivoltmeter at the time. Truly! Our assignment was to surprise some willing but unsuspecting victim—I mean volunteer—and measure their reaction with the millivoltmeter. My group routinely got the needle on the meter to stand straight up when other groups were having trouble getting it to move at all. When it was my turn to find a volunteer, I walked out of the Science Building into the ‘Valley’ and just happened to notice this cute guy I suspected had a crush on me. (I didn’t hate him, either.) Of course, since I was doing the kissing, I couldn’t see the meter. But I was assured by three other lab mates that the needle pegged three times in rapid succession before standing straight up. I made an A on that paper. And now I’m enjoying writing about kissing once again! I hope you enjoy reading my stories as much as I did writing them!
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This barely qualifies as JAFF. The story's hero is Charles and Jane Bingley's son, Thomas, rather than one of the principal characters of Pride and Prejudice, though, putting it in marginal territory. Jane, Charles, Elizabeth and Darcy do make their appearances in later chapters, as does Colonel Fitzwilliam (now the Earl of Matlock after the deaths of his father and older brother).
Thomas is the Bingleys' second son. He has a large business interest in the family's Gardiner-Bingley Enterprises and owns the SS Amelia Rose, one of their primary ships for transporting goods in and out of England. He's an honorable man, good at captaining his ship. Tom enjoys his role at sea and, when he's on shore, enjoys spending time with the rest of his family. He's perfectly content with his life as it is and isn't particularly interested in marriage at the moment.
This particular voyage has a mysterious passenger, Lady Rachel Warren. She was booked at the last minute and is on board without either a companion or a guardian, which is especially peculiar since she is the lone female on a ship that will be at sea for weeks at a time. As days go by and Tom has more opportunities to observe her closely, he realizes that she suffers from ill health. Making inquiries, he learns that her brother Elliott is well known as a despicable character who has squandered the family fortune. Tom also observes that Rachel's presence has a civilizing effect on his entire crew, and even on himself.
Unfortunately, that's my main complaint about the story. As sweet and kind as Lady Rachel is, I had trouble with the credibility of all these men behaving so solicitously toward her. In a perfect world, yes, but when one considers the era, the average seaman's background, and the circumstances these men worked in, it seems too fairy tale-like that none of them would be crude or behave inappropriately around her.
Quotes taken from Solomon's Song of Songs in the Bible precede each chapter. They're taken from The Message, which is a beautiful translation, but after the first couple of chapters, I wasn't always able to identify the connection between the passage cited and the development of the story in the chapter that followed. Perhaps that's my own lack of insight, but I would've liked to see more obvious correlations.
Not surprisingly, Tom and Rachel fall in love. Their marriage at sea is a particularly dramatic scene. After surviving a furious storm, the ship makes it to Saint Lucia, and Tom finally learns the entirety of Rachel's story.
When Tom returns to England, his family's support is overwhelming. The table is set for a huge confrontation with the evildoer. Unfortunately, it fizzles to nothing.
The story gets kind of preachy. Forgiveness is a lovely attribute, but it doesn't make for a very dramatic ending. The whole moral of the story can be taken from the Bible verse (though this one isn't cited) where Joseph says in Genesis: "As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good." At least the villain doesn't live happily ever after, which would've really bugged me. It does bother me, however, that another villain's actions against the lady are never addressed.
The quality of the writing itself is quite good, and the characters are all well defined. Love the personalities of some of the various crewmen, especially O'Hara and Kumar. I must also compliment the obvious research into the workings of a merchant sailing ship of that era with the recent design addition of an engine-driven propeller to allow the ship to remain moving when the winds are still.
Although the content is deeply religious and clean, be aware that there is non-graphic description of violent assault, rape, and whipping.
Also be aware that this book concludes at 77%. The rest gives descriptions of two other books by this author and a preview of a third book, which is a companion to this one.
And I hope there will be many more P&P sequels by Rachel Elizabeth -- bravo...well done.
This is a meticulously researched and detailed story, full of nautical terms which are fully explained without becoming tedious. The action is steady and mostly believable, and I had a hard time putting the story down until it was finished. My only complaint is certain graphic descriptions of medical treatments which I felt did not need to be dwelt on as much as they were. I am also recommending that the author include a trigger warning, as the book deals frankly with abuse and rape. For that reason alone I am giving this otherwise excellent story four stars instead of five.
The Kindle edition of this story ends at about the 77% mark, and the remainder of the book is previews of the author's other works. Based on those previews and on this book I expect we will hear much more from Ms. Elizabeth in the future. I look forward to reading more of her work! Thank you, Ms. Elizabeth, for adding to and enriching the JAFF world!