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Swept to Sea (Ladies of the Caribbean) Paperback – August 1, 2016
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About the Author
Heather Manning is a young lady who loves to read-and write. She has won multiple competitions for her writing with "Nextgen Writers" and placed first in some writing contests with the "Go Teen Writers" blog and is a proud member of ACFW. She lives in Kansas City, Missouri where she attends high school, acts in community theatre, eats donuts, and reads every Inspirational Historical Romance she can get her hands on.
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My take: This novel was such a delightful read. I found Heather Manning on Hometown Reads, a fabulous little site that helps readers find local authors in their hometown. She was 16 at the time that she wrote this novel, and, while some aspects in characterization and dialogue showed her youth, the novel as a whole easily compared to many other Christian fiction novels on the market. The author incorporated the religious aspects well, highlighting the faith of the characters without force-feeding it to the reader. Historically, she seemed to have all her facts in place with one exception; the difference between a pirate and a privateer was not explained until nearly 100 pages in. At its most basic, a privateer is legal and a pirate is not (The Mariners’ Museum and Park gives a good explanation here). If I did not have this advance knowledge, I would have viewed Caspian’s character quite differently. All in all though, this book made for a light, fun, weekend read. I’m looking forward to seeing more from this author.
So why do I say it was like reading a Disney Pixar movie? First off, you had your heroine -- Lady Eden Trenton -- who leads a troubled life and wants to escape to a better reality. Along the way she meets a handsome "pirate" -- Caspian -- and though at first their relationship is strained, eventually they learn to like each other and have an adventure on the high seas, with battles and pirates mixed in. Eden also has two friends who chase after her as a side quest because Eden's abusive fiance is seeking revenge for her running away.
All-in-all, the makings of a Disney movie!
I liked how the book was written, what with its accurate period-references and jargon and descriptions. You felt like you were in 17th century London/Caribbean. I respected Caspian and Eden was fleshed-out pretty well. Her friends, Aimee and Ivy, felt like the comic relief in a way, even though they had a pretty dark storyline (how they get dragged into the adventure is rather cruel, to say the least). Lord Rutger. You will HATE Lord Rutger. He's one of those villains that you just hate. This man is cruel and abusive. The things he would do to Eden are hinted at, and they aren't pleasant.
The biggest flaw in the characters that was the similarity between Captain Matthew and Captain Caspian. Caspian is established as Lord Rutger's foil. He won't abuse Eden and he tried to help her until she finally trusts him. You'll respect Caspian. Then, in a different stoyline (this book is written in multiple POVs), you meet Matthew...and the entire time I felt as if he was a lighter version of Caspian. We had already seen this character IN Caspian, so it felt redundant to have another man who acted almost the exact same way. It's admirable, but too similar.
The battles were fairly well-written. The first one, I didn't feel as if there was any real danger because we never got to "see" it. The entire battle was written from Eden's POV, and she was in the Captain's Chamber the entire time. However, once we see fights and battles from Caspian's POV, the excitement and danger level goes up, which I liked.
To say the least, the conflict in the later half of the book was better than the conflict in the first half.
Overall, this book will be enjoyed more by the younger YA crowd...like between ages 10-17...more than the older crowd or adults. There will be a sequel, so look for it!
I really enjoyed this story, especially since it had a message of faith weaved into it. Eden was a likeable character and her feisty nature made me laugh more than once. Caspian was just mysterious enough to make you wonder if he was a hero or a villain at the beginning of the story and it kept me reading. In fact, it only took me about four days to finish it. I’m excited to read the sequel.