Friday, July 24, 2015
New Review: Jo Goodman’s SEASWEPT ABANDON – Slightly Improbable but At Times Exciting Story set in the time of the Revolutionary War
The story begins in New York sometime during the Revolutionary War (no date is given but it was before Yorktown so I’d estimate 1781-82). Rahab McClellan (Rahab, as in the name of the prostitute in the city of Jericho in the Bible story) is living with her brother, Salem, and his wife Ashley. Knowing Rahab wants to be involved in the war, Ashley sends her sister-in-law to a tavern to carry a message to a man working for the rebels. Rahab is delighted, no matter the danger. Which is characteristic of this heroine… she is reckless.
The only women in the tavern are whores servicing the Redcoats, which seems an unlikely place for a lady to be delivering messages. When Rahab takes on the role of a serving wench (not a part of the plan) and the bartender suggests she make her appearance more alluring for the customers, she complies. While serving customers, she knifes one who tries to grab her, killing him. When the men in the tavern threaten her, she is saved by a man named Jericho (yep, same city) Smith. Jericho is actually the guy who was waiting for the courier who he thought would be Ashley.
Jericho takes Rahab to General Washington’s schooner, which is oddly devoid of any crew. There she suddenly comes down with a case of amnesia and can’t remember who she is. She and Jericho fight like cats and dogs. Jericho tells her she is a whore and she accepts it. (Are you still with me?) Of course they are attracted to each other. And, not surprisingly, given all this, Jericho thinks he’ll have a quick tumble with her. After all, she is a whore, right? She certainly sheds her clothes like one.
About a third of the way through the story we begin to get a sense that there’s a war going and the characters get briefly involved in it. And then the story moves to England and the war is forgotten. There, we discover that Jericho is actually Goeffrey Hunter-Smythe, the Earl of Stanhope and he intends to recover his title.
Readers might note this reads like a Regency with terms of that period (pelisse, set down, missish, sirrah, etc.). Once the story moves to England, it seems to fit.
The author writes well and the story, while a bit improbable, has many twists and turns. The heroine is at times the gentle lady and at times the curse-spewing shrew. Hard to know the real woman.
I did not read the first book in this series. Since this story refers to other characters and the first book, I would suggest reading the series in order:
Seaswept AbandonTempting Torment