Tuesday, April 23, 2013

New Review: Laurie McBain’s WILD BELLS TO THE WILD SKY – Enthralling Tale of Queen Elizabeth’s Sea Dogs–a Great Love Story--a Keeper!

Few authors can come close to the masterful storytelling of Laurie McBain, which is why I am one of her fans. With an amazingly complex plot, this one features prejudice, treachery, threats to the queen, spies, gypsies and high seas adventure making it one of her best. I highly recommend it.

Lily Christian was the product of a marriage between her English father, a privateer for Queen Elizabeth I, and her aristocratic Spanish mother who met Lily’s father when he captured a Spanish galleon on which the Spanish beauty was traveling with her family. 

Like her mother before her, Lily is beautiful with dark auburn hair, but she has her father’s green eyes and his love of adventure. Even as a child Lily was climbing with him the rigging of his ship. When treachery results in her father’s death and his ship being sunk by a vengeful Spanish uncle, Lily and her mother and their father’s friend, Basil Whitelaw, escape to become castaways on an island in the West Indies. Seven years later, when Lily is 14, Valentine Whitelaw, Basil’s younger brother and one of the queen’s favorite privateers, rescues Lily. And she falls in love with the dashing captain who, much to her dismay, confides to his mistress that he thinks of Lily as only the daughter of a friend.

McBain’s style is to build the story slowly adding layer upon layer of meticulous detail as she carefully weaves together many disparate threads. This tale from Elizabethan England (and the West Indies) is incredibly well crafted, with endearing characters (including Lily’s siblings and a pet monkey and parrot and real persons like Queen Elizabeth I and William Shakespeare), and rich in historic detail. Oh yes, and a surprise at the end I did not see coming!

Lily is a special heroine, always unselfishly caring for others and sacrificing her own desires. Valentine is a noble hero who will take most of the story to recognize the woman destined for him.

You may have to purchase it used, as I did, but it will be worth it, I promise!

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