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Summary: It’s 1799. Constance has never known her mother, who disappeared when she was a baby. Her father, the stern captain of the ship Good Bess, has gone to Ceylon to follow a clue to her whereabouts. Constance stows away, and when they arrive, she meets someone who will change her life. Alexandre is a poor pearl diver who longs to return to his native France. Despite their social class differences, the two team up to search for answers about Constance’s missing mother.
Review: I don’t have too much to say about this book. It’s a really quick read and not very complex. None of the characters seemed particularly memorable to me. Constance’s father had some depth but he’s still very much an archetype, as were Constance’s spoiled, flirty friend Orlanda and Alexandre’s cruel master de Locke. Constance and Alexandre both seemed bland, and though their romance was sweet, it just sort of falls into place.
The writing style isn’t very sophisticated, and though the author conveyed an okay-sense of place and time, I didn’t feel like “I was really there” as some other historical fiction books have done for me.
The plot is sort of typical. Most of the book lacks a real sense of tension or urgency.
In short: Good for younger teens or if you need something very light as a beach read, but nothing special.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars.
Something better: The story bears some similarities to Everlasting by Angie Fraser, which has supernatural elements. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi is my all-time favorite book in the “girl at sea” genre.
Cover & Title: Generic title – lets you know it’s going to have romance but nothing to do with the story in particular. (Apparently published in Australia as The Pearl Hunters, which is more relevant). Though rather Photoshop-ish, the cover is lovely, and the girl actually fits the description of Constance.
Where I got the book: Shelves of the local library.
And by the way, my laptop miraculously survived having water spilled on the keyboard. Or maybe it’s just more durable than I thought. (My friend said, “At least it wasn’t a Mac.” Me: “Why? Is water worse for Macs than PCs?” My friend: “No, it’s just that angels weep every time a Mac dies.” Me: “….”) I’m glad that tragedy has been averted so I can blog on (as well as finish the 3 papers I have due next week).