Georgana's Secret. Arlem Hawks. 2021. [January] Shadow Mountain. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
First sentence: Footsteps, firm and steady, sounded on the stairs. Each one tore at
Georgana Woodall’s young heart as she waited in the hall outside the
nursery because they brought Papa’s goodbye closer and closer. She
brushed her tears away quickly, in case Grandmother was following Papa.
Grandmother had no tolerance for tears—from girls of seven or their
Premise/plot: Georgana's Secret is a Regency romance set at sea on board the HMS Deborah. Georgana Woodall, our heroine, is masquerading as a cabin boy, "George Taylor," on her father's ship. She's picked on but making the best of it until a new lieutenant comes on board. Lieutenant Dominic Peyton is new to the Deborah and serving under Captain Woodall, but he's not new to the naval life. His heart belongs to two women: the sea and his mother. His mother may dream of him getting married and starting a family. But how can he take care of a family AND still sail the seas? Would it be fair to leave a wife and mother behind?
Dominic and George begin a strange friendship of sorts. He sees George as a small boy who is picked on by just about everybody but the captain. Surely George doesn't belong in the navy--no matter who his father was. Perhaps when the ship returns to England he can help George find a more suitable future. Meanwhile he's looking for a few clues as to what became of the captain's daughter who hasn't been seen by society in years.
My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I did. I don't often read books with this naval setting, but it worked for me. I liked the alternating narrative and how we get both George's perspective and Dominic's perspective. Most of all I appreciate that it is a clean romance. It is one of the books in the Proper Romance series.
This one may pair well with Persuasion by Jane Austen.
© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews