Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Sea Witch

Sea Witch (The Sea Witch Voyages - Book 1) by Helen Hollick

Publication Date: June 2011
Publisher: Silverwood Books
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Historical Romance
Pages: Paperback, 316pp
ISBN-13: 9781906236601

(Received for a honest review from Samantha Trott)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Helen Hollick on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from
Sea Witch
Book Trailer:


The Time : The Golden Age of Piracy - 1716.

The Place : The Pirate Round - from the South African Coast to the sun drenched Islands of the Caribbean.

Escaping the bullying of his elder half brother, from the age of fifteen Jesamiah Acorne has been a pirate with only two loves - his ship and his freedom. But his life is to change when he and his crewmates unsuccessfully attack a merchant ship off the coast of South Africa.

He is to meet Tiola Oldstagh an insignificant girl, or so he assumes - until she rescues him from a vicious attack, and almost certain death, by pirate hunters. And then he discovers what she really is; a healer, a midwife - and a white witch. Her name, an anagram of "all that is good." Tiola and Jesamiah become lovers, but the wealthy Stefan van Overstratten, a Cape Town Dutchman, also wants Tiola as his wife and Jesamiah's jealous brother, Phillipe Mereno, is determined to seek revenge for resentments of the past, a stolen ship and the insult of being cuckolded in his own home.

When the call of the sea and an opportunity to commandeer a beautiful ship - the Sea Witch - is put in Jesamiah's path he must make a choice between his life as a pirate or his love for Tiola. He wants both, but Mereno and van Overstratten want him dead.
In trouble, imprisoned in the darkness and stench that is the lowest part of his brother's ship, can Tiola with her gift of Craft, and the aid of his loyal crew, save him?

Using all her skills Tiola must conjure up a wind to rescue her lover, but first she must brave the darkness of the ocean depths and confront the supernatural being, Tethys, the Spirit of the Sea, an elemental who will stop at nothing to claim Jesamiah Acorne's soul and bones as a trophy.


Pirates and witches and Dutchmen, oh my! Helen Hollick's book
Sea Witch has all this and more. Set during the Golden Age of Piracy, Sea Witch is a high sea's adventure that will have readers up all night. Hollick is a master storyteller! Readers will appreciate her impeccable research and attention to detail. This is a pirate novel that packs punch, a mix of romance, magic and swash-buckling adventure all in one. Readers will fall in love with Jesamiah Acorne and his beautiful white witch Tiola. A great summer read!

Jesamiah Acorne was just 15 when he escapes the clutches of a vengeful older brother and becomes a pirate. Jesamiah loves nothing more than the sea and being free to do whatever he chooses. But a chance meeting with a beautiful woman changes his outlook on life. Tiola is a healer and mid-wife, and some say a white witch. She is the love of his life, but there are others who would prevent them from being together including Stefan van Overstratten, a wealthy Dutchman who wants Tiola for himself. When Jesamiah gets the chance to get a beautiful ship called the Sea Witch, he must decide whether the life of pirate or the love of Tiola is most important to him. Tiola must face choices of her own as she fights to save Jesamiah from his brother and a supernatural sea goddess named Tethys.

Helen Hollick takes readers back to the Golden Age of Piracy in
Sea Witch, the first voyage of Captain Jesamiah Acorne. As a former history major, I love finding authors and books that embody the spirit of the time period which they are trying to re-create. Hollick is definitely one of those writers. This book is full of period detail, from the setting to the clothing and even the details about how the ships were run. I really lost myself in the book, because the author did such an amazing job of making the story seem authentic. It is remarkable how much research must have gone into this book. It's easy to see that Hollick is not only interested in the subject matter, but truly loves the time period.

Jesamiah Acorne is the epitome of pirate characters. He is that larger-than-life character that grabs the readers interest and won't let it go. He has a very commanding personality and gives off an air of authority and mystery. Pirates were the scourge of the sea, but readers will not be able to keep from liking Jes despite his pirate reputation. I have noticed an unfortunate trend in some of the romances I have read of late. The male leads are not what I would consider "heroes". They fall a little flat when it comes to sex appeal and in some cases masculinity, but that's not so with this hero. Jes is all man and female readers will love reading about him.

Jesamiah's relationship with Tiola shows that he isn't a perfect hero, he has some flaws, which makes him even more interesting. He loves his freedom and in some ways does not want to be anything more than a pirate. But when he meets Tiola he is forced to make decisions he never thought he would even consider. I also liked the fact that Hollick allows Tiola the female lead to some rescuing of her own in this, proving she is a smart and intelligent woman. Strong willed and full of spirit. I think Hollick really excels at giving readers both a male and female lead that interesting and complex. I can't wait to read more about them!

The first three books in the series have already been released so readers can go out and read more about Jesamiah as soon as they finish
Sea Witch. I love it when a series already has a good start when I get it, because I don't have to wait for the next installment. The fourth book in the series will be released in the near future. Readers who love a good pirate tale will fall in love with this one. Those who have interest in magic will enjoy it as well. If you're a romance lover, a pirate love story might be just what you need. Check out my reviews of the other books in the series later on in July and the new one when it comes out.

Sea Witch is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! You don't want to miss it!

Helen Hollick lives on the outskirts of London UK with her husband and adult daughter – and a variety of pets. She has been passionate about books and writing all my life. Her first employment was in a local library, where she discovered the history behind the legends of King Arthur, which eventually led to the writing of her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy, the first of her historical novels.

Helen Hollick has been Chair of the local Dyslexia Association and worked part-time as a School Librarian in a Special Needs school. She especially enjoys encouraging new writers to achieve their dream of writing a novel. Her main advice: "to finish, you have to start."


Helen said...

I don't think I can make a comment - my grin is too broad! *laugh*
Thank you - what a fabulous write-up!