Charged with a mission by the Empress of Brazil, celebrated writer and the toast of Georgian London, Maria Graham sets off for England with the Brazilian civil war at its height. Newly widowed and a woman travelling alone, the stakes are high and when she accepts roguish smuggler Captain James Henderson’s offer of passage on his ship, she gets more than she bargains for.
Who knew the world of chocolate could be so deadly? And interesting, for that matter. On the voyage to London, Maria discovers quite why some chocolate seems to be held in high regard, with something extra hidden in its midst. But, that’s just the start of her troubles: she’s a woman of high standing, and the feelings that start to creep in for the captain are, to her, unacceptable.
This sharp truth forces James to try harder and make something of his life, but as they arrive in London, he ends up entangled in the bad side of a club, and refuses to back down. Where will it take him? Well…
Chocolate, smuggling, secrets and lies. The blurb sums it up most succinctly. It can be a slow burn in this smuggled cargo to reach its climax, but when you realise it’s based on a real life explorer, there’s a more badass edge to it all, to know that not only did she push herself against society’s expectations, but has gone on to be remembered by it.
There has been a slight delay in writing this, as I got sucked in to her Wiki page. Such an interesting woman, and I think she’s been captured very well in book. The era, the importance of social standing and an impeccable reputation, the passion and intrigue when on a boat with someone who you didn’t expect to find affinity with.
On Startlit Seas is of the era and charming at times, and exciting at others. It bears repeating: who knew that the world of chocolate could be so deadly?