I was captivated first by a wonderful cover, then by an intriguing epigraph, and then by two stories, at first seeming simple, that twisted and turned together in ways that were wonderfully unexpected.
First there was Luke. He was just fifteen when he found himself in the wrong place at wrong time, and was press-ganged into the His Majesty’s Navy. There was no way out, and he found himself sailing away on a warship. He had to learn fast, what was required of him, who he could trust. He was a the beginning of an extraordinary adventure, but he could only think of the girl he had left behind.
And then there was Louise, a young dairymaid who was presented a wonderful chance to better herself. She became a lady’s maid in the household of a sea captain, and she began to search for her brother who had last been seen in the same harbour town. But she was somewhat distracted from that search by the young lady she served, who behaved in ways that were quite unexpected. As did Louise…
It’s difficult to say more than that about the story without giving far to much away
She Rises is a story of love, adventure, identity and secrets.
And all of this in a world that lives and breathes. The houses and the streets of a harbour town. The taverns and the docks. The ships that set sail into the wider world.
I liked Luke from the start. It took me a little longer to become involved with Louise. It didn’t help that she was addressing one person – ‘you’ – but soon I realised who ‘you’ was and I understood.
That story was effectively told, the prose style distinctive and suiting it perfectly. Like the sea, it had quiet times, but there other time when waves rose and fell, and those moments quite took my breath away.
The way in which Luke’s and Louise’s narratives came together was unexpectedly wonderful and, though the change of gear was a little clunky, but it raised the story to greater heights.
I saw influences, some fine authors and some wonderful books, but She Rises has a spirit, a character, a reason for being that is entirely its own.
There were more than enough good things for me to forgive its few failings, keep turning the pages, and feel sorry that now the story is over.