Bloomsbury, £12.99 Order at a discount from the Independent Online Shop
She Rises, By Kate Worsley
Enjoy a stormy, sensual – and deftly plotted – adventure with the Georgian seafarers of Essex
Friday 19 April 2013
For those readers eagerly anticipating the next effort from the queen of historical revisionism Sarah Waters, look no further than Kate Worsley's debut novel. The maritime adventure She Rises will tide you over nicely.
The year is 1740 and young Louise Fletcher leaves the humdrum routine of an Essex farm for the hustle and bustle of the naval port of Harwich, swapping her life as a dairymaid for service in a wealthy captain's townhouse. Louise has been raised on her landlocked mother's cautionary tales of the allure of the sea – both Louise's father and brother abandoned their womenfolk for adventure on the choppy waves. "Men always leave," her mother warns, "and the sea never gives them up, once she's got them".
Louise's new mistress is like nobody she has ever met. The widowed captain's beautiful daughter, Rebecca Handley, is untutored in womanly ways, doesn't know how to manage a household, number linen, keep track of the wine cellar, or even get a stain out of fine cambric. One minute she plays the respectable young lady, the next her coarse language rivals that of the port's liveliest tars.
Louise is captivated and confused, and so begins a merry dance between mistress and maid that ends in an unconventional arrangement. As the closeness between the two women deepens, Louise discovers something locked away inside of her, "like treasure in a chest", that eventually throws the life they've made together into disarray.
Harwich, however, is a dangerous place for a young boy. After a night drinking in one of the town's taverns, 15-year-old Luke wakes in the bowels of the warship Essex to find that he's been beaten and pressganged into "His Majesty's damned whore-son Navy". An "elver amongst pikes", haunted by the memories of the life he left behind, young Luke soon realises that life at sea is all about survival. Despite the brutal hardships on board a warship, soon he's "slipped his mooring, can scarce remember what it is to feel anchored," and answers to a new mistress: "She has him now, the sea".
Each navigating their own choppy waters, Luke and Louise are on a collision course that is meticulously and elegantly plotted from the very first page. The moment of their meeting, when it arrives, is jaw-droppingly good. Packed with smugglers and secret passages, rum-toting sailors, romance, and adventures in exotic parts, She Rises sings to its reader with the dulcet hypnotising tones of its true heroine, the sea; luring you in, then lulling you into its rolling pace.
film Sex scene trailer sees a shirtless Jamie Dornan turn up the heat
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Canadian woman suing police who locked her in van with sex offender who then raped her
Venezuela Expo Tattoo 2015: Extreme body art from 'Vampire Woman' to 109mm earlobes
Game of Thrones really doesn't want Danny Dyer - EastEnders star rejected three times
Game of Thrones season 5 trailer: The first full-length look is here
Sia apologises for 'Elastic Heart' music video that sees Shia LaBeouf wrestle 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
Stephen Fry explains what he would say if he was 'confronted by God'
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures