A swashbuckler set in the West Indies of the early 19th Century, THE WITCH FROM THE SEA is a love story, a coming-of-age adventure and an eccentric comedy of manners about a woman who runs with the pirates to free herself from the conventional "rules" of gender, race and class.

Tory Lightfoot, an orphan of mixed white and Mohawk blood, flees the stifling gentility of 1823 Boston for the freedom of the open sea. But the merchant ship on which she stows away is boarded by pirates off the coast of Cuba, and Tory is forced to join the pirate crew to save her life. Making herself useful as both log-keeper and spy, she begins to earn a measure of the independence she craves. But fate, fever and the relentless U. S. Navy West Indian Squadron close in, and Tory must risk her hard-won freedom to save the man she loves.
"I highly recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction."
— The Historical Novel Society Review
"The Witch From The Sea is that rare creation, an historical romance with guts as well as glamour. Wild-spirited Tory is an irresistible character."
— Nautical historian Joan Druett (She-Captains; Hen Frigates)
"I am in love with this book. A+."
Reading Rocks / YA Fiction Review

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


From Tory's Log ~

When fierce winds rattled the eaves, my mother said it was Gay-oh, the giant imprisoned in the House of the Winds, struggling to break free. But the more he fought, the harder the winds blew and the more entangled he became.

When blue lightning tore open the black sky, Mama said it was only Grandfather Thunderer frightening off the witches before he bestowed the gift of rain on the people of the earth.

"Fortunately, he hasn't run off all the Hotinonshonni witches," Papa teased Mama, "for I was surely bewitched when I met you."

I asked what it meant, that strange, long word, and Mama said, "My family, the People of the Longhouse. The Mohawk."

My mother was small and fine-boned, with a coppery complexion, long, shiny black hair, and laughing eyes. My father was fair-skinned and lanky, his eyes light grey, his high forehead framed by coils of reddish frizz. My brothers were fair and freckled like our Papa. They had all run away from Boston together after Josh and Andy's mama died, for the peaceful countryside of Stockbridge. Papa said Boston was full of savages.

My hair was brown with a rusty sheen, not black, with more than a trace of Papa's unruly curl. But I was dark like Mama.

"Am I ...Hot-a-shonni too?" I asked, mangling the unfamiliar mouthful on my tongue.

"One half," said Papa. "One half Mohawk Indian. But you're also one half Scot. The People of the Loch," he added in a thickly congealed accent that made Mama laugh. "But most important, Victoria," he told me, more seriously, "you must never forget you are American. One-hundred per-cent. Like all of us."

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