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

Saturday, April 14, 2012


The adventures of Tory Lightfoot continue beyond the events in The Witch From the Sea.

The second book in the series, Runaways: A Tale of Jonkanoo, finds Tory in the Caribbean Islands of St. Kitts, Nevis, and Antigua during the volatile final years of slavery, trying to escape her notorious past in a troupe of humble buskers, tumbling on street corners. But as tensions mount between the slaves, the free people of color, and the authorities, Tory realizes the greatest jeopardy to her precious freedom may be the color of her skin.

From rollicking holiday slave parades to the grand elegance of "the season" at the luxurious Bath Hotel, Runaways is both love story and a suspense thriller told with a dash of Dickensian humor.

As a big thank-you to loyal readers of The Witch, a special, illustrated serial version of Runaways is available online right now!

(Sorry, it's not on the Kindle, but any device with an Internet connection should do the trick.) Please drop in and let me know what you think. It's free!

What's "Jonkanoo?" An annual holiday parade performed by slaves in the West Indian sugar islands in the 19th Century. For a few days, slaves were allowed to pretend they were free, going about masked and disguised, poking fun at their masters—until the rules of proper "civilized" behavior were clamped down again for another year.

Enjoy the adventure!

(Harlequin Pendu, frontispiece to Runaways: A Tale of Jonkanoo. Image © Lisa Jensen, 2012.)

(Jonkanoo, Jamaica, 1838. Belisario 08, as shown on www.slaveryimages.org, sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library)

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