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

Monday, April 2, 2012


From Tory's Log ~

Papa read us wonderful stories out of books almost every evening, after the work of the farm was done for the day. Mama worked at her mending, but my brothers and I sat spellbound.

Papa read about the adventures of King Arthur and the dream of Camelot. He read from the books of Mr. Smollett (a Scot, Papa pointed out), whose heroes were forever being whisked away on sailing ships or journeying through the Highlands.

The stories of Shakespeare were more difficult, with their strange, dreamlike language, but Papa invented a different voice for every character. He made us laugh at the man with the donkey's head let loose among the fairies, and we shivered when King Macbeth (another Scot) met the witches in the wood.

When I was old enough, Papa let me join the lessons he gave the boys at home in the busy harvesting season when the farm could not spare them for the village school. I'm afraid I was something of a disappointment in sums and grammar. But when I discovered reading, it was like learning to fly; Papa could not make up lessons fast enough to suit me. Now I knew magic, and no mortal power could keep me earthbound!

Mama told magical stories too, about the Old Ones, or Turtle, who carried all the world on his back, or Sky Woman, who gave birth to Creator, who made all the creatures of the earth. Even now, even here, so far away in time and place, I can hear the soft rhythms of my mother's voice, telling her stories in exactly the same words, so they sounded like a song.

That was all so long ago, but she is singing still in my heart.

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