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, December 29, 2012


From Tory's Log~

"So," Aunt Fiona said, at length, her majestic gaze falling on me, "I suppose this is the little creature you've named after Mother."

"This is Victoria, yes." Papa came up beside me and absently stroked back a stray wisp of my dark hair, already twisting free of its braid.

"Well, my child," said Aunt Fiona, not unkindly, bending forward and holding out her hand. "Come kiss you aunt."

I had seen my brothers approach this phantom with no harm done, so I marched forward for a closer look.

"Hello, Aunt Fiona." I stood on tiptoe to kiss the proffered cheek, breathing in the irritating tickle of powder. Mama had taught me to cast my eyes downward, out of respect,  when we nodded to strangers in the street on our rare excursions into town, and I did try, as I stepped back, but it was hard not to squint up for all I was worth from under my lashes.

"Well, we'll have to do something about that hair," said my aunt."But at least she knows how to obey..."

"I do not command my children to obedience, Fiona," Papa barked, at the end of his limited patience. "Victoria has learned her manners from her mother."

"Yes, I doubt very much she could ever learn any from you, Ewan," Fiona agreed, but she took the opportunity to turn her full attention to Mama for the first time.

"Fiona," Papa  sighed, reaching out to give my mother's hand a gentle squeeze. "My wife, Molly."

"How do you do, Fiona. I am so glad to meet you at last. Ewan speaks of you often."

"I can well imagine," Fiona replied, shooting a caustic glance at her brother.

"Please come in and sit down," Mama continued, leading our guest to the most capacious of the parlor's few chairs. "It's a long, dusty ride out from Sheffield. Would you care for some cider?"

"Have you any tea?" Fiona asked sweetly, more in her own element now that her comfort was being seen to.

"I believe we do. I'll go see," Mama smiled. "Tory, come help me, please."

I didn't want to miss anything, but I could not say no to my mother. And I was still of an age when I felt most safe in her company, so I followed Mama out into our kitchen. As we left the parlor, I heard Aunt Fiona say, "Well, she's pretty little thing, in her way, and quite well-spoken."

"Did you expect to find her draped in hides, muttering incantations?" Papa grumbled. "The Mohawk are a civilized people. Molly's family owned a farm in Stockbridge."

"But, Ewan, what about the children?"

"What about them?" came my father's bland reply.

I scurried over to  where Mama stood, peering into a kitchen cupboard. "Mama, is Aunt Fiona going to take us away?"

My mother turned to me in surprise. "Of course not, my Little Flower." She sank down beside me. "No one will ever take you away from me. Or your brothers, either. What an idea!"

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