Tide of Fortune, is a thrilling adventure story set on the high seas. It has all the ingredients that readers who are familiar with the writing of Patrick O'Brian, Alexander Kent and CS Forester will recognise: perilous seascapes, bloody sea battles, races against time and tide, gallant sea captains and salty crew, exotic locations but with a twist!
The story is told from the point of view of an inexperienced nineteen-year-old girl, Kerenza Vyvyan. Her voyage on the packet ship Kestrel is not only a journey to ransom her mother and sister held captive by the Governor of Tangier but also proves to be a journey of self-discovery. Kerenza bravely faces the various disasters that befall her on board with a growing strength of character and fortitude she never knew she had.
Jane Jackson's heroine, Kerenza, prefigures the feisty women of 20th century novels rising above the traditional role mapped out for a woman of her time. However, this is not all action and adventure for during the course of her travels Kerenza regains the love and trust of Kestrel's captain, Nick Penrose, who had broken her heart earlier.
‘Must we go?’ The words were out before Kerenza could stop them. It was too soon. She needed more time. But how long would it take? She had not seen him since – While her mind shied away from the still-raw memory, her skin burned with relived mortification.
He would be back any day now. The Lisbon run rarely took longer than four weeks even in winter. When Kestrel returned, her respite would end. For with village life and society centred on the packet service, it was inevitable that they would meet again.
‘Indeed, we must.’ Aurelia Danby’s nod was decisive. ‘Maude Tregenna is a dear friend. Though Harry is now a senior captain, I’ve known him since we were children.’
Kerenza shivered. To snub her like that, and in public; Nicholas Penrose could have offered her no greater insult. She still did not understand why. What had prompted the sudden switch from attentions that promised far more than friendship, to withdrawal? Sensing her grandmother’s concern, she forced herself to respond.
‘I saw the Lady Anne when they were bringing her in alongside the quay. She’s suffered dreadful damage. Half her main mast shot away, hatch covers and skylights all smashed, and her jolly-boat beyond repair.’
‘But no one killed,’ her grandmother reminded. And as their eyes met the words hung unspoken between them. This time.
Sometimes she woke, swollen-eyed, hating him for what he’d done. Yet, despite the shock, the hurt, and an ocean of tears, she loved him still. It was a tiny flame. Barely a glimmer in the darkness that filled her soul. Though she mocked herself for a fool, it burned bravely on, refusing to die.
Aurelia’s handsome features stiffened in disgust. ‘Why can that appalling little Corsican not confine himself to attacking naval vessels? At least they are well armed and able to defend themselves. What possible honour can there be in besieging packet-ships?’
‘None at all, Nana.’ An involuntary smile twitched Kerenza’s mouth at her grandmother’s indignation. ‘But honour is not their object. What Napoleon’s privateers want is the ship to sell as a prize, and the cargo, of course. Being on the Jamaica route, Lady Anne was carrying bullion as well as rum and tobacco.’
Aurelia’s expression held grim satisfaction. ‘Well, this time they got nothing. Harry saw them off and broughtthe Lady Anne and all her crew home.’ Hertone softened. ‘Kerenza, Maude has Harry back safe. If she wants to hold a dress-ball to celebrate, how can we refuse to share her relief and delight?’
Shame prickled, and Kerenza felt herself flush. Her grandfather had been a packet captain. It was seven years since he had died during attack by an American privateer soon after leaving New York. If her grandmother possessed enough generosity of spirit to be happy that her friend’s husband continued to return home safely when her own had not …
‘I’m sorry, Nana. Of course we must go. Only –’ she hesitated.
‘My love, I’m aware it’s not easy for you to be in company at the moment. And I know Kestrel is due back any time now –
'An exciting and memorable story. Jane Jackson never disappoints her readers.'
5 star review Maritime courage 28 Sep 2012This is much more than a historical romance. It has more depth and twists than we have the right to expect in this genre. The story has depth of character and shows how Kerenza overcomes her doubts when problems confront her and she finishes the story as a well balanced mature young woman. And into the bargain she recaptures the heart of the captain of the Packet ship. Fascinating and enjoyable.