A Captain for Caroline Gray
by Julie Wright
Published by Shadow Mountain
Publication Date March 2, 2021
Genres: Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Regency Era – UK – 1795 – 1837
Written for: Adults
Caroline Gray would rather be daring and intelligent than demure and insipid, which is why she is still unmatched after her third season in London. Her family’s threadbare finances leave Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend is willing to consider an engagement to her.
Captain Thomas Scott loves the open sea as much as he despises the three-month, twice-yearly trip his ship makes as he ferries young English girls across the ocean. He can’t imagine what family would allow an innocent young woman to be matched up with the Englishmen of questionable reputation who work and live in India.
But when Miss Gray boards the HMS Persistence, all of Captain Scott’s plans are upended. Miss Gray’s fiery spirit can’t be contained, and he is shocked and secretly delighted at her boldness—and her beauty. But the rest of his passengers aren’t so kind.
Caroline finds herself an outcast among her peers, but Captain Scott becomes an unlikely ally. They share the same passions and interests, creating an undeniable attraction. But they both know any relationship between them is impossible. After all, Caroline has obligations to fulfill in India.
Caroline has until the end of the voyage to decide if she is going to marry a man she has never met or be brave enough to love a sea captain who just might break her heart.
I would like to thank Netgalley for giving me a copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Some aspects of Regency life in England baffle me. Well, probably many, but one in particular that comes to mind is the concept of entailment. Which basically leaves an unmarried daughter at the mercy of any relative who might have the means to support her when her father died – the property he owned going instead to a more distant male relative. You can read a little more about it here if you are interested.
When her beloved father died, Caroline was left at the mercy of the cousin who inherited her father’s entailed property. Left with no recourse and with no marriage prospects due to her bluestocking tendencies, she accepted an offer to sail to India to meet Captain Barritt, dine with him a few times, and consider an offer of marriage if it was forthcoming. It is hard to imagine the courage it would have taken to get on a ship and sail to an unknown country to start a new life, let alone one with a culture so foreign. And at a time when communication was so poor and the chances of being able to return to your home country were slim to none. Author Julie Wright made these considerations and fears come to light quite clearly as Caroline struggled with this decision.
My heart went out to Caroline for the struggle she faced as she tried to reinvent herself so as not to be shunned by the small society on the ship. And failed miserably! The pain she experienced over not being good enough the way she was naturally was palpable. Making the kindness she returned to those who were not kind to her more admirable. Her daring rescue in dangerous circumstances was only one example. I loved the way she befriended the various members of the crew on the ship as well, and how young Tom (no relation to the captain) sought her out in his time of need.
Captain Thomas Scott – was a fun character. He was so conflicted over the path he had set for himself in life and the attraction he felt for Caroline as he saw her intelligence and ability to speak her mind so clearly. He ended up being his own worst enemy as he tried so hard to not fall for her that he made her feel repulsed.
Mostly a story of the growing relationship between Caroline and Thomas, A Captain for Caroline Gray also presented a picture of a six-month journey at sea (the reading not at all as tedious as the journey would have been!), and some of the difficulties encountered along the way. I greatly enjoyed the glimpses of India as well and would have been found right there with Caroline in the markets, asking question after question of my guide, learning all I could of the fascinating and colorful culture.
If you enjoy historical romance, A Captain for Caroline Gray would make a great addition to your library!