Surgeon’s Mate (Book Two of the Patricia MacPherson Nautical Adventure Series) is a delightful fictional first person narration inspired by the experience of historical female sailors. The book’s cover is not particularly inviting, simply setting the nautical theme of the story with a sea-faring ship’s photo ill-matched with golden-looking lettering. However, the content of the book amply makes up for its looks. The main character is a credible young woman, doing her best to live with the means at her disposal by masquerading as a man.
The narrative proceeds at a good pace, and the ethical dilemmas presented are realistic and challenging. Historical settings and events are fluidly mixed with the story and enriched by diverse and colourful secondary characters, thus resulting in an absorbing reading. There’s a touch of understated romance and the sensibility and sense of propriety of the times pervades the whole, creating funny episodes of revelation and embarrassment. Most importantly, the narrating voice of the protagonist comes vividly alive through the pages, and infuses the readers with anticipation for what the third book in the series may bring.