Ahab’s Bride

Written by Louise M. Gouge
Review by Lorraine Gelly

In 1837, when eighteen-year-old Hannah Oldweiler meets fifty-year-old Captain Ahab, she is completely smitten. The renowned whaling man soon succumbs to Hannah’s charms. The slightly spoiled only daughter of a New Bedford ship-owner, Hannah has no trouble convincing her father that she and the captain should wed before his imminent departure. Upon his return, they leave New Bedford, and Hannah is now the mistress of Ahab’s Nantucket home.

Now pregnant, Hannah is convinced that Ahab will retire and enjoy family life, but that is not to be. Shortly after Timothy’s birth, Ahab announces his plan to return to sea on the ill-fated Pequot. Because of Ahab’s legendary success, Hannah is welcomed into Nantucket society and enjoys the friendship of many other strong-minded and independent women. The women learn to take care of home, family and often businesses while their husbands are gone whaling; indeed, some of the voyages lasted up to five years. The novel comes to its inevitable conclusion with the loss of the Pequot on its second voyage.

This felt like more of a Christian romance than a historical novel; the characters in the book are always reminded of religion, piety, and God’s influence in their lives, and it felt rather “preachy.” The book is subtitled “Book One of Ahab’s Legacy,” meaning the author must be planning future books with Hannah and Timothy.