Bring It Close

Written by Helen Hollick
Review by Cindy Vallar

Pardoned by the king for acts of piracy, Jesamiah Acorne is to wed Tiola, a midwife, healer and white witch. His plans are thwarted after he is accosted in a Nassau alley in 1718, and ends up sleeping with his former sister-in-law, Alicia. When Tiola learns of his betrayal, she sails for Bath Town, North Carolina to practice her trade. But Blackbeard attacks her ship until Jesamiah, aboard the Sea Witch in pursuit of Tiola, intervenes. Already bearing a grudge against Jesamiah, Blackbeard vows to get even. To further complicate Jesamiah’s life, he discovers Alicia is a stowaway aboard his ship. She needs his help to acquire her dead husband’s plantation, but he refuses to assist her. To force him to do her bidding, she claims he is a pirate. Determined to eradicate all such scoundrels, the governor of Virginia orders Jesamiah’s arrest. Add to that, he is being haunted by the ghost of his dead father – who has his own problems to sort out. Whether death comes by the hangman’s noose or at Blackbeard’s hand, Jesamiah doubts he will survive long enough to marry his true love.

Reading Bring It Close is much like riding a Chinese dragon. The tale’s twists and turns prohibit the reader from alighting until the last page is turned. Hollick creates a spellbinding account of Blackbeard’s last days, deftly weaving magic with history. Her ability to combine awe, remorse, wonder, and horror with the machinations of such historical personages as Blackbeard, Governors Alexander Spotswood and Charles Eden, and Lieutenant Robert Maynard, breathes life into the Caribbean and American colonies of the eighteenth century.