Captain Blackwell’s Prize

Written by V. E. Ulett
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

During the early 1800s, England is at war with France and Spain. Captain James Blackwell, aboard HMS Inconstant, captures the Spanish galleon La Trinidad. A passenger on the Spanish ship is Dona Mercedes de Aragon, a young woman sailing to Spain from Alta California to meet with her deceased mother’s family. In order to protect Mercedes from the crewmembers, Captain Blackwell has his “prize” sleep in a nearby cabin. They eventually become romantically involved as they sail to Gibraltar for new orders. Mercedes then accompanies Captain Blackwell on his new assignment.

Romance and the high seas are this novel’s focus. In most books in this genre, the wife or lover of the captain remains at home while he sails off aboard his ship. I am not sure the British Navy allowed cohabitation between men and women while at sea, but it is a fictional story; therefore, writers are allowed a little leeway.

All that said, the author has presented a fine story with little of the nautical jargon so often found in other books about the British Navy. The characters are intriguing – Captain Blackwell loves to dive into the ocean naked periodically to take a bath – and the novel incorporates accurate historical events and concise, crisp dialog. Female readers may enjoy it because the protagonists’ relationship is the main storyline, rather than the usual naval battles found in this genre. A sequel is in the works for another adventure with the Captain and his lady. Highly recommended for those who enjoy a romantic tale with a little action included as well.