Mistress of the Sea
It is 1570, and in the thriving port town of Plymouth, Ellyn Cooksley is a wealthy merchant’s only daughter, expected to make a good marriage. So it is entirely out of place for her to loathe both of her eligible suitors, and be attracted instead to her father’s handsome lodger, lowly master caulker Will Doonan. What’s worse, while taken with Ellyn’s beauty and ready wit, Will has other things on his mind – such as joining Francis Drake’s new journey to the West Indies, to both win a fortune for himself and avenge the beloved brother he lost to the Spaniards on a previous venture. But then Ellyn’s ageing father, one of Drake’s financers, takes it into his head to sail with the expedition and, feeling it her duty to accompany him, Ellyn stows herself aboard – to discover that adventure is not quite what she expected.
Barden’s debut novel is a captivating and well researched tale of love, duty, and the consequences of actions, set against a vividly described New World, with interesting glimpses of a ruthless and charismatic Francis Drake as a secondary character.