Harvest House, Jun 2010, $13.99
In 1814, her family is unaware that Charlotte Ransome has a secret fiancé Henry Winchester in Jamaica. Although she knows she is acting rash, Charlotte dresses up as midshipman Charles Lott to sneak on board one of the vessels of a fleet captained by her brother Commander William Ransome.
However, her plan threatens to fall apart when she becomes ill. First Lieutenant Ned Cochran knows who Charles is having met briefly Charlotte in England before setting off for the Caribbean. He is already halfway in love with her from that brief meeting in Portsmouth and decides to conceal her true identity from his superior officer her brother the Commander. On the journey across the sea to find her fiancé, Charlotte finds herself attracted to caring Ned; leaving her to ponder her fickleness as she falls in love with a second man.
The second Ransome historical romance (see Ramsome’s Honor for the turbulent romance between William and Julia) is a terrific early nineteenth century tale as readers will feel they are at sea crossing the Atlantic. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing as she feels capricious while he risks his career for his beloved. Although women disguised as men has been used many times in books and movies, Kaye Dacus makes it feel sea-breezing fresh with a strong entry that also sets up the next novel in the saga with a wonderful final twisting cliffhanger.