Review by Erastes
HMS Privet has the reputation of being a cursed ship: every first lieutenant serving aboard her dies gruesomely. Lieutenant Daniel Leigh is determined to solve the mystery and volunteers for the place himself, putting his life in desperate danger. Little does he suspect that he will fall in love with the captain, John Meadows, and end up fighting not only for his own life, but for the soul of his lover, too.
Lieutenant Samuel Blackwood (deceased) – a Georgian ghost story featuring a cursed ship, a vengeful ghost, a haunted captain and a very daring lieutenant.
This is a really clever little book, and I wish I could have promoted this sooner as it would have made a great stocking filler for Christmas. It’s a tiny thing, no more than a short story at 76 pages, but it’s the sort of thing I’d, for one, like to see more of. It emulates the “Penny Dreadfuls” of a previous age, and the cover is amusingly designed. It even looks like it’s old, with the wrinkles built in.
The story is interesting and flows well, with an exciting finale that I particularly enjoyed. What I was left feeling, however, is that Ms Collingwood had the makings of a full-length novel in these pages and it would have been excellent to have had a much bigger read. I hope that she is intending to write more in this era because this whet my appetite for more please.
I wish, however, that this style had continued into the design of the book itself. I would have liked to have seen a more antiquated font, such as this type used on the author’s shop-site and a more standardised layout. This book is justified on both sides with a gap between each paragraph and that grated on me – it seemed too modern – not even in line with the ways that modern books are laid out. Perhaps it would have been too expensive to typeset in this manner.
That being said, it is well worth any afficianado of gay historical fiction – particularly those of you who love the Age of Sail – getting this as it’s a good story with an interesting, brave (some might say foolish!) protagonist. The illustrations (got to love men in naval uniforms!) are worth the price of the book, just on their own.