Becoming Lady Lockwood
by Jennifer Moore (Goodreads Author)Amelia Beckett is delighted to be a widow. Married by proxy to a man she'd never met, Amelia recognizes that a fortuitous entry into widowhood frees her from meddlesome chaperones and matchmakers. Heiress to her mother's sugar plantation in Jamaica, she happily anticipates working in a man's world, with the additional credibility of her new title: Lady Lockwood. But with the arrival of Captain Sir William Drake, her plans quickly go awry...
William has traversed the Atlantic with one purpose. If he cannot prove that Amelia's marriage to his brother was a fraud, she will be entitled to a sizeable portion of his family's estate. He is determined to return this duplicitous "Lady" to London for an official hearing, and he carries with him a letter that will ensure her cooperation...
Left with no choice, Amelia joins the captain on his return voyage to England, and the two quickly find that ship life does not allow for evasion. Amelia and William are ceaselessly thrown together, and amidst fierce storms and ocean battles, what began as antipathy seems to be evolving quite unexpectedly. But as they draw ever closer to their destination, will the impossibility of their circumstances shatter any hope of a future together
My Review: 5/10 and I think that's being generous.
This was okay for a first novel, but it was lacking any depth. Characters who have no flaws are just not interesting to me. I won't even get into the suspension of reality with one woman on a ship with 800 men for six weeks and the total lack of danger here. This book read like a to-do list; Amelia quickly undertakes winning over every single man on the ship and helping with all of the chores. We follow her around, charming everyone. She's Superwoman- a nurse/doctor, a seamstress and sailmaker, an expert at charting, a chef, a linguist, a spy, a soldier, etc. At the same time, she's always trembling and crying. It's supremely annoying. The romance was instantaneous and seemed based on attraction. The language and lack of propriety were not fitting for the time period.
I did not buy into the whole issue of discrediting his brother's marriage to Amelia so that the law would not prevent Captain Drake from marrying her; I knew that the Bible said something specifically about men marrying their brothers' widows to protect and provide for them, and I was sure the topic had been a plot in other books I'd read. I knew marriage between cousins was encouraged through the end of the 19th century. I assumed marriage between people not blood-related was acceptable, especially during the time period of the Napoleanic Wars (1803-1815). To my astonishment, after finishing the book, I looked it up and discovered how wrong I'd been. Apparently in 1560, the Church of England forbade marriage to any kind of kin, marriage or blood related, with the exception of cousins and some step-relations. Sibling's spouses stayed off limits until the marriage act in 1921 (http://www.genetic-genealogy.co.uk/Toc115570145.html). Fascinating.
Though it turns out that the facts here were sound, and I'm appreciative for learning something new, it doesn't change my dislike of the characters, their lack of mistakes, growth or relatability or the way I felt when I read it.