Sunday, April 7, 2013

Trade Winds by Christina Courtenay

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Personal Kindle Library
Read: March 23, 2013

Marriage of convenience or a love for life? It’s 1732 in Gothenburg, Sweden, and strong-willed Jess van Sandt knows only too well that it’s a man’s world. She believes she’s being swindled out of her inheritance by her stepfather – and she’s determined to stop it. When help appears in the unlikely form of handsome Scotsman Killian Kinross, himself disinherited by his grandfather, Jess finds herself both intrigued and infuriated by him. In an attempt to recover her fortune, she proposes a marriage of convenience. Then Killian is offered the chance of a lifetime with the Swedish East India Company’s Expedition and he’s determined that nothing will stand in his way, not even his new bride. He sets sail on a daring voyage to the Far East, believing he’s put his feelings and past behind him. But the journey doesn’t quite work out as he expects…

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Dutch East India Company Merchant Ship by Suneet
While searching my kindle library I recently stumbled over Christina Courtenay's Trade Winds and was shocked that I still hadn't managed to fit it in to my reading schedule. So, naturally, I dropped a couple of things and gave every ounce of available attention to the book. A day and a half later I came up for air, thoroughly satisfied and more than a little impressed. 

I wish I were better at gushing over books, but nothing I hobble together here is going to do justice to Courtenay or her work. Killian and Jessanijn are wonderful characters, well-rounded and relatable. A little headstrong perhaps, though I found their mutual determination and stubbornness rather endearing. 

What I found most intriguing though was how Courtenay channeled her background and passion for history into her work. I love the British Isles as much as the next reader, but I also love being exposures to cultures, customs and chapters of history in which I am not as well-versed. On the surface Trade Winds is a historic romance, but under that is a treasure trove of material to get lost in. 

My only problem with the piece are some minor concerns regarding the construction. Some things, the scene with Killian's mother for example, are left entirely open ended. Seeing as she had no real impact on the story and that there was no reconciliation between her and her son, I would have preferred to learn of her only in reference as we did Killian's brothers or Jess' father. 

Delightfully addictive, Trade Winds takes readers off the beaten path in a historic romance that is anything but typical. 

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Never had he been so tempted by an 'untouchable' before, but too much was at stake. He couldn't afford to ruin his future by acting unwisely. For once in his life, he was going to do everything right.
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