“The sea’s your escape to freedom and adventure. And the Discernin’s the way to it. You can build on the deeds that have happened or put the catastrophes behind you and begin again. ‘Tis the way of life, offering a new chance every day.”
Discerning Grace is a historical novel, set in the 19th century. Grace is a young woman, very headstrong and determined with a good mind. She loves her uncle, who was an admiral and meets a young naval officer. Soon after, things go badly wrong for Grace, and her only option is to run away to sea disguised as a boy.
Emma Lombard, the author, has done a brilliant job with Discerning Grace. The story had me spellbound, for I found out in the blurb that although Grace manages to stay disguised for a while, she is eventually found out to be a woman. So I had to keep reading to find out what happened to lead up to her discovery, then I needed to know what would happen to her next!
Grace did so well at first, although her sharp tongue gets her into trouble almost before she’s on board the ship. The crew isn’t too keen on having a woman on board, because of sailors’ superstitions, so would they throw her overboard once they found out she wasn’t a lad? Emma has described life on board a navy vessel in great detail, drawing me in, and making it easy to imagine what life must have been like for Grace.
There is the dashing Lieutenant Fitzwilliam, the naval officer Grace had been talking to at the party before she had to run away. He takes her off the captain’s hand, promising to protect Grace. Grace’s headstrong ways land her in trouble and others with her. She wants to be free and has the idea that she is living the life of freedom. When Grace ignores Lieutenant Fitzwilliam’s warnings, it costs a friend his life and Grace realises that she is not as free as she believes.
Grace is determined to see women with more choices in their lives, and she finds some surprising allies in this. The characters are great and the story has lots of twists and turns, keeping me up late, haha.
The book cover is amazing, as it does match the description of Grace, and I kept looking at it. There were still some loose ends when I got to the last chapter, making me want to read the next book. The book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, which I can’t bear, just left me wondering about what happens next!
I received a copy via Love Books Tours but was under no obligation or pressure to write a favourable review.