Close to the Wind by Zana Bell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
A real swashbuckling romance for true escapists. It has everything a good love story needs - a likeable feisty heroine, a handsome dashing hero full of angst and charm and smouldering good looks, a mystery and rather gripping background story, lots of danger and many subtle innuendoes and snatched chaste kisses.
We first meet Georgiana as she is climbing a tree back to her bedroom after sneaking out of the home of her unloving Aunt - to follow her hobby as a stage actress! and this sets the tone for her adventures throughout the book. Upon discovering her beloved brother may be at deaths door and under threat in New Zealand where he went to take part in the gold rush, she dashes off to save him and escape her life of dull boredom.
To enable her to gain passage on a ship she uses her acting skills to disguise herself as a boy and gets herself taken onboard ship as a cabin boy where surprise surprise the ships captain is - well why don't you have a guess? Do you think he's old and plug ugly with a wooden leg? No he's tall dark and handsome and oh so desirable - ahh the stage is set for love to begin to weave its spell.
A lot of the story is set on board ship and although we do eventually reach New Zealand there isn't really a great deal about it which was a little disappointing, however its a lovely romantic read and as is so ofet the case with the lovely romances at Choc-lit although the storyline could be rather predictable, the super characters and fizzing sense of adventure lift it out of the run of the mill and elevate it from nice to delightful.
Although highly implausible it's told with such aplomb we are swept away by the glamour and excitement and left in no doubt whatsoever that all the unlikely happenings, coincidences and adventures could quite easily have taken place and the whole book feels like a very satisfying warm hug.
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