Tuesday 22 November 2022

πŸ“– Book Review ~ Gallows Wake by Helen Hollick

Taw River Press
28 September

Sea Witch Voyages #6

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

Where the past haunts the future...

Damage to her mast means Sea Witch has to be repaired, but the nearest shipyard is at Gibraltar. Unfortunately for Captain Jesamiah Acorne, several men he does not want to meet are also there, among them, Captain Edward Vernon of the Royal Navy, who would rather see Jesamiah hang.

Then there is the spy, Richie Tearle, and manipulative Ascham Doone who has dubious plans of his own. Plans that involve Jesamiah, who, beyond unravelling the puzzle of a dead person who may not be dead, has a priority concern regarding the wellbeing of his pregnant wife, the white witch, Tiola.

Forced to sail to England without Jesamiah, Tiola must keep herself and others close to her safe, but memories of the past, and the shadow of the gallows haunt her. Dreams disturb her, like a discordant lament at a wake.

But is this the past calling, or the future?

πŸ“– My Review ...

It's been a while since I shared a sailing vessel with Captain Jesamiah Acorne but absence, they say, makes the heart grow fonder and I am certainly just as enamoured with this swashbuckling captain as I was right at the beginning of this series of historical adventures.

Gallows Wake sees Jesamiah in something of a difficult situation and even as he sends his wife Tiola away for safety you know that there is trouble brewing especially when Jesamiah finds himself aboard a ship, which is not his own, and bound for a destination not of his choosing. As Jesamiah gets drawn deeper and deeper into a melting pot  of intrigue and danger, so his wife, the mystical Tiola, must also find her own way of coping when deadly danger beckons.

Beautifully written with such a wonderful historical authenticity, the atmosphere crackles and jumps with excitement. Everything just feels spot on, whether it be the mysticism, and magic, of white witch Tiola, or maybe drinking strong coffee in a Gibraltan tavern with Jesamiah and the slimy Ascham Doone, or even better, sniffing the salty tang of the sea as the waves roll on by on board the Bonne Chance with Captain Vernon's crew.  One thing is definitely guaranteed, there is never a dull moment for this intrepid couple. 

I won't do the author a disservice by giving away any details of the plot but it's safe to say that Gallows Wake was every bit as daring and exciting as I hoped it would be and certainly being back in the company of  Jesamiah Acorne and his lovely wife, Tiola has been an absolute joy. Gallows Wake is easy to read as a standalone story as the author gives details of some of the back story, however, as with any long running series, it is best to start at the beginning to watch the progression of the characters as they continue to go from strength to strength

🍴Best Read with...a slice of salty gammon and a few mugs of yeasty ale

About the Author

Helen and her family moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show.

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages.


  1. Well, Jaffa isn't the only one purring! Thank you so much for such a delicious review!

    1. My pleasure, I've enjoyed being back with Jesamiah and Tiola -:)


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