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Characters Just Like Us - an Editorial Review of "What a Difference a Voyage Makes"

Book Blurb: Coming Soon

Book Buy Link: Coming Soon

Author Bio:

Celia Martin is a former Social Studies teacher. Her love of history dates back to her earliest memories when she sat enthralled as her grandparents recounted tales of their past. As a child, she delighted in the make-believe games that she played with her siblings and friends, but as she grew up and had to put aside the games, she found she could not set aside her imagination. So, Celia took up writing stories for her own entertainment.

She is an avid reader. She loves getting lost in a romance but also enjoys good mysteries, exciting adventure stories, and fact-loaded historical documentaries. When her husband retired and they moved from California to the glorious Kitsap Peninsula in the state of Washington, she was able to begin a full-fledged writing career. She has never been happier.

When not engaged in writing, Celia enjoys travel, keeping fit, and listening to a variety of different music styles.

Editorial Review:

It is 1693 and Catriona Larkin is on her way from primitive New York back to London to marry at her father’s wish. The marriage is not necessarily one for love but Catriona does not object. Her aunt Isolde, who is a bit of a hopeless romantic, has been entrusted with accompanying Catriona on her journey. Captain Brennan Kilkenny is excited to take his new ship the Sea Sprite on her maiden voyage. He has also been entrusted with Catriona’s safe passage back to England but his superior Captain Ridgely has warned him that his reputation with charming beautiful women into his bed precedes him and that he must not become involved with Catriona. Captain Kilkenny does his best to avoid the exquisite young woman aboard his ship but it’s not long before their paths continually cross aboard the Sea Sprite. Catriona slowly begins to wonder if marrying Lucian is really what she wants while Kilkenny does his best to suppress his feelings for her. What a Difference a Voyage Makes by Celia Martin spins romance, history, and even a little bit of mystery to create a story that you won’t soon forget.

He dared not have more than minimal contact with her, for she stirred forbidden sensations in him. From the moment she boarded the Sea Sprite, he had known he had no choice but to keep his distance. She was much too tempting, and he had no will power where beautiful women were concerned. “

Martin’s writing is easy to follow and she does a great job of creating a realistic and believable setting. Imagery is Martin’s strong suit. Clear details and beautiful imagery combined with historical knowledge allow Martin to create scenes that easily come alive. Readers are easily able to picture exactly what she is describing. The settings vary throughout the book as well and Martin seamlessly transitions from one to the next.

The rich detail also contributes to characters that are unique and well-developed. With clear internal and external conflicts, Martin’s characters are both believable and relatable in their stories. The dialogue between the characters might pose a difficulty for some readers as Martin incorporates various dialects that are related to the character's background and place of origin. Martin maintains the dialects well and for the most part, they are easy to understand. There are some dialect-specific words that are difficult to decipher but can often be figured out with some close attention.

Isolde feared it was Kilkenny’s very avoidance of Catriona that was causing her niece to find him alluring. Even before Catriona’s father considered her old enough for courting, youths had been vying for her attention. Men, old and young alike, cast their eyes in stupefying homage upon Catriona.”

Including dialects that match a character's background and origin is an effective way to develop characters and make them more believable. Martin continues the dialects and an old style of writing throughout the book but not consistently. Some parts of the book read in a most consistent modern tone while others use words and sentence structures that are not typically used in modern English. The switch back and forth is not entirely consistent and some readers may struggle with the lack of consistency.

Watching her expression change as she donned a bright smile, he wished he had an answer to his question. Could be she was regretting her decision to wed the earl. It could be possible she had fallen in love with him.”

The book is well-proofread and easy to read. There are some minor errors such as an extra space after ellipses when these appear in the text but overall, the manuscript is clean. The formatting is also well done. The chapters and various sections of chapters do change between the character's points of view. Identifying the character from which the chapter will be told might be helpful for many readers but it is not especially difficult to follow as is.

It is obvious that the author has spent some time and effort researching a variety of historical topics that have been woven throughout the novel. Everything from maritime voyages to politics and Cromwell is mentioned in this novel. The author also seems to have researched how ships and crews operated in the 1600s. With clear details about the ship, and sailing-specific vocabulary, and an understanding of maritime travel, the author creates a pretty realistic setting aboard the ship. The information is historically accurate and is included in a way that feels in place with the plot and flow of the novel.

His eyes glowing with his love for her, he cupped her chin in his hand and tilted her lips up to be kissed before he embraced her tightly. “In giving me your love, my sweet Catriona, you have given me a life I was never imagining I would ever know. All else fails in comparison to my love for you.”

Readers who enjoy historical fiction and romances will enjoy What a Difference a Voyage Makes. Those readers with an affinity for Irish history will also find this book particularly delightful. Because the story is easy to follow, it would be an easy book for those who do not typically read historical fiction to test out the genre. The book is romance-heavy which could prove to be a detriment to some readers.

That he loved her, she had no doubt, but she feared he would never have the courage to ask her to marry him. Marry him she would, though, even did she have to do the asking.”

An excellent plot, a beautiful romance, and rich historical details earn What a Difference a Voyage Makes by Celia Martin a 4.5 out of 5 rating. While most will not struggle with the dialect some readers will have a hard time with the dialect, changing sentence structure, and changing points of view. Overall, it is a wonderful historical novel that historical novel readers will love.


“What a Difference a Voyage Makes” by Celia Martin receives 4.5 stars from The Historical Fiction Company


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