We drank and threw our cups into the water. She leaned on the rail, her face half in the light, half in the shadow, as perfect as a statue. The ruby earring flared as the sun struck through it, and her white shirt billowed out in the freshening breeze. That is how I will remember her.

Set in the early part of the eighteenth century, this is the story of two young women escaping disaster by joining a pirate crew together. Nancy Kington is the 15 year old daughter of a Bristol trader on the brink of ruin. When he dies, her brothers ship her to Jamaica to be sold as the wife of a black-hearted man who makes her flesh crawl. Minerva Sharpe is a young house slave in Nancy’s Jamaican home, who becomes her friend and then finds herself in grave danger from the equally cruel overseer of the Kington sugar plantation. The story has everything – pirating, swashbuckling, treasure, danger – and the impossible search for a place to be: a place of safety, a place of dignity, a place to belong.

A great novel for young (and not so young) women, spoiled only by the author’s insistence on running the story through with heterosexual romance. Oh well…