A Captain for Caroline Gray
By: Julie Wright
Publication: March 2nd 2021 by Shadow Mountain
Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher via Edelweiss (Thank you!!)
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Goodreads description--Regency London
Caroline Gray’s third season in London society ends as badly as her first two—no marriage proposal, no suitor, not even a glimmer of an interested prospect. She suspects it’s because she is far too quick to speak her mind to men who are put off by her forthright opinions, her eager intellect backed by a formal education, and her unconventional ideas about the future. She is far more daring than demure to suit the taste of her class. Besides, Caroline thinks there will always be next season to find a husband.
However, her family’s dwindling income leaves Caroline with only one choice to secure her future: a one-way ticket to sail with the Fishing Fleet to India, where the son of a family friend waits. If the match doesn’t work, Caroline cannot return home.
Captain Thomas Scott loves the thrill of the open sea, and as commander of one of the ships of the “Fishing Fleet,” he ferries scores of young English girls to the shores of India to find husbands. The voyages pay well, but he struggles to understand why families would allow young women to be matched with total strangers so far away.
The trips have always been routine and uneventful—until this trip’s first night’s dinner with one Miss Caroline Gray. She engages in a lively political conversation, presenting opposing viewpoints to the conventionally opinionated gentlemen at her table. Captain Scott is secretly amused and delighted at her boldness, not to mention quite drawn to her beauty.
The rest of the passengers are shocked by her behavior and Caroline finds herself an outcast, suffering harsh judgments from the other passengers. However, she finds an unlikely ally in Captain Scott which quickly draws them closer.
Both know an arranged marriage awaits Caroline at the end of their voyage, yet the attraction between them is undeniable. Caroline will have to decide if she will honor her mother’s wishes and marry a man in India whom she has never met—thus securing a future for her and her mother—or be brave enough to throw convention to the wind and commit to love a sea captain. He may be enchanted by her bold and unconventional ways, but will his love and admiration last?
Normally during *pregnancy I struggle through reading and reviewing books. I've surprised myself this pregnancy with reading just as vivaciously as ever. Until October. October is such a busy month for us. Our two kids have birthdays in October as well as my dad, Husband, and my nephew. Not to mention typical Halloween and fall events. Add to that binge-watching a series on Netflix and a children's consignment sale, and well, I had my worst reading month in years. That being said, A Captain for Caroline Gray is the first book I've read post-October. And even though I read it quickly, I'm starting to feel my normal pregnancy ambivalence towards writing reviews. But I'm going to do my best here.
I enjoyed A Captain for Caroline Gray , and I read it quickly. I could relate to Caroline in some ways. She's not interested in making herself like most of the other women she knows. She's outspoken in her opinions and knowledge. And this rubs people the wrong way. It was projected as a cultural thing from the period. A woman during this time shouldn't pursue knowledge in specific areas. But truth be told, no one likes a know-it-all of any gender during any time. But she fights to be true to herself even when she questions whether she should change or not.
The book description is deceiving. Thomas does love sailing, yet he hopes to secure his finances in a way that will allow him to settle down and get married. Sailing wasn't his plan, it was his father's. Also, the description indicates that Thomas knows all along that Caroline is sailing towards an arranged marriage. Two things are wrong with that. One, the arrangement she has is to go to dinner with a man with the potential to decide to marry him. There's no set agreement beyond that. And Thomas isn't aware of the arrangement until feelings are involved and confessed and acted upon.
There was another aspect of mystery and danger. I didn't mind this part, but the relationships are always what drives me to read.
-"There are far better ways to spend a Wednesday evening during the season than with people who work so hard to be fashionable that they will never truly be in fashion.”
A Captain for Caroline Gray gets 4 Stars from me. I enjoyed the relationship journey between these two characters. The secondary storylines and characters were just as interesting. I'll be looking for more by Julie Wright. Have you read A Captain for Caroline Gray ? What did you think? Let me know!
*This review was written in November when I was still pregnant but not posted to my blog until closer to the publication date of the book.