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She Rises


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Sarah Waters meets Carol Birch in a breathtaking story of love, adventure and identity

About the Author

Kate Worsley was born in Preston, Lancashire, and studied English at University College London. She has worked variously as a journalist, a massage practitioner and follow-spot operator, and has an MA in Creative Writing (Novels) from City University London. She now lives on the Essex coast. She Rises is her first novel.


An immensely enjoyable novel, full of energy, intelligence and delicious turns of phrase. Worsley does just what a great historical novelist should do: she inhabits her characters without strain, without fuss, but with obvious assurance, making them and their period feel utterly close and convincing. I can't wait to see more of her fiction * Sarah Waters *
If you like romance you'll love this debut novel by Kate Worsley. A gripping and touching tale * Sunday Express *
This debut novel leaves convention behind to tell a rollicking story of love and adventure. Harwich is gloriously reinvented as a place of smuggling, secrets and a decidedly contemporary passion. This is a fresh take on historical fiction; enjoyably witty and playful * The Times *
The compelling story centres on a dairymaid starting a new life and brilliantly depicts the dark life of drunken sailors and their brutal hardships * Sunday Telegraph *
An utterly transporting depiction of life above, and below, deck * Vogue *
Bold and original * Bookseller *
A truly original debut * Living North *

Worsley's first novel is a choppy affair. Set in 1740, it features dual first-person narratives from the points of view of Luke and Louise Fletcher. At 15, Luke is press-ganged (i.e. forcibly drafted) into the Britain's Royal Navy and vows to do anything to find his way back to his love. His sister Louise, who is raised from a young age to believe that the sea lures men from their families, moves to a small village on the coast to become a lady's maid to Rebecca Handley, a lovely and headstrong young woman. Of the two stories, Luke's adventure is the more interesting and perilous. His narrative vividly captures the danger, sights, and sounds-not to mention the smells-of 18th-century shipboard life. Rebecca's near-death bout of smallpox and the women's subsequent intimate relationship is fraught with danger of a different sort-that of ruinous public exposure. While the chapter-by-chapter alternation of protagonists makes for a rocky reading experience, it eventually pays off with a satisfyingly unexpected, if not wholly plausible, late development. Worsley deserves kudos for her bold approach to the familiar naval adventure genre. Agent: Veronique Baxter, David Higham Associates (U.K.). (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Life would not have held much promise for anyone unlucky enough to be born of lowly means in the early 1700s. Such is the case for Louise Fletcher, working with her mother on an Essex dairy farm after her father and brother, Luke, went to sea and were never heard from again. When Louise is asked to go into service as a lady's maid to Rebecca, the newly engaged daughter of a prosperous ship captain, Louise accepts the post in the hope of improving her lot and possibly learning the fate of her brother. The story then shifts back and forth from Louise and her headstrong, capricious mistress to Luke, who has been pressed into naval service aboard the Essex, bound for the West Indies. In Louise's tale, loyalty deepens to devotion after Rebecca contracts smallpox and Louise's ministrations save her life. Luke's story is one of high adventure, filled with dangerous work and violent men. VERDICT Patrick O'Brien meets Sarah Waters in a deeply satisfying and surprising novel that is part swashbuckling sea adventure and part sizzling romance. Highly recommended.-Barbara Love, Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ontario (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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