• Title: Wayward Voyage
  • Author: Anna M. Holmes
  • Publisher: Book Guild Publishing Ltd. on April 28, 2021
  • Genre: Historical Fiction
  • Pages: 480
  • Formats Available: Paperback & Digital
  • Rating: 4/5

Trigger Warnings: Rape, Murder, Graphic Violence, Racism

Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Anna Holmes for providing me with a digital copy of Wayward Voyage with a request for an honest review.

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Wayward Voyage Blurb

Anne is a headstrong young girl growing up in the frontier colony of Carolina in the early eighteenth century. With the death of her mother, and others she holds dear, Anne discovers that life is uncertain, so best live it to the full. She rejects the confines of conventional society and runs away to sea, finding herself in The Bahamas, which has become a nest for pirates plaguing the West Indies. Increasingly dissatisfied with her life, Anne meets a charismatic former pirate, John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, and persuades him to take up pirating again, and she won’t be left onshore. The Golden Age of Piracy is a period when frontiers were being explored and boundaries pushed. Wayward Voyage creates a vivid and gritty picture of colonial life in the Americas and at sea.

My Review (Updated 5/1/2021)

Wayward Voyage is an action-packed tome about a headstrong girl turned lady pirate. The story follows the real lives of Anne Bonny and Mary Read. I do love autobiographical fiction, and Anna brought them to life in a thrilling way.

This novel has many colorful characters besides Anne and Mary. Calico Jack is a man I would love to know. He has such a big personality. It would have been a lot of fun to know him. James was a nice enough guy, but he was no match for Anne. Anne was too vibrant to stay long as a housewife. Mary, on the other hand, had a coolness to her that made her formidable. These women were exact opposites but made the best of friends.

I have always loved pirate stories because they are usually colorful and edgy. This book was no different. The sea makes an excellent setting, and the adventures were never boring. I also enjoyed reading about Anne growing up in Carolina. The plantations and the Carolina coast are familiar. Yet Holmes romanticizes them, making me long to be there.

Anne’s reluctance to work with Mrs. Walker or Noah because they were black disappointed me. When Anne was small, the slaves on her plantation were like family. Samuel received punishment from her father, and Anne swore she would hate her father forever. This behavior made me believe that Anne was unlike other whites in that era. But, in reality, the slaves were still slaves. Anne believed the blacks were beneath her. Thus making her inability to accept her role understandable yet still disappointing.

My only complaint about this novel is that it is incredibly long. Coming in at 480 pages, a pared-down version would make it more manageable. It is still a great read, and anyone with a love of pirates or the sea would enjoy this colorful tale.

I award Wayward Voyage 4 out of 5 stars. You should pick this up if for no other reason, to read about Charlotte. She is an astounding character who made me laugh right out loud, more than once.

About the Author – Anna Holmes

Anna is originally from New Zealand and lives in the U.K. with her Dutch partner.

WAYWARD VOYAGE is Anna’s first novel. She has been fascinated by the lives of women pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, for a long time. Some years ago, she visualised this story as a screenplay before exploring and building their world more deeply as a novel. WAYWARD VOYAGE made a longlist of 11 for the Virginia Prize in Women’s Fiction 2020.

BLIND EYE an eco-thriller, will be published by The Book Guild in September, so this year, 2021, Anna will have two novels coming out. Her screenplay, BLIND EYE, is joint winner of the 2020 Green Stories screenplay competition.  

A documentary about pioneers of flamenco in the UK that Anna produced and directed was screened in Marbella International Film Festival and in London. This passion project ensures a slice of cultural history has been captured. It is available on YouTube and via a portal on her website.

She holds a Humanities B.A, a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and an M.A. in Dance Studies. Initially she worked as a radio journalist before a career in arts management working with U.K. Arts Councils and as an independent producer, dance history lecturer and she has run a dance development agency. 

Anna is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and enjoys practising flamenco. Writing, dance, and yoga shape her life.

Author’s Contact Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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