Georgana’s Secret (2021)

About the Book

Book:  Georgana’s Secret

Author: Arlem Hawks

Genre: Historical Romance

Release Date: January 12, 2021

1811, HMS Deborah

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. Determined to prove himself to his new captain, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader. When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband have slipped away.

Georgana’s Secret is about two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

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My Thoughts

There is SO much to love about Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks. First, the story is HIGHLY engaging. The pages flew by in this novel because the action is non-stop: there’s a strange illness onboard the HMS Deborah that’s only hitting a certain part of the crew, there’s battles on the high sea with the French, and there’s mutiny. There are adventures in Antigua, learning to stand up against bullies, and a seriously sweet romance. I read 70% of this book in one sitting because I could not put it down! In addition to the story line, I absolutely love the way characters relate in this novel. The camaraderie of most of the crew on board the HMS Deborah is fun to imagine. The interaction between George and her father, Captain Woodall, appears stiff and formal, but in reality it is exceptionally evident how much he cares for his child. And, how Georgana and Dominic’s relationship blossoms from friendship to romance is great. The Victor/Victoria relationship in this book works really well and progresses nicely. I especially enjoyed the intelligent journey Dominic takes to figure out who George truly is. And, the historical and nautical details are rich. The detail is written so vividly I felt like I was onboard with the crew of the HMS Deborah. Working a boat in the 1800s was an insanely arduous task, and Hawks does a stellar job of portraying this.

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton is an excellent hero. There is so much to love about his character. His attention to detail is wonderful. He’s not an “actions first, questions later” kind of guy. Dominic is a man who watches and listens, makes intelligent assessments based on what he hears and sees, and then moves to action. I LOVE how unselfish he is. Once he learns George’s secret he feels he must have answers, but before he confronts anyone he metaphorically steps into George’s and her father’s shoes and looks at the situation from their perspectives. What he “discovers” from standing in their shoes for a moment is that they need protection. Dominic is a protector to his core, and some of my most favorite moments in this novel are when he comes to George’s defense (both before and after he finds out who she is). This, more than the swoony kisses and heartfelt words, makes Dominic a perfect hero in my humble opinion. Swoony kisses and heartfelt words are great, but truly seeing and understanding someone is the best show of love one person can give to another.

I have to mention how much I love Georgana’s character. She is AWESOME. If I had to boil her character down to one word, that word would be resilient. Georgana is a character who gets beat up a lot, and I don’t mean metaphorically. She is the quintessential underdog. She is an 18-year-old girl posing as a boy on her father’s ship in 1811. Ironically, she is doing it for her safety. In this world, Georgana gets knocked down often but she always gets back up. She is a true fighter and she is not afraid to fight for what is good and what is right, and later she is not afraid to fight for love. Georgana is definitely the perfect heroine for Dominic.

Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks is a great historical romance that I cannot recommend enough. It’s a fun, adventurous romance that will have the reader turning pages well into the night. If you are in the mood for a swashbuckling adventure with a sweet romance and timely themes then Georgana’s Secret is the book for you!

I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the publisher, Shadow Mountain Publishers, via NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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