Georgana’s Secret is the standalone regency romance debut by Arlem Hawks, published by Shadow Mountain Publishing. Napoleonic Wars are raging and Navy captain’s daughter Georgana Woodall has been removed from her abusive grandmother’s care and is in disguise as a cabin boy on Her Majesty’s Navy vessel Deborah headed for Antigua. First Lieutenant Dominic Peyton takes cabin boy George under his wing. Through the dangerous French attacks on the vessel, they become close. Dominic suspects something is up with the little cabin boy and there seems something strange about his family background.

Main character Navy Captain’s daughter is Georgana Woodall. I feel desperately sorry for her having been exposed to her grandmother’s violence most of her life and is bullied by the other ship mates. But throughout the story she finds impressive strength and compassion within herself and she is my favorite of this story.

Supporting character First Lieutenant Dominic Peyton seems a light hearted and happy person in total control of who he is and what his future holds. He seems to have slightly liberal views on propriety which impresses me. Events on the convoy mission challenge his view of life.
This story reminds me of a movie favorite of mine, Master and Commander, which has similar setting aboard a British Navy vessel during Napoleonic Wars. I can’t remember having read any plot which deal with the combination of romance and nautical warfare quite like this. I know we are only at the beginning, but this unique story just might turn out to be one of my favorites this year.
The beautiful writing intrigued and enthralled me. Descriptions were so vivid I felt transferred to the ship. It was hard to take a break to get some sleep. I just had to find what would happen next with Georgana and Dominic. I loved that there even was light hearted, amusing dialogue in places. It’s been a long time since a character has engaged me like Georgana. She seemed a well developed character with the perfect blend of human and believable. So relatable she could have lived next door.

A little surprise gem was included as Georgana and Dominic enjoyed a little escape to a faraway beach in Antigua where they got to be alone together (Georgana being George). This part I felt was particularly well written and was my absolute favorite of the story.

I am really excited to see what Arlem Hawks comes up with next and
anyone who enjoys a great regency romance set at sea will love this.
Similar authors to explore might be Sarah E. Ladd or Ronda Gibb Hinrichson. Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing, Arlem Hawks and NetGalley for this opportunity to share my honest review. All opinions are completely my own.

Conclusion: This beautifully written, thoroughly engaging regency about Georgana who hides as a sailor trying to stay away from her violent grandmother, when she meets a man whose only love is the sea.
Rating: 5 stars / 5

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