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Ransome's Crossing

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Ransome's Crossing by Kaye Dacus

Reviewed by Lori Fox

"Kaye Dacus is an excellent writer all around, writing in two genres equally well..."

Charlotte Ransome is secretly engaged to a man that her mother disapproves of, but this is not her greatest challenge in marrying him. He is in Jamaica, and she is in England. No matter, her brother is Commodore Ransome, the leader of a fleet of ships that is heading to Jamaica. Requesting passage is out of the question, for he would never support her marriage to a man with no prospects of his own and, as a woman, her duty is to remain in England and marry well. The only hope of reaching her beloved Henry is to stow away---as one of the crew. As long as no one finds out that she's a girl everything should turn out fine. Right?

Ransome's Crossing is the second novel in the Ransome Trilogy by Kaye Dacus, and continues Julia Witherington (now Ransome) and William Ransome from book one, Ransome's Honor. In addition to Julia and William, William's sister Charlotte now becomes a lead character, as does William's First Lieutenant in the Royal Navy, Ned Cochrane.

Ransome's Crossing is a little unusual in that it gives equal time, and nearly equal importance, to the characters of the first book in the trilogy as it gives to the new character focus. This is done seamlessly, which is great for readers like me who hate saying goodbye to old favorites yet don't want to give up the opportunity to learn more about new ones.

Kaye Dacus is an excellent writer all around, writing in two genres equally well, but there are two areas that she is particularly adept at. One, is that all of her characters, even the bit players, have individual personalities. That may may not sound very impressive, but how many times have you picked up a book further down in a series only to be disappointed that the new character is merely a copy of an old one? Not so in Dacus' novels. Two, no matter the theme of the book, whether running a catering company or a ship in the Royal Navy, Dacus has her research down pat. Descriptions are accurate and to the point, and conversations, while a bit above my head, read naturally.

I have only ever had one complaint about any of the novels written by Kaye Dacus, and that is that non-essential descriptions are a bit too common for my taste. The casual reader is unlikely to even notice them, but frequent readers will be glad to know that they become less and less common as her career progresses.

Ransome's Crossing is my favorite of Dacus' books thus far. While all of her stories are rich and have a different flavor from other books in her genres, there is something incredibly endearing about a young girl who can hold her own among a ship's crew---not through luck or long experience, but because of being clever, preparing well, and having a natural inclination for a forbidden life.

Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.