|Cynthia Thomason: Windswept|
Splendor (Paperback), ISBN 0821764438
Daughter of the new federal judge, adventurous spirit Nora Seabrook's introduction to Key West consists of a sea water baptism occasioned by a rat and the two poodles. Much to her socially conscious mother's chagrin, this first misstep proves to be only the first in a series that ultimately thrusts Nora into danger, joy and love.
Nora's father, the judge, came to Key West to bring the island's infamous "wreckers" to justice. But it's "wrecker" Jacob Proctor, owner of the Proctor Warehouse and Salvage Company, who comes to Nora's rescue -- if "rescue" is the proper word for pulling a perfectly healthy woman out of shallow water and lifting her skirts to remove the crab she acquired in her dunking. The ever-enterprising Jacob also owns one the aforementioned garbage goat, which he rents to the island's residents.
Jacob and Nora's upbeat, hot and emotionally involving romance powers the excellent plot. But special mention must be made of Thomason's characterizations, which go far beyond a job well done. Thomason's careful rendering of cousin Fanny, the boys, the judge and Mrs. Seabrook, the island children and even the villains results in a masterpiece. In addition, Thomason's skillful handling of her considerable research leaves you hungry to learn more about wreckers, island life, and the prejudices and practices of the day.
Patricia White is the Sapphire Award-winning author of A Wizard Scorned. Her current book, the western Edwina Parkhurst, Spinster, is available from Hard Shell Word Factory.
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