In Ill Wind, one of two prequel novellas to the novel Dead Reckoning and an entry in the Valkyrie series, we meet Gabriella, a young woman whose miserable life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony leads her to dream of sailing away into a new life. But when she finally gets that chance, she discovers that her new life is just as miserable as her old one.
Yet, through her developing friendship with the slave Klara, she is able to maintain just enough hope to keep her going.
What I liked best about this novella was the attention to detail. Having spent a little time studying the Caribbean slave trade while I was working on my Ph.D. in eighteenth-century British literature, I appreciated the fact that Karen Perkins created a believable world with strong historical detail.
I also loved the character development—Gabriella is a nicely drawn character whose experiences left me gasping in sympathy.
I would have liked to have seen a more definitive ending for those readers just coming to the series, but having read Dead Reckoning, I know that this novella’s conclusion is just the start to the rest of a strong series.
Gabriella Berryngton is an unhappy and oppressed fourteen-year-old girl living in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1683. She dreams of escaping her bitter, ambitious stepfather and sailing off into the unknown.
Her dreams come true when her stepfather sells her into marriage.
Aboard the Freyja, she is hopeful that her new life in the Dutch West Indies will be an improvement – a hope that dies when she is given a slave, Klara, and a whip. She discovers that her soon-to-be father-in-law is a ruthless slave trader in league with pirates, and her fiancé is cold, unfriendly and disinterested in Gabriella. She is little more than a vessel to provide the next generation of van Eckens.
Largely ignored and desperately unhappy, she and Klara develop a friendship which makes life bearable – at first. Once married, Gabriella’s life takes a turn for the worse and she descends into a world of horror and abuse until tensions finally explode. Life will never be the same and she has no choice but to take fate into her own hands.
About the Author
Karen Perkins lives in Yorkshire, where she spends her time writing and publishing as proprietor of LionheART Publishing House. She has been a keen sailor since childhood, competing nationally and internationally until the day she had both National and European Ladies Champion titles. Although she no longer takes to the water, she continues to enjoy sailing in her imagination and fiction – capsizing far less often!
She has written the novella (Ill Wind) and the full-length novel (Dead Reckoning – long-listed in the Mslexia Novel Competition 2011) both of which are number one bestsellers in Sea Adventures on Amazon.co.uk in the Valkyrie Series. Look Sharpe! Valkyrie 3, has just been released and will shortly be followed by the short story, Where Away and the novel Ready About!.
Karen Perkins has also written the novel, Thores-Cross and the associated short story Cursed in the Yorkshire Ghost Story Series. Dark, haunting tales set in the North Yorkshire Moors about isolation, superstition and persecution, Thores-Cross follows the stories of Emma, a present day writer, and Jennet, an eighteenth century witch. Thores-Cross is a number one bestseller in British Horror on Amazon.com, and will soon be followed by the next book in the series, Knight of Betrayal. Set in both 1170 and modern day, Knight of Betrayal focuses on the four knights – Hugh de Morville, Reginald fitz Urse, William de Tracey and Richard le Bret – who broke the sanctuary of Canterbury Cathedral to murder the Archbishop, Thomas Becket. Hiding out in Knaresborough Castle, the extreme level of their medieval sense of guilt and dishonour has horrific repercussions nearly a millennium later.