Whatever I’ve said before, I think I just changed my all-time favorite book, at least until I read another, to the Bloody Jack series by L. A. Meyer. I simply love his books – I’ve had the misfortune to stumble across them at a Borders that went out of business, and had to read them. That is, the two that were there (5 and 6). So don’t yell at me when I tell you that Under the Jolly Roger Being an Account of the Further Nautical Adventures of Jacky Faber is the third book, because it is, and I read it, and I loved it, so there!
Here’s a little blurb from the cover, courtesy of Harcourt Books, before I get too excited:
After leaving the Lawson Peabody School for Young Girls in Boston – under dire circumstances, of course – Jacky boards a whaling ship bound for London, where she hopes to be reunited at last with her beloved Jaimy. But when she sees Jaimy holding hands with a beautiful young woman, Jacky’s bent for jumping to conclusions sends her off on an unexpected wild misadventure at sea.
Taken aboard a ship against her will, Jacky thwarts the advances of its crazy captain, rallies the sailors to her side, and ultimately gains command of a ship in His Majesty’s Royal Navy. But Jacky’s adventures don’t end there…. Before she knows it, she’s being called a pirate – and there’s a price on her head!
This is the hardcover:
If that’s not enough to convince you, I’ll add my two cents. Jacky Faber is a fifteen-year-old girl in Britain and the Atlantic seas in the early 1800’s – but purely fictional characters and plot, if not necessarily circumstance. It is the war between Britain and France that this former street urchin of London profits from. But the book is…. well, I’m not really sure how to describe it. It was quirky and adventerous, and you immediately throw your lot in with Jacky, especially if you’re a girl. She is much loved even by the characters, and her clever wit gets her out of more than one scrap. The best part about it though, would probably be the messes she gets herself into. Almost everytime she’s about to get away, she doesn’t, or when you finally thing something else is going to happen, she gets away! Jacky is resourceful and a commanding yet lovable figure from a sailor’s perspective. She’s not afraid to get things done.
This book was written in a strange way – a first person narrative, which really allows the reader to get to know Jacky, and then it’s also mostly in the present, with a few flashbacks from the future (as in, she told it in first person past). There are also letters that aren’t sent, simply written, by her sweetheart, Jaimy. They are quite humorous at times. For example:
“How could even one such as you, willful, headstrong, reckless, and wildly impulsive as you are, have thought you would get away with something like that?… Jacky, I can only hope with all my heart that you get wind of this before you are caught and that you take both yourself and your ship to the other side of the world and live out your life happily there, for there is no life for you here. Not a long one, anyway. Oh, yes. I passed for Lieutenant.” (Under the Jolly Roger, Meyer, pg. 471).
Jaimy’s dry humor and worry for Jacky are placed very nicely just when you get really concerned, thereby delaying the satisfaction of finding out what happens next, making you laugh at the irony because Jaimy has told you something that Jacky either does not, has just, or will soon find out, and also making you wonder: how will Jacky get out of this scrap? Lucky circumstances? Her clever tongue that gets her into trouble as well as out of? Or her friends, which she has an uncanny knack of making? Anyway it turns out, I love L. A. Meyer and MUST buy the rest of this series and read them. I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a book of adventure, a bit of romance, and a lot of laughs at Jacky and other’s expenses.
Oh, and I love the softcovers! The hardcovers are okay, but seem more Middle Grade than Young Adult.
On to my summer reading book (but don’t worry, I’ll be back soon – I have three new books on my Nook to review afterwards!),