A True Account by Katherine Howe

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A True Account by Katherine Howe

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Buy A True Account by Katherine Howe at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: A very readable, wild and violent ride; this is a pirate story that will leave you turning the pages at speed to see what will happen next to Hannah…
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: November 2023
Publisher: Magpie
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780861547432

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Hannah Masury is living in Boston, having been sent to live with a family who run an inn, and being made to work there from a young age. When she hears there is to be a hanging of some pirates in the town, she decides to go and watch. Enthralled and horrified in equal measure, Hannah finds herself embroiled in a young boy's death at the hands of two vicious pirates. She hides away, so that they don't find and kill her too, and then to escape them completely she runs away to sea, dressing as a boy and joining the notorious Ned Low's pirate ship as a cabin boy. She soon finds herself in the thick of things when there is a mutiny on board, and from there we are caught up in her rip roaring tale of life on the ocean waves.

Hannah's story comes to us through the eyes of Marian, a 1930's college professor whose student has discovered Hannah's account, and who shares it with Marian in the hope that they can bid for money to go on an expedition to find Hannah's treasure. The juxtaposition of the two women, in their very different time periods, is really well written, with both of them facing the challenge of living their own lives, in the ways that they wish, constrained by societal expectations.

Right from the very start of this book, I found myself caught up in Hannah's world. It is so vivid as you read, and that feeling only intensifies once she's on the sea in the ship. You can almost feel the spray from the waves as you hear about what's happening on board. Rather than being suave swashing and buckling pirates however, this is definitely a very brutal, and more realistic depiction. Those with a weak stomach might find some of the fight scenes a little much to bear. I felt that the gore added to the atmosphere, and only served to increase the terror lurking beneath every move that Hannah makes on board the ship because you know the absolute brutality of what those men surrounding her can and will do.

It isn't the sort of book I would normally be drawn to read, but the idea behind it sounded interesting, and I found it addictive. Although initially I felt I was less interested in Marian's story, the more they began to weave together the more I cared about what would happen to her too. Again, the period of time in which Marian's living is beautifully written, and you can imagine her on her travels especially. Marian's storyline with Kay proves to be a little exciting (less blood-thirsty!) I would have liked her father to be a little more fleshed out, but still there are some unexpected moments with Marian and the part she plays in the tale. Still, it was Hannah I was really invested in, and I found it really hard to put the book down towards the end, as I really had to see how things would work out for her.

It's amazing how much story is packed into the book. I certainly felt like I'd been on a wild adventure whilst reading it. Hannah is wonderfully brave, and her story is exciting, and whilst some of the twists and turns left me a little cross, I still really enjoyed the ride.

If you'd like to know a bit more about pirates then you might like to read Pirates: Truth and Tale by Helen Hollick or for a different naval tale you could try The Tide of War by Seth Hunter.

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Buy A True Account by Katherine Howe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A True Account by Katherine Howe at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

Buy A True Account by Katherine Howe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A True Account by Katherine Howe at Amazon.com.

A True Account by Katherine Howe Check prices, read reviews or buy from Foyles. Foyles currently charges £2.99 (first class £3.99) for orders under £25, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Foyles bookshop at no charge.

A True Account by Katherine Howe Check prices, read reviews or buy from Waterstones. Waterstones currently charges from £2.75 for orders under £20, over which delivery is free. You may also click and collect from a Waterstones bookshop at no charge.

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