In V.E. Ulett’s new novel, Blackwell’s Homecoming, Captain James Blackwell, his wife Mercedes and their family have returned to Great Britain, after an extended sojourn in the Pacific. Yet, is Britain still their home? The family is quickly caught up in the politics of the Admiralty and the requirements of society. Captain Blackwell is called away to command a fireship in Lord Cochrane’s attack on Basque Roads, where he his seriously wounded and rescued by his son, Aloka, now a Royal Navy lieutenant. Back in London, during a state visit by the King and Queen of Hawaii, Captain Blackwell accepts the position of British consul-general to the Sandwich Islands. The voyage back to Hawaii will prove challenging and dangerous, as well.
Blackwell’s Homecoming is the third of V.E. Ulett’s Blackwell’s Adventure series. There is no shortage of adventure. The pacing is fast, the action dramatic and well portrayed. The books, however, are much more than simply “adventure.” They are a wonderful portrait of a complex family, bound by duty and driven by love. As I commented in my review of Captain Blackwell’s Prize, the first book of the series, this “is the sort of novel that readers of C.S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian can enjoy along with fans of Jane Austen and Daphne du Maurier.” All three books of the series, while full of action, are also romances, in the very best sense of the word. In the midst of the black powder smoke and the raging storms at sea, these are also finely drawn tales of fascinating characters, who as a reader, I ended up caring about very much indeed. Highly recommended.