At first glance, this is a historical novel with a protagonist whose romance goes terribly wrong. But it is done so beautifully, with rich and satisfying characters, diverse and beautifully drawn, and deft use of vocabulary, equally diverse and beautiful. The central theme of the story is the sea, how it molds and shapes the characters in both positive and negative ways. It leaves no one unaffected. Bottom line: this is a beautifully written story, evocative and informative, and while it breaks no new ground, it brings gravitas to its genre.

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