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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
When you don’t have time for a really long novel, but need a story that captures your interest quickly and holds it to the last page, pick up a copy of The Master of Ships by Naomi Finley. Honestly, this Canada-based writer with an affinity for the deep south after spending her childhood in Tennessee sure knows how to tell an engrossing story in a minimum of pages.
The Master of Ships is one Charles Hendricks who masters his ships better than his emotions, especially after his beloved wife dies. For too long, he uses drink to numb himself to pain and to the possibility of ever loving another woman. But one night, one of his black female slaves, Isabella, becomes a willing listener and his lover…and sometime later, unbeknownst to him, the mother of his child. Separated by necessity and circumstances, both Charles and Isabella feel the need to find each other again, but if they do, is there a future for them in a society where a white shipmaster shouldn’t be involved with a black woman?
Just as I couldn’t put down the first novella I read by Naomi Finley, The Black Knight’s Tune, I read this engrossing story in one sitting. What a skill she has at creating realistic, engaging characters who stir our emotions! And as she does this, she creates in the reader the desire to read more of her books of which there are plenty. Don’t get too upset when you reach the end of The Master of Ships; turn the page and see you’ve reached the end. Finley is not only a skilled writer: she’s a clever marketer. She knows if you loved this book, you’ll be keen to read its sequel. I certainly am!