2nd-summer-ofwarBook Review – Second Summer of War by Cheryl Cooper

Cheryl Cooper’s Second Summer of War (sequel to Come Looking For Me) continues the adventures of Princess Emiline Louisa (Emily) – the grand daughter of King George III and estranged wife of British traitor Captain Thomas Trevelyan. Emily is returning home, leaving those she cares about most behind. Her Uncle Clarence (the future King William IV) has arranged for her to stay at Hartwood Hall, home of the Duke and Dutchess of Belmount and their family. It’s a cold suffocating environment for someone with Emily’s free spirit and passion for life. She is restricted to the estate while she awaits Captain Trevelyan’s trial to begin. A battle of wills erupts as the Duke and Dutchess attempt to have her married off. It’s all part of an effort to gain favour with her uncle the Prince Regent.

Meanwhile the war in the Atlantic rages on as the Royal Navy struggles against the superior firepower of the US Navy frigates. Fly Austen and Dr. Leander Braden, now aboard HMS Amethyst are required to return to England to testify at the trial. It’s a journey marked by a vicious storm and warships hunting for them. Just getting home will be a struggle to survive.

Will Emily and her beloved Dr. Braden have the reunion they both have envisioned?

Like its predecessor, Come Looking For Me, this story draws you in from the opening pages. We feel like we’ve only left Emily and her companions for a brief moment. The transition is seamless. Cheryl Cooper’s extensive research really shines through in the definition she gives each of her characters and the world they inhabit. You’re struck by the hard unforgiving lives of the sailors aboard these warships. Every moment, every breath that is taken seems a stolen one. Death has claimed so many of these men like those aboard the ill fated HMS Isabelle. How could the inhabitants of Hartwell Hall or Emily’s relatives even begin to understand what she has gone through in her life aboard these ships?

Cheryl’s attention to detail and her mastery of her craft painted vivid living images of each character, their struggles, passions and sorrows. Once the last sentence is read on the final page, you know you haven’t seen the last of Emily, Leander, Fly, Gus, Magpie and the rest. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long before we can continue their adventures with them.