Book Review of Georgana’s Secret by Arlem Hawks, a clean, historical romance full of adventure.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.


Part seafaring adventure, part Regency Romance, Arlem Hawks’ debut novel is a sweet love story that captivates from start to finish. It’s a page-turning clean romance with characters you can’t help but love.

The Story

Georgana's Secret Blog Tour image with book cover

The young Georgana Woodall disguises herself as a cabin boy on a Royal Navy Ship, the HMS Deborah, captained by her protective father, all to escape from the clutches of her abusive grandmother.

After three years in disguise, Ms. Woodall, who goes by George on the ship, meets Lieutenant Dominic Peyton, and a friendship quickly blossoms between the two. The more time they spend together, the more Georgana falls in love with the swoony and compassionate Lieutenant Peyton.

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Of course, the time spent together makes it more apparent to Peyton that George is actually Georgana. But should he tell her he knows her secret? Or would his acknowledgment ruin everything?

Meanwhile, life on a Royal Navy Ship is full of peril and treachery. Amid her dangerous and difficult circumstances, Georgana must find her own voice and courage.

Georgana’s Secret Book Review

Georgana's Secet Booklist starred review

The novel smartly switches the perspective between Georgana and Dominic, providing readers with richly developed characters and their inner thoughts while also not keeping us guessing when the Lieutenant unravels the secret. It makes the book more fun to read – wondering when these two will finally get on the same page.

Stylistically, the book is Austenesque but also reminiscent of adventure novels on the high seas, and I also can’t help but recall the romance between Nat and Kit in The Witch of Blackbird Pond – which is a good thing.

Hawks proves she’s an author to watch out for in the historical romance genre space because of her talent for prose, characterization, and believable romance.

So, if you enjoy sweet love stories with authenticity to them, then you’ll likely enjoy this book. It never becomes too saccharine and finds the right balance between emotion and adventure.

Overall Thoughts

Booklist starred review for Georgana's secret

Arlem Hawks debuts with a riveting romance full of layered, interesting characters, believable villains, and suspenseful action. Georgana’s Secret is a quick, enjoyable read and is a good choice for anyone who loves Jane Austen, clean romance, or adventure novels.

Adaptation Recommendation

Georgana’s Secret would make a fantastic film as the story has a succinct beginning, middle, and end with non-stop action and adventure and intriguing characters. It would also look fabulous on the big screen.

Content Note: The novel is a clean read with some mild adventure violence and references to emotional abuse.

Have you read Georgana’s Secret? What are your thoughts on the book? If you haven’t, do you want to? Let me know in the comments!

OVERALL RATING

“You had me at hello.”

ROMANCE RATING

“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope.

I have loved none but you.”

Official Book Description:

Georgana's Secret Booklist quote

A Regency romance on the high seas. Two hearts yearning to find a safe harbor, and possibly, a lasting love.

As a young girl, Georgana Woodall dreamed of beautiful dresses, fancy balls, and falling in love. However, when her mother dies, she cannot face a future under the guardianship of her abusive grandmother and instead chooses to join her father on his ship disguised as his cabin boy, “George.”

Lieutenant Dominic Peyton has no time in his life for love, not with his dedication to His Majesty’s Royal Navy claiming his full attention. While trying to adjust to a new crew, he strives to be an exemplary officer and leader.

When he sees the captain’s cabin boy being harassed by the crew, he immediately puts a stop to it and takes the “boy” under his wing. After discovering a number of clues, Dominic deduces that George is really a woman. Knowing that revealing the cabin boy’s secret would put her in serious danger from the rowdy crew, Dominic keeps silent and hides his growing affection for her.

Georgana is quickly losing her heart to Dominic’s compassion and care but is convinced nothing can come of her affection. She cannot continue to live her life on the sea, and having already missed too many seasons in London, her chances of being welcomed back into polite society and finding a suitable husband are quickly slipping away.

AUTHOR BIO:

Arlem Hawks author headshot

Arlem Hawks began making up stories before she could write. Living all over the Western United States and traveling around the world gave her a love of cultures and people and the stories they have to tell. With her travels came an interest in history, especially the history of her English heritage.

When she isn’t writing, Arlem is baking her characters’ favorite foods, sewing Regency dresses, learning how to play the tin whistle, and water coloring. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two children. Having previously published four historical romance novellas, Georgana’s Secret is her debut novel.

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