Usually I avoid books from independent publishers like a plague. Prior to this, every book I'd read from a small, (often 'feminist') press was really just something that shouldn't have been published in the first place - amateur or worse.
However 'Witch from the Sea' got really good reviews, and I love pirate fiction - so I picked it up. What a pleasant surprise! The writing is fully professional-calibre, and the story is a fun adventure-romance - in the early 19th-century, a young woman, Tory, runs away from the girls' school where she is scorned for being a 'half-breed.' Running away to sea disguised as a boy, she falls in with a ship of Cuban pirates. While learning the tricks of seamanship and piracy, amongst the exotic islands of the West Indies, she also becomes infatuated with the handsome and well-born Mateo. It's obvious to the reader nearly from the outset that Matty is a cad, but what will it have to come to to get Tory to realize that?
The historical setting is not enormously realistic - this is really one remarkably egalitarian group of pirates - non-sexist, non-racist, fairly non-violent, and not even the slightest little bit homophobic. But this isn't a history primer, it's a fantasy of life at sea that portrays piracy as we wish it had been - with enough dirt and grit to make it exciting, but not so much that it spoils the romance.
Jensen has two sequels planned, and I'll definitely try to pick them up as they're published. I've also got another pirate novel from the same publisher on my wish list (Captain Mary, Buccaneer).
In 1823, Tory Lightfoot runs away from Boston's soul-stifling Worthen Academy for Women, seeking freedom that she knows she'll never find there--only to be captured by pirates. She quickly takes to the life of an outlaw, joining the buccanneers as they plunder ships and dodge the pirate-hunting American "West India Squadron". But it is her heart that tests her character and ability to survive. First there is Matty, a handsome gentleman's son-turned-pirate out to prove himself on his own terms. There's also Jack, her mentor, who reluctantly helps her adapt to the brigand's life.