Roberta “Bert” Lenehan, a restaurant owner, is taking a three-month respite from work by volunteering for the National Park Service as a caretaker of an abandoned village site. It is a task that at first glance appears innocuous, but first glances can often be deceptive. In this case, it turns out that there have recently been two unexplained deaths in the area. The local park ranger, Hunter O’Hagan, informs Bert about the artifact plunderers who skulk about, as well as the local legend involving a ghost and treasure.
The Sea-Born Woman, as the legend goes, got that name because Jerushia Spriggs O’Hara, an Irish immigrant onboard a ship threatened by a violent storm and even more violent pirates, saved the day for all then, and to this day still assists sailors. In a striking coincidence, the heroine is a sea-born woman also. History repeats itself in more ways than just murder by the touching romance that develops between Bert and Hunter.
So begins a spellbinding and at times spine-tingling first novel by B.J. Mountford. The characters take shape in the readers mind through the convincing idiosyncrasies each possesses. The author moves easily between both plot lines in a seamless rhythm that belies the fact that this is her first effort. Just as the suspense builds in the present day plot, the historical plot weaves intricately through it to explain the connection between the old and new stories.
Sea-Born Women is an engrossing page-turner. It will keep readers guessing who did what to whom when right up to the very end. As a first novel, it certainly will whet the appetite of readers for the next book by B.J. Mountford.