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Feel free to forward reviews for any of my books, both praise and constructive criticism will be considered. At my discretion, however, I may edit or abridge any submitted reviews. Please note, this is not a message board. Correspondence and a "right to reply" will not be included.

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Disclaimer: All views expressed on this page are purely those of private correspondants, and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by Helen herself.

Spoiler Warning: Some of a novel's plot twists and surprises may be inadvertently mentioned and/or exposed.

Critique for 
"Sea Witch"

A really, really FANTASTIC read - and I have already devoured the first part posted on your website - I can sense more sea ventures ahead!!! Can't wait for Spring 2007! Once again, I have been completely captivated and entertained. Thank you for such a brilliant story and such wonderful, colourful characters!

Wow! What a fantastic ride! Lady, you are totally zeroed in on my story bone! What a great slab of words! What is the matter with the publishers in London? If the manuscript of SEA WITCH had crossed my desk, I would be throwing bags of gold your way. I want to sign on with Captain Acorne! When is the next one coming out? The future is yours! It's got to be!  Ps  one complaint--the story wasn't long enough.

The review be posted! Yarrr!!! Thanks for the opportunity to review Sea Witch - I enjoyed it very much!

(Read Bilgemunky's full review here. H)

Your strengths are in developing characters. I LOVED to hate the horrible Dutchman. I expect I'll have to hate him throughout the next book too, eh? He provides such anxiety for us readers!! [And for Jesamiah too, I know!]. I find Jes to be such a complex person - no doubt your conversations with him are QUITE interesting! I think he's better looking than Johnny Depp, and I like him a lot more than Jack Sparrow [who I think is too "Disney" to be a 'real' man like Jes - even though he IS cute!].

{Snip. Discussion and praise of a plot twist removed...}

I am also imagining Tiola's name is pronounced "Tyo - la" ..yes? Once I envisioned it that way and not "Tee - o - la" then it was easier to sort of make it sound like Cornish and not French. (actually its teeo-la, 'Tee' with the 'o' very short. H)

What I liked best about the whole book was your description - battles weren't boring, the love scenes weren't cheesy and I felt as though I could sail a boat myself after reading how they run aloft to furl the sails!

You have written a book that is compelling and which stays with me - truly! I'll be driving around in my car randomly thinking of something I need to do and a scene will pop into my head. I couldn't put the book down, didn't want to finish and now that I have I want the next one! Keep writing! Tethys will only wait so long between snacks.... :)

This story is close to your heart? I like the.... Wow, I can't think of the right words.... Ambiguity, I guess, I get to feel toward Jesamiah - you know what he is, a pirate, but you kinda like him anyway. He has more layers than his inspiration [Jack Sparrow] and makes a more complex character in some ways.

It's rather bitter-sweet in a way - I'm not done yet and I'm at the point of teetering between hoping this all turns out like a romantic fantasy that ends " Happily ever after " and the one more likely to leave a mark. Keep that sense of having this story re-call memories of love lost. I felt their pain of a broken heart and each did what would be true to their own nature. Such a mix of realism and romanticism is an unusual recipe. It's compelling because of the enthusiasm and magic of discovering another time and place infused in this story. Thanks!

I finished reading the book today, and I loved it! Very well done, though if I may be so bold, there were three things which stood out to me.

1) was concerning the word sh*t. Maybe it was because we had already discussed whether to use the word or not [on a Pirate message board. H] but it stuck out for some reason. Maybe he could've said it in Spanish?

2) is the style you used in this book, but I don't remember from your King Arthur novels, was sentence structure. It is unique in this book. Doesn't take away from it, and I liked it, but I did have to re-read a couple of the sentences to understand them fully. I believe you mentioned the font somewhere as well, which was nice to see different from other books printed in something closer to the worn out Times New Roman.Otherwise, it neither added to nor took away. But a nice change.

3) something which I doubt you had any control over, but maybe, was the overall construction of the book physically. The paperback is nice, a nice size, easy for me to stow in a pack and carry with me but the binding is not very strong. In all other ways, it was great! I didn't go in for the love scene parts too much, but I chalked that up to me being a guy, so of course I just want to get to the next part about the ships, or the tricks pulled or the fighting. I eagerly look forward to the next instalment!

I finished reading Sea Witch! I want more Jes!!  Helen, I loved it! Can't wait for the next one. How long does it take to write a book anyway?

I have fallen completely, madly in love with Jesamiah Acorne! I'm not finished with the book as yet but so far I love it!  Thanks so much Helen! Jesamiah is one of the liveliest and endearing characters I've seen come along in a very long time! Congratulations!

Oh, Helen, tell Jesamiah he is such a flirt and I mean that in a good way! He is so cute! (Tell him cute is a wonderful thing from a woman's point of view). I love the interaction between him and Tiola once he gets his strength back. They are so wonderful together and he is SUCH a charmer!

Well done on a vivid, fast moving romp that leaves your readers looking for next years diary so that we can see how long to wait for the next instalment. Quite how Jesamiah can possibly be up for more than you have already put him through though is a bit beyond me. Only one complaint, I really felt that the despatch of his dastardly brother should have been much, much nastier! But hey that's just me!

It's a jolly good read!

(Read Carla's full review here. H)

FINISHED IT......WOOHOOO.  Helen....fantastic ending mate....but I want MORE... MORE.... MORE...  What poor Jesamiah went through by his brother didn't have the time to give him his due....but now I know the "blue ribbons" have at least three uses...  Well done Jesamiah...Tiola was awesome...loved the supernatural aspect of her life and The just right. A good mixture of men who are loyal to the ship and the Captain....well done. Loved the connection between Tiola and the "Sea Witch" too....well written Helen. Gonna have to read it a few more times now....waiting for the sequel....sigh....

I SO loved Sea Witch , honestly, one of the best reads ever - I even enjoyed it more than Frenchman's Creek (perhaps because there was more sailing detail?)

I like the book it was cool

Sea Witch is a exciting adventure mixing piracy romance and magic it's the best book I have read all summer. It's a real page-turner captain jesamiha acorne is a fantastic character I could actually imagine I was on mermaid sailing the high seas with him. Tiola well what can I say about her the little witch (get it) she's the best.
Robert (aged 12)

I am half-way through your book and it is brilliant...
(Later) I have now finished Sea Witch - honestly could not wait to read it in bed, sadly now finished the ending did not disappoint and waiting for following up.
Lorna (Manager, The Epping Bookshop)

What I liked most about Jesamiah is that he is a blend of vulnerability and libertine. He can be induced to be gentle but he isn't really that gentle. He can be when he chooses. He makes no excuses for what he is. This makes him endearingly vile!

With Jesamiah, Tiola, Rue and yes, even Finch (I LIKE Finch - please don't kill him off!!!) you have created characters in the style of Sharpe, Uhtred, Hornblower and Bolitho who are there at historical events but are all entirely fictional. It is a little niche you have created for yourself - most naval fiction is based on the Napoleonic wars and gets a bit 'samey'.

I think what I am trying to say is that I (and so many others) want MORE! And we want it as soon as is humanly possible!! This is the sign of a great series - when you can't wait for the next instalment to come out.
Richard - an avid reader and reviewer

Critique for 
"Pirate Code"

Helen!! I wanted you to know I am DELIBERATELY reading PIRATE CODE as slow as humanly possible, but I am finding it extremely difficult. I just don't want the book to be over, because... well... it will KILL me till I get your next instalment!!

I am totally enthralled by your books, the characters are great, the story has so many twists! and Poor Jes!! I just wanna grab him up and give 'im a big ole hug! Poor blighter...he's so love struck. I have to say you have made me laugh out loud at his many times, people at work think I am nuts! I can't wait to see the next book!!

Critique for 
"Bring It Close"

I am about 100 pages into Bring It Close and it's great. I was worried not having read for a while that I would forget what happened, but you have a wonderful way of tying in important events from the other books that jogged my memory so it was very easy to pick up where I left off. The style of the book is just as exciting as the other two.

I've finished my "slower" read of this wonderful book and have enjoyed it even more! Thank you again!

What can I say? Wow isn't strong enough! Helen thank you so much for creating that gorgeous rogue, Jesamiah. I'm in love with a pirate ha ha! Seriously: I was on edge before starting Bring It Close because I was worried that maybe my liking for Jesamiah had "gone off the boil". No worries. Bring It Close is as good as the other two - no, better! Is that possible???

A review of Bring It Close? Breathtaking. Imaginative. Compelling.

Just Excellent So Amazingly Marvellous I Am Hooked