Maria Vasquez has always heard voices in her head–dark voices telling her that she is a curse to everyone around her, sinister voices telling her that she is nothing but a bringer of death. At the end of the first California Rising book, Maria was abducted by a rich landowner obsessed with her beauty. In a troubling scene at the beginning of the second volume, she knifes him for assaulting her. Afraid she’ll be tried for murder, she disguises herself as a cabin boy and flees California. By accident, however, she takes passage on the ship of Captain Dominic Mason, the handsome American who fills every one of her girlish daydreams. The only problem is, Dominic has a fiancee named Sally waiting for him in Boston. Can Maria convince Dominic to marry her instead before the ship rounds Cape Horn? Or will the curse surrounding her take him too if she tries to obtain his love?
The first book in the California Rising series left me feeling conflicted about the hero, but this second book I enjoyed more. The story reminded me of Francine Rivers’ Redeeming Love. The timeline of the book spans several years, accounting for the long traveling time it took to sail from San Francisco to Boston and back! This adds an interesting dimension to the book as Maria matures from an impulsive and passionate teenager to a fiercely loyal woman with maternal instincts. Maria and Dominic’s relationship deepens as time goes by, and all the vicissitudes they encounter make their HEA even sweeter.