Book review: Anna M Holmes, Wayward Voyage

Wayward Voyage

Anne is a headstrong young girl growing up in the frontier colony of Carolina in the early eighteenth century. With the death of her mother, and others she holds dear, Anne discovers that life is uncertain, so best live it to the full. She rejects the confines of conventional society and runs away to sea, finding herself in The Bahamas, which has become a nest for pirates plaguing the West Indies. Increasingly dissatisfied with her life, Anne meets a charismatic former pirate, John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, and persuades him to take up pirating again, and she won’t be left onshore. The Golden Age of Piracy is a period when frontiers were being explored and boundaries pushed. Wayward Voyage creates a vivid and gritty picture of colonial life in the Americas and at sea.

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Although there shouldn’t be, there’s always something ‘romantic’ about pirates, isn’t there? The open sea, the carefree life, that hint of the rogue? Well, that’s how Anne sees it, when she meets a group of pirates, and decides on impulse to leave her unsatisfying, dull life and run away to sea, gaining an unexpected husband on the way. I liked both James, and Calico Jack, and throughout this story, found all the characters well-rounded and realistic. We’ve all been there, wanting ‘something more’ as Anne says in the book, and she decides to go out and take it.

There is, as the blurb says, a grittiness to the world we’re drawn into here, in vivid detail. Both at sea and on land, the reality and precariousness of life, whether pirate or reformed character, are wonderfully captured and brought to life. Anne’s husband attempts to make a straight life, away from piracy, but is this going to be enough for Anne, and her thirst for adventure? The pace for this adventure story is excellent, and I’d highly recommend it.

About Anne

Anna is originally from New Zealand and lives in the U.K. with her Dutch partner.

WAYWARD VOYAGE is Anna’s first novel. She has been fascinated by the lives of women pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, for a long time. Some years ago, she visualised this story as a screenplay before exploring and building their world more deeply as a novel. WAYWARD VOYAGE made a longlist of 11 for the Virginia Prize in Women’s Fiction 2020.

BLIND EYE an eco-thriller, will be published by The Book Guild in September, so this year, 2021, Anna will have two novels coming out. Her screenplay, BLIND EYE, is joint winner of the 2020 Green Stories screenplay competition. 

A documentary about pioneers of flamenco in the UK that Anna produced and directed was screened in Marbella International Film Festival and in London. This passion project ensures a slice of cultural history has been captured. It is available on YouTube and via a portal on her website.

She holds a Humanities B.A, a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and an M.A. in Dance Studies. Initially she worked as a radio journalist before a career in arts management working with U.K. Arts Councils and as an independent producer, dance history lecturer and she has run a dance development agency.

Anna is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and enjoys practising flamenco. Writing, dance, and yoga shape her life.

Social Media Links



Twitter                 @AnnaMHolmes_

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