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The Sea Captain's Wife Paperback – Jul 26 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Canada (July 26 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307402568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307402561
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 363 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #185,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Quill & Quire

Beth Powning’s second novel is the affecting and engaging story of a young woman seeking her place in the world – a place away from the loneliness and boredom of a small Canadian village.

Azuba is the young wife of Nathaniel, an older man who captains the Traveller, a commercial ship. The couple originally planned to travel together, but when Azuba becomes pregnant, Nathaniel realizes he cannot jeopardize his wife’s safety or that of his unborn child by taking her aboard his ship.

The primary action begins in 1861, five years into the couple’s marriage. Azuba, pregnant again, suffers a miscarriage while her husband is at sea, and finds comfort and understanding in her friendship with a local minister. Upon Nathaniel’s return, rumours of an affair between Azuba and the minister are swirling, and as a result he feels compelled to take his wife and five-year-old daughter on his next voyage. During that arduous trek around the world, Azuba and her husband begin to rebuild their relationship and in the process explore the dynamics of family and belonging.

Powning’s lyrical prose accentuates the struggles of the characters while smoothly advancing the plot. The descriptive passages paint a clear picture of the historical period while taking care not to wallow in gratuitous details. Unfortunately, the prologue is written in a more formal style than the novel proper, and the epilogue seems like an add-on – both are unnecessary and detract from the narrative’s flow and impact.

Thematically, The Sea Captain’s Wife is about the complexities of relationships – between husband and wife, between extended family members, friends, and society – and about the conflict between work and family. Nathaniel’s decision to have his wife and daughter accompany him allows Powning to effectively explore the consequences of a lack of balance between passion and pragmatism.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


National Bestseller

"The Sea Captain's Wife is a terrific tale, fast-moving and expertly told, one which measures, in the author's phrase, 'the true size of the world.' Like The Hatbox Letters, Powning's second cleverly crafted novel is not to be missed.
London Free Press

"Equal parts character study, travelogue and action-adventure tale, The Sea Captain's Wife is a marvellous read."
Edmonton Journal

"Epic in its emotional intensity… The work also succeeds at painting a vivid and vibrant portrait of the Atlantic Canadian landscape during the last days of the age of sail."
The Chronicle Herald

"It is swashbuckling, it is heart-rending and readers will shed tears."
National Post

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews

By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 10 REVIEWER on Feb. 22 2010
Format: Hardcover
Oh, can I tell you how much I loved The Sea Captain's Wife!

Azuba is the daughter of a shipwright in 1860's New Brunswick, Canada. She has grown up around the water and dreams of being a sea captain's wife sailing with her husband around the world. Her dreams seem like they will come true when she marries Nathaniel - a veteran captain. But when she falls pregnant with their first child, he insists she stay on land. But a scandal necessitates Nathaniel reluctantly taking Azuba and their daughter with him on his next voyage. Azuba's dream is at last realized. But is it at the cost of her love and marriage to Nathaniel? What about the physical dangers? Has she put her child in danger or exposed her to the adventure of a lifetime? (This is the kind of adventure I would love!)

I always think I was born in the wrong century and this is the kind of book that greatly appeals to me. Historical - and really, the detail and research that Beth Powning has included in The Sea Captain's Wife was outstanding. I had wonderfully clear pictures of the town, their home, the ship and the ports in my mind as I read.

Azuba is a wonderfully drawn character. Bound by the social mores of her time to do the right thing and be a 'good' wife she still yearns for adventure. Powning skillfully explores Azuba's emotions and feelings as she struggles to balance the two in her life.

The novel is full of adventure as well - storms, exotic ports and what would the high seas be without pirates.

I honestly could not put this one down. A rich tale from an excellent Canadian author.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. Macgillivray on Jan. 1 2010
Format: Hardcover
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of this book.

When I think of Beth Powning, I think of her beautiful descriptions, especially of nature.
However, in this book, she shows she can bring her descriptive powers to the dark side. While there are lovely descriptions of the heroine Azuba's home on the Bay of Fundy, the author also brings to life the less pleasant aspects of being a captain's wife at sea: seasickness, being tossed around in a boat during storms, rotting maggoty food, the difficulty in maintaining personal hygiene on a boat, near-starvation, pirate attacks, etc.
There are also fascinating tidbits of history and sailing lore.
A great story for anyone, and history buffs will love it. I sure did.
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By Karrog on Jan. 22 2011
Format: Hardcover
This novel is absolutely a wonderful read! I am surprised that there are only 4 reader reviews. I guarantee that once you start this book you will have a hard time putting it down! The author is a skilled story teller and a gifted writer.
It truly was a tumultuous but exciting voyage. This book sheds light into the little known world of sea captains' wives particularly in the 19th century. Highly recommend it! 5 star rating!
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Format: Hardcover
No wonder this book is a best seller! It is both an exciting page-turner sea story and a deeply understood love story. It has the makings of a great literary novel.

I'd also love to see it as a Hollywood film!
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