by Mimi Sebastian
One of the more interesting aspects of writing Sargasso’s Mistress was learning the intricacies of colonial politics and how pirates impacted the Carolina colonies at the time. One of the more famous events around pirate activity in the Carolinas was Blackbeard’s blockade of Charles Town. He stopped all traffic in and out of the major port for two weeks, and not for booty, but for medicine. Word is many of his crew were suffering from syphillis. You don’t want to know the recommended treatment of the time.
But much more went on behind the scenes. Previous to Blackbeard’s blockade, the British Parliament passed the Navigation Acts, which required that all colonial merchants sell and buy from English merchants, who set arbitrary prices for goods. In response, many Carolina merchants traded with pirates and purchased needed goods such as sugar at lower prices.
Eventually Blackbeard returned to the limelight. He set up a home base in the North Carolina hamlet of Bath and obtained a pardon from the then Governor Eden. However the pardon didn’t stop Blackbeard from raiding a French merchant vessel off the coast, claiming the vessel had been abandoned which led Eden to declare it as salvaged goods according to Admiralty law. But the Governor Virginia, Spotswood, who aimed to eliminate the pirate scourge and claim as much territory as he could get away with including North Carolina, didn’t agree. Blackbeard’s death came at the hand of a British Naval Lieutenant Maynard, sent by Spotswood. But Spotswood didn’t stop at Blackbeard. He sent another agent into Bath to illegally confiscate the French merchant goods and accuse Governor Eden of colluding with pirates. None of his accusations stuck, but Spotswood and Maynard did succeed in killing Blackbeard. Maynard returned to Williamsburg with Blackbeard’s head hanging off his bowsprit.
The Sargasso’s Mistress includes the intrigue behind Blackbeard’s taking of the French merchant vessel and how it impacted the different characters. Check out the back cover copy below.
The Sargasso’s Mistress
To escape her murderous reputation, Olive Jessop takes refuge on the notorious pirate ship, the Sargasso’s Mistress. Reveling in her newly found freedom, she concocts a scandalous plan to bury the specter of her late husband for good-propose to the captain they become lovers. She never expected such a rogue to refuse. But when he convinces his hardened crew not to torture a captive, she finds she wants to uncover more of the man than what’s tucked away beneath his breeches.
The widow’s presence on Captain Christopher Taylor’s ship clashes with his commitment to help fortify the North Carolina coast against the actions of a corrupt colonial governor. Her quiet beauty recalls emotions he thought he’d long tossed overboard-like so much expendable ballast-when he vowed to redeem himself from his father’s past betrayals. Yet, when they reach a pirate enclave in the Caribbean, he struggles to suppress his desire to make love to her on the seductive island beaches.
Set amidst the explosive events leading to the infamous Blackbeard’s death, Olive and Christopher must choose between personal agendas and their growing passion for each other. Will the choice come in time to save them from the hangman’s noose?
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