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Sailing Home #3

Shipmate: A Royal Regard Prequel Novella

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The heavy hands and sharp tongues of Bella Smithson’s family have left her almost too timid to converse with a gentleman, much less conduct a husband hunt. Unfortunately, her overbearing aunt and managing cousin are determined to help her escape her black-hearted father and brothers.

Thanks to the Prince of Wales, retiring shipping magnate Myron Clewes has an ever-growing fortune, a fresh-minted peerage, a brand-new flagship, and an impossible set of requirements for a bride. Not least, she must be willing to leave England and everything she knows, possibly for good, in less than two months’ time.

Bella’s Happy-Ever-After in Royal Regard had its origins in a Happier-Than-She-Expected with her first husband, Baron Holsworthy, who gave her the confidence to steady her sea legs, take her life by the helm, and command her own voice, empowering a shy, young girl and unlikely adventurer to grow into one of King George IV’s trusted advisors.


Published November 22, 2015

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About the author

Mariana Gabrielle

7 books55 followers
Mariana Gabrielle is a pseudonym of Mari Christie, a professional writer, editor, and designer with almost twenty-five years’ experience. Published in dozens of nonfiction and poetry periodicals since 1989, she began writing mainstream historical fiction in 2009 and Regency romance in 2013. In all genres, she creates deeply scarred characters in uncommon circumstances who overcome self-imposed barriers to reach their full potential. She is a member of the Bluestocking Belles, the Writing Wenches, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Her first Regency romance, Royal Regard, was released in November 2014.

See also: Mari Christie

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Aleen.
454 reviews40 followers
December 4, 2015
Since this was the first story that I have read in this series, I'm glad I started with the prequel. I was not familiar with the characters, but it allowed me to get a fresh perspective on their backgrounds and personalities. This story is definitely different than a common romance. Matter of fact, there wasn't too much romance to be had for poor Bella. I couldn't help feeling sorry for her. Being labeled a wallflower and constantly reminded by her own family members that she is ugly, makes Bella shy, distant, and nervous around others.

Eager to marry her off to anyone willing, her family forces Bella to attend gatherings. Bella's overbearing Aunt Minerva certainly is one that is not pleasant to be around. But she has no choice as the Effingale's have generously taken Bella in after her Father's many nefarious actions. It seems that Bella is harassed on both sides. Mentally and physically.

She sees her savior in Baron Holsworthy, a much older man recently promoted by the Prince and ordered to find a wife.

"His greying hair was long, loose, and wild, and the lines on his face were deep, as though they had been carved with a chisel. Much older-perhaps even older than her father..."

Baron Holsworthy is not the typical hero that I'm used to and I was feeling apprehensive for Bella. Their relationship is not a wild romance. No real attraction, but more of a mutual respect. The Baron, needing a wife to take with him to sea and Bella needing a husband to take her away from her family.

However, I believe that it's the Baron who finally brings out the strengths in Bella. In instances away from her family, she finally finds her voice. The first instance is when she is called before the Prince to be assessed of her capability to be the Baron's wife.

"If I can speak to the royal family of England, I suppose I can learn to speak to anyone."

Bella continues her journey on the ship as a married woman. It presents to her more instances where her strength is tested and she continues to grow as a person.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. However, I was not too fond of the Baron. He did show his sweet side but there was an underlying temper in his countenance. His outlook on love was a little bleak and only that of producing an heir.

"Your only duty to me now is providing me a strong, healthy wife as soon as possible. As such, I will delay the pursuit of an heir for the nonce."

Bella comes to accept that there is no passion but she does have a good protector in the Baron. She is definitely in a place a lot better than where she was. I do hope love finds her. Her story is not over yet.

Profile Image for Lori D.
3,506 reviews87 followers
December 31, 2017
After reading God Help Ye, Merry Gentlemen, I could not wait to pick up the stories of The Sailing Home Series by Mariana Gabriella. I started with this book although it is shown as #3 due to it being a prequel to the first book. This story finds Bella Smithson, out in society with her Aunt and Uncle hoping to find her a husband. Having been raised by a terrible father and brothers, she is again being beaten down by her Aunt, who is really just trying to show her daughter Charlotte in a more favorable light. But in somewhat a fairytale, she is rescued by Myron Clewes, an older shipping magnate who is instructed by the Prince of Wales to find a wife. The goal being to represent England as more of a peer than just a working man. Finding Bella as a favorable choice, he sets about making her his wife. There are so many forces at play in this story that the twist and turns will keep you hoping that Bella and even goodhearted Myron make a happy union. Delightful dialogue and character descriptions, the author knows how to hold the readers attention! Cannot wait to read the rest of this series and find out about the lives of all those connected to Bella!
Profile Image for Christine Woinich.
2,117 reviews15 followers
March 15, 2016
I enjoyed this prelude, an introduction to some of Mariana's characters. Bella grew up under a great deal of violence and degradation. It kept her under a semblance of control, but her heart wanted more. Her savior comes in the guise of an older man, Myron, who sees that she can be more than she thinks she is capable of. He recognizes her strength and ability to make a good match for him. This story kept me enthalled and I look forward to the next step in Royal Regard.
708 reviews1 follower
December 8, 2017

I loved this story, I recommend everyone to read this book. I look forward to reading more of her books. Kattie.
Profile Image for Angela Withrow TheArdentReader.
242 reviews14 followers
February 24, 2016
Miss Isabella "Bella" Smithson is having a terrible time in Bath. She is visiting with her aunt, Lady Effingale and her cousin Charlotte, the Marchioness of Firthley.
She is, begrudgingly, on the hunt for a husband, but has no self-esteem whatsoever and her aunts constant barbs are of no help whatsoever!
Bella's father, Lady Effingales brother, is a useless sort of man, no one would call him a gentleman though he was a baronet!
Sir Jasper Smithson only saw his daughter as an asset to be used to fill his own pockets as full as possible before he let her go to whoever
might ask for her hand. And if no one offered, he would sell her to the highest bidder.
Bella was mentally abused by her aunt and physically and mentally by her father.
Bella is at a ball and she overhears a conversation about a wallflower, they must be talking about her!

Lord Halsworthy is a newly made baron, by the Prince Regent himself. He feels that Myron will make a wonderful "ambassador" and be able to help his country
in all manner of things pertaining to offshore interests. Myron's only wish was to settle at the estate that belongs to the title and find a wife.
He is a pious sort of man, does not drink and does not have mistresses. He is quite ready to settle on dry land.

Bella and Myron are introduced at this, Bella's first ball, and he decides she will do. He is much older than Bella and she is not so sure of the whole thing.
But he is the first person who isn't related to her to ask her to dance.

This story was very well written, I felt every pain for Bella! I can only imagine what hell she went through as a child.
I completely understand her wish to be left alone. But sometimes we don't know what we want out of life until it is given to us to make of what we will!
The scenery descriptions were fantastic! I felt like I could see the cabins on the ship!
Having read Royal Regard, I feel like I know these people.
It is wonderful to have a backstory into the reasons for a marriage that I questioned in the book.
Profile Image for Dee Deacon Foster.
410 reviews17 followers
February 21, 2016
This prequel to Royal Regard gives a wonderful insight to the life of Bella Smithson prior to her true HEA. The daughter of an intolerable drunk baron with equally abusive brothers, Bella enjoys living with her Aunt, Uncle & cousin at least when her father forgets about her existence. Having had an awful start to her 1st London season, “knowing” she is not a beauty Bella only hopes for someone to take her away from her father & brothers and care for her.

Newly minted peer, shipping magnate Myron Clewes is searching for a bride. Not just any bride but one that will leave her family & everything she knows for a life at sea. Spotting Bella at a party he thinks he might have found the one. After a whirlwind courtship, Myron is speaking with Bella’s uncle when her father makes an appearance. Shocked & disgusted with the way the man treats Bella brings out Myron’s protective side & knows he must get Bella away. (He’ll be shocked further once they have set sail.)

What follows is a sweet, comfortable love story. Although not the type to sweep the girl off her feet is a love of mutual admiration. Myron helps Bella develop the strength & determination to voice her opinions & to stand up for herself.

This is the first book of Mariana Gabrielle’s that I have read & have completely fallen in love with her writing. Having this insight into the character gives a new understanding of where she came from & what drives her in Royal Regard. Was so into the story that I had to immediately start Royal Regard. A definite add to my favorite author list!!!
Profile Image for Judy.
2,989 reviews
January 16, 2016
Shipmate by Mariana Gabrielle
A Royal Regard Prequel Novella
Miss Isabella Smithson hasn't had a very easy life. The daughter of a cruel man and sister to brother's no better than their sire, she lived with her relations. Her aunt may have never struck her with her hand...but instead, with her tongue lashings. And then...it was decided she would marry and sail off with her new husband.

Myron Clewes, Baron of Holsworthy loved traveling as a sailor. Now that Prince Regent had made him a baron and given him land, he needed a wife and the desired heir. It was time, he was older, after all.

Bella is shy until she is aboard the Amelia. A stronger woman emerges as she travels away from England. Away from her family. In the next book, Royal Regard, the reader can get to know Bella more as she and Myron return to England after fifteen years of travel. I really enjoyed this story and look forward to more from this series. 'Tis Her Season, Bella's cousin Charlotte's story, and where we first meet Bella. This is in the boxed set of Mistletoe, Marriage and Mayhem.
Profile Image for Fionna Guillaume.
Author 26 books27 followers
February 12, 2016
This is what I would call realistic historical romance. For modern readers, the couple might seem a bit stodgy: he's more than twice her age, stern and demanding, and staunchly religious to boot. Plus, his seduction technique leaves plenty to be desired. But he is, truly, a good man, and that is his appeal. Especially to Bella, a young woman who has always been trampled upon, even physically abused, by her heartless family. He is her protector and she his grateful wife. Like I said, the kind of thing that doesn't get my 21st-Century-woman juices flowing, but in historical context is charming and appropriate. Of course I was rooting for them, and glad to see them off to a good start as shipmates and partners.

Definitely a well-written and authentic piece of romantic historical fiction. A great introduction to the rest of the series!
Profile Image for Dottie.
287 reviews27 followers
July 19, 2016
This was my first encounter with Bella Smithson, the heroine of Royal Regard. In this prequel novella we learn a little about her background, family life, and courtship. Bella's story is one that could have easily ended quite badly for her. With an abusive father and brothers who practicality sold her to an aged seafaring diplomat, the scenario screams of impending doom! Luckily for Bella, life with her husband turns out to be more pleasant and her "happy for the meanwhile" story.
Artful storytelling!
79 reviews
December 27, 2015
Good backstory for the other novels.

You get to know Bella and Myron as they get to know each other, especially Bella's unhappy past. I look forward to reading more about their adventures together.
Profile Image for Sieravonne.
358 reviews3 followers
February 7, 2018
Poor Isabella Smithson, surrounded by swine like father and brothers. While the second brother, John, cared for her, he still didn't have any balls to protect Bella upfront from their contemptible father and older brother.

Plus, I find John very naive when he explained that Jeremy, their older brother, loves Angel Bairstowe, is different with her, he'll not lay a finger on her and if this Miss Bairstowe marries him, she will be the most pampered wife in Christendom. Duh?! Jeremy, was just a wolf in sheep's clothing! He'll definitely show his true colors when Miss Bairstowe marries him and her life will be as miserable as their mother's and Isabella's.

The good part of this story is, Isabella had grown some backbone after marrying her husband. I simply hope she'll be able to stand against her father and eldest brother and give them a direct cut in the sequel.
Profile Image for Jennifer Senhaji.
Author 6 books164 followers
March 30, 2016
Shipmate was a lovely preview and telling of Bella's and Myron's courtship and early marriage. He is one of the kindest and most patient hero's I've ever read. I must admit being surprised at the quick ending as I was hoping to read more of their travels, but all in all, a beautiful introduction to the series.
Profile Image for Teri Donaldson.
96 reviews3 followers
March 31, 2016
This is a wonderful prequel to Royal Regard. It will help you understand Bella's background and introduce you to Charlotte and Myron. While it made me wince at times, it left me cheering for Bella and her happiness.
Profile Image for Stacy Jones.
Author 4 books2 followers
March 16, 2016
A charming prequel to her novel, Royal Regard. I loved having the chance to see how Myron and Bella met. The only drawback is that it was over too soon. I definitely wanted to keep reading!
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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