The Captain’s Creek – Pressing Times

Maggie Chase discovers an injured stranger hiding between two rocks as he flees for his life on the beach. Rapidly, she is forced to make a choice: reveal his whereabouts to the fast approaching press gang, or hide him from their sight.

The Impress Service was set up to make sure that the Royal Navy had the needed number of sailors to man its ships. It was harsh and unfair as the press gangs were notorious for their raids, often ignoring the set age-limits of between 18-55, in an era when it was difficult to prove your age when plucked off the street.

The coastal towns were rife with smuggling. Robin Hood’s Bay, for example, had a network of tunnels and passages linking the houses built on its steep banks. Although these were designed to move and hide contraband, they also proved useful when the press gang arrived. The womenfolk fought off the gang with anything they had to hand whilst their menfolk hid. They were a tough and hardy people, which is why the service wanted good seafaring men at a time when paid volunteers were not enough in number to fight Napoleon’s threat. Criminals who had chosen to serve a different type of sentence in the Royal Navy were often weakened by illness because of their previous incarceration. Therefore, the press gang swooped on the unsuspecting and gained a ruthless reputation as a result.

The eBook of The Captain’s Creek is available from Smashwords and Amazon directly or from most eBook sellers.

The World of Valerie Holmes

“…dread of wandering mariner, where often, alas, the proud vessel hath floundered against thy iron ribs, or perished on they cruel rocks!” –W Braithwaite in his “Rural Reminiscences”.

Love is a timeless essential of life. Throughout history, love in all its forms is a constant: be it passionate, caring, needy, manipulative, possessive or one that is strong enough to cross barriers of culture or faith. When two souls meet in a situation which takes them out of their normal social strata or into a shared danger, a relationship forms as the adventure unfolds.

The historical romances are based in the early nineteenth century, set against dramatic social change at a time of war with France. Smuggling, espionage, press-gangs all add to the drama that the hero and heroine can face.

Created to be entertaining reads that pass away a few hours lost to the thrill of an adventure, the core of my work is based around the same area of North Yorkshire. My world features the rugged headland of Stangcliff, the old inn sheltered in the bay of Ebton below and Gorebeck, the fictitious market town on the edge of the moors, marking a major crossroads for travellers to Newcastle, Harrogate, Whitby, and York.