The Fishing Fleet! Fascinatingly ironic! This is the term used by the local English for the women who came to India looking for husbands from the marriageable men employed by the East India Company. A not very complimentary description but historically young women did leave England in droves to far flung places where the Empire was present, gambling on opportunities they might never have had at home.
One such young woman is Wilhelmina Adams who has accompanied her sister Emma.
Seth Mayhew is on the same ship. He's an explorer, or as he terms it, a finder. Amongst his finds has been orchids from South America. But now he is searching for his missing sister, last heard from near the Tibetan border where a massacre occurred.
Seth is not here to find a wife or fall in love with Mina whom he refers to as,
'His little officer quelling insubordination and giving orders. And always on his side.'
Indeed it was Mina's attempts to calm the Venture girls as they made landfall that he first noticed.
Mina notices Seth but she has contracted to marry Thomas Grant, just as her sister Emma has come out to marry Colin Rivers. Colin however seems to have gone up country and not returned.
So between disappearing sisters, reluctant bridegrooms-to-be and disappearing fiancés, the forbidden attraction that Mina and Seth feel for each other flares into life. But it is not to be.
A fascinating story with interesting characters and situations and the elusive presence of orchids that were a coveted object by the very wealthy at this time.
A NetGalley ARC