The Wake of the Lorelei Lee by L.A. Meyer – Advance Review

Book Jacket:

Jacky Faber, rich from her exploits diving for Spanish gold, has purchased the Lorelei Lee to carry passengers across the Atlantic. Believing she has been absolved of past sins against the Crown, Jacky docks in London to take on her crew, but is instead arrested and sentenced to life in the newly formed penal colony in Australia.

To add insult to injury, the Lorelei Lee is confiscated to carry Jacky and more than 200 female convicts to populate New South Wales. Not one to give in to self pity, Jacky rallies her sisters to “better” their position—resulting in wild escapades, brushes with danger, and much hilarity. Will Jacky find herself a founding mother of New South Wales, Australia? Not if she has anything to do about it!


As a long-time fan of the Bloody Jack series, I think The Wake of the Lorelei Lee does hold true to much of what I love about the series, but sadly it also feels a bit tired and scattered. I really hope this series isn’t running out of steam.

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee is the eighth book in the series, and in many ways exactly what you’d expect of a Jacky Faber novel – swashbuckeling adventure, danger on the high seas, and Jacky her usual unsinkable self. She really is a fantastic character, flawed and human, but fun, daring and loyal. I just had a sense that I’d seen a lot of this book before. The British government betrays Jacky, again. She’s a prisoner on a ship at sea, again. She does something silly and falls afoul of local customs, again. The bad guy wants to force himself on her, again. She kisses at least one boy who isn’t Jaimy (and a girl too, this time), again. Meyer does take Jacky to one of the few parts of the globe she has yet to traverse – Australia, by way of India, with some Chinese pirates along the way – but the change in scenery just isn’t enough to make this story feel new.

I continue to love the historical flavor of this series. Meyer weaves a marvelous amount of songs and sea shanties throughout the story and once again he draws on real-life events – female convicts were famously shipped off to Australia as breeders in 1798. Some of the women on Jacky’s ship are based on real people: Mary Wade was a 10 year old girl sentenced to hang for stealing, and Esther Abrahams was a convict who did marry a ship’s officer and later became the First Lady of Australia. Jacky also encounters real-life pirate Cheng Shih.

There is a lot to enjoy about this book, but the story never quite came together for me. The plot rambled, and towards the end I felt like things had been tacked on just to set up the next book. When the ending did finally arrive, I realized nothing had really changed, the wheel just spun in place. So while I do love this series, I hope Meyer either takes the series some place new or knows when to make a graceful exit. More than anything, I want Jacky to have the ending she deserves.

Byrt Grade: B+

As Levar Burton used to say – you don’t have to take my word for it…

Rambles says:

The story is, like all Jacky Faber novels, a lot of fun…The Wake of the Lorelei Lee takes Jacky farther afield than she’s ever gone before, but she’s still the same irrepressible Jacky whose company I’ve so enjoyed since I first stumbled across her, playing a pennywhistle in the rigging of the HMS Dolphin, in a snug art shop in Bar Harbor, Maine. Still only 16, she has plenty of room to grow — and I hope this series, despite a change in publisher and a horrid new cover design for earlier volumes, continues to flourish.

The Fourth Musketeer says:

As a huge fan of this series, I enjoyed reading Jacky’s newest adventures, although I must say this was definitely not my favorite volume in the series…Still, fans of the series will definitely want to pick this one up.