Some more reflections on Amazon reviews

I followed a link from c_smith_author today and ended up on the page for False Colors, where I don’t go very often any more.  It was nice to see I’d had three new reviews since I visited last.  Amusingly enough one review essentially said “didn’t like the romance much but enjoyed the naval historical details”, and one review said “enjoyed the romance but there was too much blah, blah, blah about ships.”  Which boils down to “you can’t win them all,” in my book 🙂

The first one really made me squee, because I’ve been waiting on tenterhooks for a reaction from someone who was reading it from an Age of Sail perspective.  Was my ship-handling at all convincing?  Could it be read by the same sort of people who read Patrick O’Brian and not let the side down?  So hearing this was music to my ears:

“Alex Beecroft did her homework and treats the reader to compellingly written passages of ship and sail evolutions, gunnery, medicine and boat handling. There are plenty of well handled actions — single ship, cutting out, shore bombardments and fighting ashore. In particular, Beecroft showed a fine mastery of how to fight a bomb ketch. I was very impressed with her narration of ship handling and repair during a harrowing, and near-disastrous, encounter with an iceberg in the arctic.”


I also got a very peculiar review which claimed that I had a shaky grasp on gay male psychology (because of course all gay men have the same psychology.)  This reviewer felt sure that I had had the pirates throw a bucket of piss over John when they were torturing him because I’d heard about water-sports and wanted to… I don’t know… make the torture scene more sexy, or something.

I’m a little sad that people can’t tell the difference between when I’m trying to write sexy and when I’m trying to write horrific.  But if he’d asked me, I could have told him that I added the bucket of piss to the scene because I was concerned that it would seem unlikely that John would survive his injuries.  I wanted to give him something that would increase his chances of pulling through.  In an era when medical knowledge had no conception of the need for sterilizing anything, dousing him in urine was the only way I could think of of getting something antiseptic on his wounds.

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