Maria and the Admiral Continued Reviews & Press

‘Cochrane is handsome and bluff, passionate about machines and married – to the effervescent, beautiful, absent Kitty. She is the focus of Maria’s entertainingly hypocritical jealousy … deriding the coquettishness of other women, Maria is not averse to the attentions of the young sailors who surround her in the paradisical region of Valparaiso. Billington’s descriptions of the landscape are lush and evocative, and her portrait of Maria is delightfully honest.’ Daily Mail

‘It’s as much a record of 19th-century Chile as a drama, and Rachel Billington gives a real sense of the beauty and atmosphere of Valparaiso and its surroundings…. Her consciousness of the limitations of romantic love and her old-fashioned acceptance of emotional and physical pain make Rachel Billington’s Maria touching and dashing in equal measure.’ The Spectator

‘There is an admirable economy to Billington’s writing. It moves us through death, earthquake and childbirth with something of the brisk matter-of-fact qualities of Defoe…. This economy cuts well against the hyperbole of the Spanish rhetoric of the politicians Maria meets. Hers is an assured , self- deprecating voice of the intelligent Englishwoman abroad, trying to make sense of the complexities of love and politics in a continent that is changing seismically.’ The Independent

‘A fascinating account of Maria’s arrival in Valparaiso, Chile, in 1822. she is newly widowed following the death at sea of her first husband , Captain Thomas Graham; in Valparaiso she meets the charismatic Admiral Cochrane, the disgraced British Navy officer who commanded various small South American navies through their wars of independence. They begin a passionate, secret affair.’ Daily Telegraph

‘Maria Graham was an author who broke through the conventions of her time…it was as a widow in Valparaiso, she saw the flamboyant Admiral Lord Cochrane sail into the harbour, fresh from leading the Chilean fleet to victory over the Spanish. Rachel Billington imagines that intense relationship in this engrossing novel.’ Choice Magazine

‘In a voice so witty and intimate, so utterly human, she makes what is already a gripping story even more so because of the powerful presence of Maria whispering in our ears. This is not only a wonderful story but a terrific way of discovering more about previously unknown corners of history.’ Good Book Guide