The Journey of Misella Cross

Unjustly convicted of prostitution in eighteenth-century London, Misella Cross is sentenced to a seven-year term in the Colonies as an indentured servant. Barred under penalty of death from returning to England, she knows she will never see her homeland again or her devoted barrister Ben Turner or her cherished Irish friend Jack Finn. Imprisoned aboard the convict ship Seaflower, she struggles to survive the perilous crossing to America at the mercy of the ship’s stern Captain Barclay and his brutal, lascivious First Mate, Amos Bristol. Fearing for her life on the ship, she realizes that even if she survives the journey, she faces the dangers of indentured servitude, abandoned and alone, in a vast New World.

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“The Journey of Misella Cross grabs the reader from the first page and never lets go. Catherine Witek breathes life into the history of pre-Revolutionary War through the eyes of indentured servant Misella Cross and those trying to help her. Full of adventure, romance and drama, it’s a perfect read for fans of historical fiction.”

Debbie Carlson
Award Winning Journalist


The Journey of Misella Cross


The prisoners huddled together in two groups on the deck of the Seaflower, the men, in irons, separated from the unfettered women. When the ship lurched away from the Blackfriars dock, some of the men slipped, taking their chained partners with them as they tumbled to the wet boards. The clanging of the ship’s bell signaled the launch, muffling the curses of the fallen men, their shackled wrists bleeding anew.

The first mate, Amos Bristol, lunged toward them. “Get up,” he screamed, “and stand quiet or you’ll feel the rope’s end before we reach the ocean.” The cold April wind whipped the pages of the open ledger he held. “When I call your names, follow Flinty down to the hold.” A scowling troll of a man in dirty muslin britches and unbuttoned shirt released the bell rope, grabbed his sawn-off musket, and limped to a square opening in the deck floor.

Some of the women wept quietly into their bunched up shawls, knowing they would never see England again and fearing what they would find in the New World. Misella Cross shed no tears, though she shivered in her torn garments. Her attention was drawn to the young girl cowering next to her, pale as death, her eyes red from weeping. She appeared to be no older than twelve and even in her brown serge convict dress, she looked angelic: her face flawless as sculptured marble, her gold-tinged hair a mass of ringlets, her delicate lips compressed in an effort to control her sobs. She looks like me, Misella thought, with a painful stab of recognition, six long years ago when I, too, was forsaken.

Misella slipped her arm around the girl’s thin shoulders. “You have a friend,” she whispered. “Stay next to me.” The girl did not respond, her hands hanging limp, her eyes downcast.