by Michelle Beattie, historical (2009)
Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-23085-5
Romancing The Pirate is one of the very few historical romances out there at the moment that feature seafaring adventures and love on the high seas, so it is a pity that it is such an average romance.
The plot is all about unlikely coincidences. Alicia Davidson learns shortly after her father's passing that she isn't her parents' biological daughter - her parents found her and her biological mother washed up on the Port Royal beach one fine day. When Alicia's mother passed away shortly after, they took in and raised Alicia as their own daughter. The letter left by Alicia's late foster father gives her the name of a possible surviving sister - Samantha - and the name of a man whom Alicia can approach for help in locating this sister - Blake Merritt.
Okay, pay attention because this can get quite bizarre in a "Ripley's Believe It Or Not!" manner. Samantha is the heroine of the author's previous book What A Pirate Desires and she is also someone that Blake knows. Blake is closely linked to Alicia's foster family, let's just say. Therefore, in a most fortunate stroke of luck, Alicia is told to approach the guy who knows Samantha and Samantha is only six weeks away. How fortunate can Sam be, eh? Alas, someone who has overheard Alicia's quest decides that it will be a coup for him to sneak along with Sam and Blake in order find a way to bring Samantha, wanted for piracy, to justice.
This story is more akin to a tale of modern day teenagers playing dress-up games as pirates and wenches. This isn't just because the conversations here sound very modern for a tale set in 1657 - the characters also exhibit decidedly contemporary attitudes and norms. As a result, Sam behaves not only like the 18-year old girl she is, she also comes off like a present day bratty 18-year old who has somehow been transported back to the 17th century. She's the quintessential brat heroine - she rarely thinks before she acts, and whenever anyone tries to counsel her, she's all, "You're not the boss of me!" Blake isn't any better - he is very stubborn, he keeps secrets unnecessarily, and he just has to dump the heroine after sleeping with her because, you know, she deserves better. [spoiler starts] Factor in that they get back together after she's pregnant with his brat, and I get a pretty typical example of an immature pair of brats who get married too young because she is pregnant with their kid. This can't end well, if you ask me. [spoiler ends]
The depiction of Blake's crew, lifestyle, and occupational hazards - he's a privateer - is sanitized. Blake has a stereotypical assistant who of course dotes on the heroine and chides the hero for not being a gentleman around her while the other crew predictably make cracks about wanting to bed the heroine before they are cowed into good behavior by our hero.
Between all this and the immature bratty modern-day behaviors of the main characters, I have a pretty unimpressive story in Romancing The Pirate.
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