by Sabrina Jeffries, historical (1998)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-79747-X
Sabrina Jeffries' debut novel for Avon, The Pirate Lord is an enjoyable, if typical, pirate romance.
Sara Willis, our heroine, is a self-appointed reformer and champion of women's rights whose latest zeal sees her boarding a ship carrying female convicts to Australia. She's going to travel under the guise of a schoolteacher. I have my doubts as to whether her being the stepsister of a powerful Earl will protect her in the long journey to Australia, but what the heck, I've suspended my disbelief for worse scenarios, so this one is no biggie. She is not amused when the pirate Gideon Horn thinks that it will be a great idea to capture this ship to get his men wives. After all, desperate convict women will be grateful to marry his pirate crew, right? Not if Sara has any say in the matter: she rallies the women and insists that Gideon will not ill-treat the women and let those women have their say in their selection of husbands. Gideon doesn't want to marry, but soon Sara is getting under his skin despite his toughest resistance to her. The gender war in Gideon's little tropical pirate hideout has only just begun.
The best thing about this book is that it demonstrates ably what the author is good at: creating red hot sexual tension like nobody's business. Sara and Gideon are very familiar characters, especially Gideon with his background and all, but the author nonetheless manages to give her characters little twists to make them her own. I especially like how Gideon realizes that his initial idea of taking the women on to marry them off to his men isn't as good as he first thought as Sara makes him realize that the women, no matter what the circumstances are, deserve a say in decisions regarding their lives. Yet, despite the characters being on the stereotypical side, they generate red hot sexual chemistry to accompany their duel to make this book a sexy read.
The secondary characters from the earnest young lad Sara's brother charged to take care of her without her knowing to the convicts to the pirate crew are straight out of central casting, but that is nothing compared to the very predictable plot though. Ms Jeffries takes The Pirate Lord along the same path that countless pirate romances has taken before, straight down to the predictable separation and the misassumptions that arise from this separation.
Sara and Gideon's stubbornness can get tedious at times, especially Gideon's, yet great sexual tension, likable characters, and pleasant if unoriginal secondary characters and plot all make The Pirate Lord an entertaining if very predictable read. As the story is entertaining enough to make me chuckle and enjoy the relationship between Sara and Gideon and their friends and hangers-on, I am more than happy to go along with the ride instead of getting distracted too much by the stereotypes.
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