by Lynsay Sands, historical (2001)
Leisure, $5.50, ISBN 0-8439-4816-7
I love Lynsay Sands' first three books, ie The Deed, The Key, and The Switch, which combined slapstick humor with fun romance very well. The author bungles up her last few books that follow, unfortunately, going overboard with silly, inane humor that ridicules the characters in her stories. Lady Pirate is slightly better than the last two dire novels from Ms Sands, but it is a far cry from quality farce. This story's a farce, make no mistake, but it's one where I groan from how bad it is rather than how funny it is.
Watch out, London! Valoree Ainsley is a lady pirate captain in charge of a pirate crew so inept it makes a shipload of Daffy and Donald Duck clones look like a first class ship crew. Now, she hangs up her cutlass because she has inherited her brother's holdings, but to actually possess the goodies, she must have a husband plus a bun heavily baking in her oven. Hence, she hires an old former streetwalker as her chaperon "Aunt", and together with her protective pirate second in-commands, she storms London in search of a husband.
Daniel, Lord Thurborne, is a rake. He too needs to marry to get his hands on his inheritance. As a bonus, he is trying to apprehend Valoree's late brother, whom Valoree is masquerading as in her piracy career. When both marry, ho ho!
Much of humor comes from Valoree falling, tripping, and having her make-up flying across boring ballrooms and falling into proper old biddies' wine and stuff. But if the author is trying to create a culture shock thing, she is doing it the wrong way. Valoree is a twit. She doesn't display any independent thought at all in this story. She doesn't want to marry, but she is going along because her "family" wants her to, and she doesn't want to disappoint her family. And from thereon, she lets everyone from the "Aunt Meg" she hired to her crew to Daniel to everyone and his granny to make her choices for her. She does the token stomp-her-feet thing to display some measure of backbone, but really!
A woman like this actually commanding a pirate ship? Get real. She'll probably commandeer the ship to the bottom of the sea.
Maybe I'm supposed to see this as a cute Walt Disney romance. Uhm, okay, but the last time I check, Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck have their men twisted around their fingers.
Lady Pirate is a farce, but it does go over-the-top in depicting stupidity. Which would be okay if it isn't at the expense of the heroine's character or that its feet are so far from the ground that it isn't even fantasy, it's positively out there.
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