by Michelle Beattie, historical (2008)
Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-22493-9
What A Pirate Desires is a pretty typical example of a pirate romance.
We have a heroine bent on revenge who has remade herself into a pirate boss, leading a crew more suited to be in a Peter Pan musical than on the seven seas. Samantha Fine lost her family in an attack on the ship they happened to be on during an attack led by the pirate boss Dervish. So over the years she controls a crew to roam the seas to exact revenge on that villain. When the story opens, she frees Luke Bradley, another pirate fellow, because she believes that, with him having a grudge against Dervish as well, he can help her locate Dervish. Luke, of course, is too manly to be led by a woman, so he is soon undermining her authority and acting like a smarmy version of an alpha male.
Samantha does display some authority with her crew and occasionally the author is generous enough to let Samantha win a battle of wills with Luke, but on the whole, Samantha is one of those bewilderingly goody-goody heroines whose out-of-her-depth behavior in the face of danger and deception makes it very hard for me to believe that she can in any way become what she is in this story. When it comes to human behavior and even love, she seems bewilderingly untouched by the life she must have led in the years leading up to the story. In other words, I find Samantha a most unconvincing pirate princess.
As for Luke, he oozes smarm from every pore of his greasy bohunk body. Of course, I suppose we can't expect a 17th century pirate lout to be a gentleman, but as a result of his antics here, I end up with this feeling that he doesn't respect Samantha or see her as anything but a sexy sea shag. Why does he love her? She's hot, I suppose. But the heroine ends up giving more than he does in this story, so I can't help feeling that she's more into him than he is into her.
What A Pirate Desires is in many ways a sanitized pirate romance that requires some pretty big suspension of disbelief. There is nothing here that I haven't read before, and come to think of it, there isn't much here that impresses me either. The $7.99 price tag isn't helping either. This is definitely not a story by Marsha Canham or Gaelen Foley, in case you're wondering.
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