Zebra, $5.99, ISBN 0-8217-6678-3
Historical Romance, 2000
This is a pirate romance, with the usual accessories deemed indispensable. There’s a feisty heroine, a misunderstood pirate, and a pirate crew who could teach Emily Post her manners. I appreciate some moments of action and the fact that our pirate hero isn’t one of those spoiled, dispossessed aristocratic son hell-bent on making the heroine’s daddy miserable, but still, Renegade Heart isn’t exactly a keeper for me.
Our heroine Willa Delaney Peachwood (nice last name) is frantic because her son has been kidnapped by an evil villain. In her solo attempt to save the day, she takes to the seas in an attempt to discover poor Mason’s whereabouts. Then, oh, her ship is attacked by pirates!
But our soft-hearted heroine can’t bear the sight of our virile pirate Raiden “Black Angel” Montgomery getting skewered by British blades, so she takes up an urn and smashes it over a soldier’s head. “Flee, my virile pirate! Come back soon so that you may clasp me in your virile embrace and show me what it feels like to be a woman!” she declares passionately as the pirate crew sail off into the sunset, defeated but defiantly vowing to return for vengeance.
Okay, I made the last sentence up. There’s no passionate bye-bye’s. Instead, Raiden is intrigued by his savior and spies on her. He realizes that she is in distress, and decides to help her if she will let him clasp her in his manly embrace.
But Willa, ah, she is faithful to her husband (whom, conveniently, she never loves – guess what happens to the inconvenient baggage of a husband later in the story). So what is she to do?
Well, whatever it is that she does, it revolves her getting into trouble again and again and our Raiden rescuing her. Villains come in nilly-willy, cause trouble only to be kicked hard in the butts by our Well-Mannered Pirate Crew (maybe they served in the Waterloo campaign). A typical pirate romance, really, with very little to offer except for actions and more actions. I have a hard time accepting Raiden’s behavior – he spends his time either moping because he’s a ruthless pirate (hate me, not, my lovely female readers, for I am a sensitive misunderstood pirate!) or he’s acting like some cornball pirate hero. Willa wrings her hands, pouts, and trades fiery “No! No! No!” before succumbing to our hero’s pirate plundering – feisty, courageous, and utterly foolhardy in a cardboard heroine way.
I wouldn’t say that this is a bad read, but there’s nothing very memorable in Renegade Heart, I’m afraid.