Friday, April 24, 2009
A Splendid Opportunity
A shipload of women -- theirs for the taking! Pirate captain Gideon Horn couldn't be more delighted. His men are tired of wandering the high seas and want to settle down with wives on the uncharted island paradise they've discovered. And the women are bound to be grateful to be rescued from the life of drudgery awaiting them in New South Wales ... Lord, he's so clever!
A Splendid Passion
Married? To pirates? Sara Willis couldn't be more appalled. First she demands proper courting -- at least a month. The darkly handsome pirate lord gives them two weeks. Then Sara insists the men vacate their huts for the women -- Gideon demands her kisses in return. As the demands heat up, so do their passions -- and soon Sara can't remember just why she's fighting the devilishly seductive captain so hard...
Ordinarily I don't read pirate romances, but this one was chosen as the April Group Read at LibraryThing so I thought I'd join in. It was cute and not half bad! I was reading it only when I went to the gym, so it took me most of the month to get through, but ordinarily if I were reading this the usual way, I probably would have finished it in a day.
This is the story of Sara Willis who is the stepsister of an English earl during Regency times. Sara is a reformer, she's always looking to improve the conditions of the working or lower classes. She's a do-gooder and doesn't mind getting her hands dirty or mixing with the riff raff to do it. Not your typical society debutante who is only interested in balls and finding a husband. She is scrappy and speaks her mind - she's also a rabble rouser when it serves her purpose.
She talks her stepbrother into allowing her to sail on a female convict ship to Australia. I thought this was terribly far-fetched that her brother would agree and let her, but I went along with it. She is there to see to it that the conditions on board the ship are decent for the women and she is there to teach them how to read and sew as well - basically to look out for their interests and make sure they're not used by the sailors. She wants to be sure they are treated justly. Unbeknownst to Sara, her brother has hired Petey, the sailor brother of his butler, to work on the ship and keep an eye out for his sister and protect her.
En route to Australia the ship is captured by the notorious pirate, Gideon Horn, known as the Pirate Lord. Of course, he's tall, swarthy, handsome as sin and he and Sara clash immediately. He wants all the women on the ship to become the brides of his crewmen. The pirates want to settle down and retire on a remote tropical island they call Atlantis. They think of it as a Utopia that they can colonize. Naturally, Sara is outraged by this idea but comes to realize that the women have no choice. But, Sarah at least makes a bargain with the attractive pirate captain and talks him into agreeing that the women can choose who they want to be their husbands after a week.
Over time, not only do Gideon and Sara argue, but he becomes strangely attracted to this wilful and feisty redhead. He desires her and plans on seducing her. She can't help but fall for his charms as well and they have some sizzling encounters which are satisfyingly sensual, but not over the top, well done. She fights her desire at first, but then comes to realize she doesn't want to anymore and they begin to fall for one another. Fortunately, but unfortunately, Petey is there to protect her and he leaves the island intent on going back to England to get her brother to rescue all of them from the island. Sara gave Petey her blessing to do this when he left, but that was before she and Gideon became inseparable and affianced - she wants to be his wife now and live on Atlantis with him forever as man and wife.
Well, you can guess what happens, her brother returns and forces her to leave the island with him or he'll burn it all down. So, she must leave Gideon without saying good-bye and he gets the wrong impression and thinks she is just some fickle society girl and never really cared for him. Bitter over highborn women, Gideon is carrying around his own baggage. His mother was the daughter of a duke and she ran off with a tutor and had him and then left him behind with his drunkard father to raise him while she went back to her ducal life. He's never forgiven her for it, and because of it, distrusts and hates the nobility. He thinks the worst of Sara at first. He jumps to all the wrong conclusions, which I felt was also far fetched. He's a smart and worldly man, he should have trusted his instincts better in her regard, despite his insecurities - but then there would be no angst! Of course we know she really does love him and it all ends well, she is indomitable and stubborn, but knows how to get things done and ultimately she is able to restore his faith in women. It's a bit predictable and I guessed the ending, but still it was a fun little book to read while working out at the gym.
If you like pirates and romances, this isn't bad. The side characters are interesting, I really liked Silas and Louisa's story and Queenie, the prostitute redeems herself by the end. (It was no surprise who she winds up marrying, we already get a clue on that one earlier on.) Like I said before, it was a cute, sweet story. My first romance by this author, but probably not the last. I have a feeling the next book in this series is about Sara's brother, since there was very much of a lead in to a sequel with him. I'll probably read it.