Saturday, April 17, 2010

Pirates by Linda Lael Miller

Book Description:
A thoroughly modern woman encounters a dangerous, dashing eighteenth-century buccaneer is a sensuous, joyous, utterly heartwarming tale of love....

Phoebe Turlow needs to get out of Seattle and forget about the man she just divorced, her dwindling finances, and the lonely nights that stretch ahead of her. But she can't foresee what awaits her on Paradise lsland....

Duncan Rourke is known to historians as "the pirate patriot." He's been dead for two centuries -- or at least he's supposed to be, until Phoebe Turlow steps out of a van, into a run-down island hotel, and into his world.

Neither Phoebe nor her pirate can envision the glorious venture that is about to unfold. They understand only that they have found each other, and a grand passion across the chasm of time...and they fear only the moment when it may vanish. Passionate, emotional, and completely entrancing, Pirates will steal your heart.

I had high hopes for this time travel book that I've had on my TBR list for ages. It sounded good to me, but as I began to read it, I kept scratching my head and thinking to myself why does this storyline sound so familiar? Was it the hero's scarred back from a flogging by a sadistic English officer? Or maybe it was because a 20th century woman goes back 200 years in time only to find love and romance and then returns to her present time, pregnant with her 18th century husband's child - but then rejoins him again two hundred years earlier? Sound familiar to any of you Outlander fans? Sheesh!

As much as there were some Outlandish similarities, this book was not at all like Jamie and Claire's story. Phoebe is an unemployed divorcée who is down on her luck. She takes a trip to the Caribbean, all expenses paid, as long as she sits through the interminable time share pitch that the hotel makes as a prerequisite. While conveniently dressed for the fancy Saturday night masquerade party as a serving wench from the eighteenth century, she pushes the wrong button on the elevator and finds herself back in the Caribbean, only it's now 1781 and the Revolutionary War is going full tilt in America and she comes face to face with Duncan Roarke, the owner of the hidden Caribbean mansion where she finds herself. The mansion is his pirate lair, only he doesn't seem much like a pirate at all. He's more of a patriot for the American cause, although the rest of his family are all Loyalists.

Duncan is surprised at who Phoebe is, but believes her time traveling story, thanks to the help of his servant Old Woman, who is a wise native islander that teaches Phoebe the ways of the eighteenth century. She seems to have some sort of psychic power and has been waiting for Phoebe to arrive. She informs Phoebe that she will marry Roarke and bear him children. Well, that took care of any surprise for the rest of the book. Ho hum - bo-ring! Phoebe takes it all in (eventually) and falls madly in love with Duncan, even though he's gone off sailing for weeks and has left her behind on the island. While he's gone, she thinks of him constantly. Who wouldn't? He's handsome, dashing, plays the piano and looks like a pirate! Then, at one point, Phoebe leaves Paradise Island and goes off on her own because Old Woman told her to. She meets the same sadistic British officer that flogged Duncan and a whole other subplot enters into the story. She works as a serving wench in a tavern and bides her time until Duncan comes and finds her.

What got me was, what did Duncan see in Phoebe and why did he want to even find her? I found her annoying and often stupid, particularly when she keeps on wanting to befriend Duncan's former island mistress! Plus I can't stand romances in which the heroine falls in love immediately and the hero and heroine have sex before page 50. Now, I was reading this on kindle, so I don't know what page it was, but it seemed too damned early, and I did not understand the attraction Duncan had for Phoebe. In fact, so much about this whole plot line was trite and clichéd, I could barely get through it!

One interesting short lived part of the book was when Duncan went forward in time with Phoebe for a while, but then he inadvertently leaps back in time again without being able to let Phoebe know or say good bye to her. She figures it out soon enough, but what I didn't understand is why she just moped around pining for him. Why didn't she go to the elevator again and again every night and try to leap back to him again? It took her ages to figure it out! I did like their reunion, which was full of battle scenes and excitement. Although there was some sailing in ships that took place in the boat, the title Pirates is sadly misleading. This book is not in the least bit about pirates, don't get your hopes up. It's about an American patriot posing as a pirate to attack British ships for the Americans.

Meanwhile, the side stories involve the dilemma of Duncan's family being Loyalist, yet wanting to protect Duncan and his Revolutionary leanings. His mother and brother and sister all wind up having to flee Charleston (where he is from) and go live with him at his Caribbean hideaway. They all accept Phoebe with alacrity, not even questioning her background as strange or her odd short hairdo! I normally love time travel stories, but I do like to have a little reality thrown in them too, even if that sounds paradoxical. For Duncan's family and friends to all be so accepting of Phoebe (who I couldn't stand) just irked me and was unrealistic! Okay, okay, so I'm a time travel snob.

If I had the chance to do it all over again, I'd pass up this book, but it was part of my Time Travel Reading Challenge list, so I stuck with it. I wish I had been warned, I'm surprised it's gotten such good reviews elsewhere. Lovers of this book must be die hard Linda Lael Miller fans or have never read Outlander. What can I say, I've been spoiled by Diana Gabaldon. This is the only book I've read of Ms. Miller and I suspect it will be the last.



Kylie said...

I find it's often the problem when you have read a book in one genre is then comparing or seeing everything else in that genre from the view of the first. (Hope that makes sense!)Thanks for the review. As a huge fan of the Outlander books (or Cross Stitch as they are in Australia), I think I will give this one a miss!

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Kyle, yes I agree, like I said, I'm spoiled by DG! But, even if I hadn't read Outlander first, I still would have thought this book was a waste of my time. I've read much better TT books that are much better than this one. Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series is well done, as an example, her heroes fit in present day wonderfully! *sigh* Have you read them?

Lover of Romance said...

I love your blog!! It seems to have a historical theme, which I happen to love!! I am a new follower to your blog and am looking forward to reading more from you!

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