Monday, May 18, 2009

Pirate Romance

*****NO BOOKS WERE SERIOUSLY HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THIS BLOG*****

The long awaited post on Pirate Romances or Romances that contain Pirates. I know it has been a month but I have read other material in-between that I will also be posting about in the near future.

When I was a kid and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I wanted to be a Pirate. That is when the love affair started. You see there are several reasons why pirates are cool and would make an awesome career. Don’t go pointing out reality to me; just let me live in my fantasy world while I go off on a tangent.

My essay on why Pirates are cool and would make the ultimate career in point form.

  1. I am a Pisces. I like water. Wait that is an understatement; I LOVE water. With that said, the typical place for a Pirate to be is out at see on a ship surrounded by water. In my world Pirates hand out in the Caribbean. The Caribbean is nice and warm. One could go swimming whenever one wanted too off of their own boat.
  2. Pirates get to climb the rigging. When I was a kid climbing trees was strictly forbidden. One could fall off and seriously hurt themselves. Like breaking a bone and wearing a cast (which is kind of cool as a kid but what held me back from the badge of coolness was the no getting the arm wet. I like water. Cast = no swimming. Badge of cool not so cool any longer). Continuing on… So if I can’t climb trees but Pirates HAD to climb the rigging as it was part of their jobs. Then climbing rigging was awesome. It was legit to do what I wanted. To be as high as possible and feel the wind in my hair and see everywhere.
  3. Pirates get to yell land ho. Yes I am sure that if you ware working on a ship that is not a pirate vessel you too may be able to yell land ho. But land ho on a pirate ship is cooler. It means getting to spend the loot, or maybe finding the loot. It is just way more awesomer.
  4. Pirates don’t answer to no one but their ship. Seriously. No country telling them what to do. They are free spirited. As a kid it’s like saying “I don’t have to listen to you mom and dad, I am a pirate and l listen to no one.” Nuff said.
  5. I may have mentioned the loot. What is seriously cool about it is that there are maps with these giant X’s on it that mark the spot. If you are even luckier their may be a giant X on the ground too. They tell you were the freaking treasure is.
  6. And if there is no map you belong to no one, so you don’t have allegiance and aren’t morally obliged to not rob another ship. Heck the damned flag totally gives you a right. And if there is another ship with a pirate flag, consider it a proceed with caution. Either way their be loot. And then you can make your own map with a giant X.
  7. The concept of maps it freaking awesome. I don’t know how to properly explain how awesome treasure maps are. Its like a giant puzzle. I love puzzles. It’s a puzzle and a guarantee for adventure. Adventure rocks.
  8. Adventure. Life will never be boring as a pirate. What to do today… I don’t know. We could go treasure hunting… Rob a ship… get us some fine booty. I prefer not to think of it are raping, pillaging and plundering… Cause seriously, in my mind Pirates are sexy and daring, and not some unwashed miscreant. So as long as my pirates live up to my sex appeal expectations, it not be rape. Also since pirates morale’s be a bit sketchy and they have no allegiances (except to ship) then pillaging and plundering just goes with the job title and is seen as a as long as you don’t get caught and sent to the gallows and you have your own secret private paradise island, you too may live like a king. Yah… that covers a lot of reasons as to why pirates rock. We will call it the justification behind adventure. Adventure doesn’t live by the rules.
  9. Did I mention the secret island and the living like kings. The island will be beautiful and tropical and a paradise and on mine their would be a waterfall.
  10. You get to say “Yar harg”. Talking like a pirate is awesomeness reincarnate.
  11. I may have covered it in my point about adventure, but feels it needs it’s own place. BOOTY!!!!!
  12. Ships. Tall ships. They are beautiful majestic magical creatures. They are freedom. They have a spirit all their own. I want one. Maybe two….

And that is why in my world a career as a pirate would be freaking awesome. I may be missing a few points of the coolness. Someone may feel the need to point out the illogic in my logic and try and give me a taste of reality. DON’T. Really. Resist the urge. I live in reality every day and see how it sucks. In my mind I have a happy place. Don’t bust that, or I will take up the killing and mayhem part of the Pirate notion that I did not mention in the cool part, but may take part in the boarding of a ship (Ya, I didn’t go into details about that as I kind of do not prefer the whole bloodshed, but you know… Swords are cool).

So thus the reasons as to why I want to be a pirate. Which when I first statred reading romance, pirate romance was the first book I read. It only makes sense to me, and why I would continue to hunt it down like they loot that it is.

We will be covering several books on Pirate romance and then a general yay or nay to the pirate romance genre itself.

Now I should add a forewarning. The romance genre is not a highly stimulating earth shattering literary read. It is entertaining and often times mindless reading. It has improbable situations, and even more improbable dialogue to boot. But one does not read romance for a literary experience. One reads it for escapism. For pleasure and for its unrealistic nature. If you can accept that about a romance, and really roll with it and sink into it… it has a flavor all it’s own that a woman can’t live without. A Guilty pleasure one might say.

Book: A Pirates Love

Author: Johanna Lindsey

Genre: Romance

Pass of Fail: Pass

Stars: *** ½ (3 ½)

This was my first Pirate Romance I ever read. First romance I ever read, aside from teen romances that don’t have sex in it so they don’t count. It has everything a girl can hope for in that genre.

There is a pirate. He is tall and sexy and mysterious. His past is what motivates him to hunt down and evil vile Pirate that killed his family. He has his back-story that makes him the wronged character and morally justifies his pirating.

There is a girl who is going to get married. Is indeed being shipped off to see her husband to be, when pirates overrun her vessel. She is kidnapped and tricked into surrendering her virtue. (And for 8 St. G points she could get it back. St. G points not a part of the story). She hates her body for responding to his passion, but inevitable fall in love.

There is a tropical island, there is revenge, there is long lost love re-found and rekindled. All in all it is a wonderful pirate romance. It was a good starting ground for me and a book that I often revisit.

Book: Till Dawn Tames the Night

Author: Megan Mckinney

Genre: Romance

Pass or Fail: Pass

Stars: **** ½ (4 ½)

It is many down the list in sequential order of romance novels I have read, but it is the second Pirate Romance novel I ever read.

This if my favorite. I had not yet read a pirate romance novel to top this one. It may also be my ultimate favorite romance novel (it having pirates makes it awesome… and she is a really good writer for a romance novelist). The only other novels that may come out all together on top of my favorite romance novels are the other romance novels she has written.

Wow. Say that above paragraph five times fast.

What hooked me about this book as that you don’t start out with the POV of the heroine. You start out in a dark bar at the waterfront and are introduced to a very dangerous man.

There is a dowdy orphaned girl, Aurora Daine, raised in a kind of orphanage who now helps to run said orphanage. Previous kind owner dies. Son takes over. Son wants her but is extremely pious and an ass, and thus not appealing to her. If she wishes to stay on at the orphanage she must accept his pursuit.

She is then delivered this mysterious letter asking for a lady’s companion down in the Caribbean. Given the current situation she accepts as a little adventure is far more appealing than the man who currently wants her.

Then there is the ship. There are other passengers on ship, but there is one in particular that stands out. She is a widower who is full of zest for life and is quite amusing. The widower takes to Aurora immediately. The catch. The ship is owned by the dark mysterious man at the waterfront.

That is the set up. There is a Caribbean island remote. A treasure. Enemies and passion. There is a past explained and a future to be won and almost lost.

I have read this books several times over and even insisted that my mom read it. You may have a hard time finding it as I believe it is out of print. I read it first from my library, and then hunted it down in a used bookstore. It is well worth the effort if you are searching for the perfect pirate romance.

Book: The Charm School

Author: Susan Wiggs

Genre: Romance

Pass or Fail: Pass

Stars: **** (4)

Our heroine Isadore Peaboty is brilliant yet socially awkward. Against her runs the confines of Boston society, a constant heyfever and the un-idealistic physical qualities desired by the elite. She is lost and run down in the society she must perform in.

However, when Ryan Calhourn requires an interpreter she is quick to join up with the crew. A chance to get away seams like the perfect solution. But Ryan doesn’t want her onboard. With a quick wit and a little blackmail she gets her wish.

Upon the ship away from land, she seizes to suffer from her constant heyfever. And without the snooty Boston society judging her every move, she is able to find herself and gain confidence amidst the ragtag crew she befriends.

Consequently Ryan and Isadora find themselves magnetically drawn together. However, he has committed himself to an ulterior agenda, a noble agenda. One that she cannot be a part of. Besides, she has given her heart to Chad, the land lubber from Boston who had played upon her desire, with no real intentions upon returning it.

This is an ugly duckling turns into beautiful swan book. This is the first book in the Calhourn series. Afterwards I found myself reading them all as I didn’t want the adventure to end.

I picked this book up on the way home from a road trip to Canada’s Wonderland in a small corner store in an even smaller town. It had a ship on the front of it, so I assumed it would relate to Pirates. Before this book I had hit a wall with my reading. I couldn’t focus on anything. I was restless and couldn’t be engaged. This was my cure. A light read to help focus my desire to fall prey to a good book.

Book: What a Pirate Desires

Author: Michelle Beattie

Genre: Romance

Pass of Fail: Borderline Pass

Stars: ** (2)

This is interesting. This is a pirate book about a female pirate. I picked up this one and another one with the same premise (female pirate) at a corner store in a small town not to far away from here. Justification... can’t turn up pirate romance.

This book is filled with clichés and from the reviews within the book on the book I get the distinct impressions that this is the authors first book. Which for me would explain the fallbacks on clichés.

It is the story of a woman pirate out seeking revenge for the murder of her family. She rescues a man from prison who can help her to locate the pirate who murdered her family. She falls in love with the man she pulled out of prison, even as she tries to resist the pull and allure.

You have to read it to see what I mean about clichés. She eye patched pirate with the mustachio. And then there is her façade of bravery but she cracks under the slightest pressure. The character reasoning is there but the development is shoddy.

This one pass on the borderline though because for all the author did wrong I still found it amusing. And the concept of a female pirate was interesting, if only carried by the weight of her crew. There is better material out their to read so please don’t drop everything to pick this up.

Book: Too Great a Temptation

Author: Alexandra Benedict

Genre: Romance

Pass or Fail: Borderline Pass

Stars: ** (2)

This book passed on its sexual drive. The pirate aspect was a little meek, and the story could have taken place almost anywhere besides on a ship. I also got the distinct impression that Alexandra’s knowledge of ships was not thoroughly researched.

There is a man seeking justice for the death of his brother. A reformed rogue of the Ton. Pirates the cause of his brother’s death.

He chases the ship for several years than hears that the pirate ship now haunts the shores of America. He lands himself in New York and upon seeing a young man (boy of 17) in the street getting into a fight he steps in because the young man resembles his dead brother. They both get tossed into jail. The young man has sever injuries and almost dies but his brothers come to his rescue with a prison break.

The boy insists on taking the man who helped save him from the fight and although the brothers are hesitant agree as they need a new navigator. There is a sister who stowed away on the boat who will be dropped back off in England as soon as they can get back and so taking the man back to England is not inconvenient. She wants in on the family business of sailing and plundering.

The ship turns out to be the Pirate ship he has been hunting for, but first he has to go and lust after the sister, bed her, fall in love, and then find out about the ship being the renowned pirate ship he was looking for.

There is a merry chase through England. There is a castle. There is no tropical island. Revenge is not granted as misunderstandings are explained. People once thought dead come back from the grave (not zombies though), and there is a happily ever after.

Things that irked me. Her POV was not consistent. Switching perspectives often in the middle of a paragraph. “Tars” – she used this word so much it seamed like her only research in the way of pirating and sailing. Use the word sailor. “Whipped her insides into a frenzy” – it was a mantra, a theme of the book. Could have been used a motto for the love story. ENOUGH!!! However, what irked me the most were the motives of the love. I got the motives for revenge that was well crafted. But the love story was week.

The redeeming grace was the lust. And the sex. Cause that is what carried it to give it a pass for me. Alexandra is not hesitant about writing sex. And not timid about it either. It is borderline erotica. But there is a very motivating story line to follow to push it slightly away from that vein of fiction.

If this books comes to you then read it. If it doesn’t magically appear on your doorstep don’t go hunting it down.

Book: Captive of my Desires

Author: Johanna Lindsey

Genre: Romance

Pass or Fail: Pass

Stars: *** ½ (3 ½)

I picked up this book at my local library when I decided that I was in need of some pirate romance, and hence the next installment of this blog was designed. I completely forgot about A Pirates Love by this same author. Only later did it click when I was looking for more books by this author. Kind of funny and ironic to me anyways.

Gabrielle Brooks mother passes away. Her father somewhere down in the Caribbean. Being too young for her inheritance but not too young for a sea voyage with her maid she goes in search for her father rather than accept the guardian assigned to her in England.

Her ship gets attacked by Pirates and she is brought to a remote lair on an island were an alliance of pirates meet and use as a home base. She is to be ransomed to her father and is therefore treated with a certain amount of respect and care (she is not being damaged).

A dangerous pirate takes notice of her. Not the good dangerous, the bad dangerous. The serial stalker kind of dangerous. He would like to buy her ransom from the pirate that had captured her, but as the pirate who had captured her is still reuniting with his wife on the island, he must bid his time.

When the pirate who has captured her finally reemerges after days of reuniting (yah lopsided grin their as we all know what I am talking about) there is another pirate captain who has just sailed into the island. Upon seeing the girl he offers her immediate ransom and the pirate who has captured her accepts. The serial stalker pirate is out of duty as he got piss drunk the night before and hadn’t emerged in the morning to strike a bargain. Timing darlings.

Turns out the man who bought her is her father. Thus the foundation of piracy begins. He is in fact more a treasure hunter and remains a part of the alliance as a middle man who will often times purchase captives for the ransoms as it is burdensome to the rest of the pirates and can cause some captives their lives in impatience. Her father is to be viewed as a kind hearted compassionate man who inspires loyalty in his crew. And a treasure hunter not technically a pirate.

When she comes of age. Approximately 3 years later, she is shipped off to England on a husband hunt. Sent to approach an old acquaintance of her fathers to introduce her to society.

The Malory’s. When they first appear in the book, the Malory’s is said like I should understand that it is part of a series and be excited to finally be at this point in the book. That irked me. But she did t a lovely job of providing some back story for the characters, that has inspired me to buy the rest of the Malory collection to experience it.

Drew Anderson, Georgina Malory’s brother, is drawn into the story as he is in town visiting his sister and coerced to attend some of the functions. He lusts after Gabrielle, and in his desire for her and his inability to attain her gets foxed and spills to the Ton that her father is a pirate thus systematically ruining her husband hunt in the London market.

We then find out her father is kidnapped by the serial killer pirate who wants her in return for her father’s life. She decides to abscond with Drew’s ship and him and his crew as revenge to his ruining of her reputation and as a means to rescue her father.

Love follows lust. Family is rescued. Treasure is found.

I would say that if you are going to pick up this book you should pick up the entire series as the back-story seam to be most fascinating. Johanna is good at what she does, and can weave an interesting story. I prefer more Caribbean to my pirate adventure, but nonetheless this was a solid book.

Book: A Distant Magic

Author: Mary Jo Putney

Genre: Romance

Pass or Fail: Pass

Stars: **** ¾ (4 ¾)

This book came up in the search results at my library for Pirate romance. What it turned out to be was something else entirely. It is a wonderful read but do not read it expecting high seas adventure.

It is a book about the conquering of slavery and time travel used to achieve this. The man who is to be brought through time was captured by Barbary pirates and sold in to slave trade. He steels his freedom and sails the high seas searching out Barbary pirates and rescuing the slaves.

The woman is from a guardian family. She posses’ magical abilities. She is kidnapped for revenge but logics her way out of it as well as saving the ship and her crew in a huge storm at sea. She makes a pact with the captain, the man who has kidnapped her to seek revenge for a misunderstood situation that landed him in slavery. As she makes this pact with the captain a black woman lands at their feet, has traveled through time. And thus the story begins.

They both have magical abilities. They are both passionate about ending the slave trade. And they are meant for each other. Like linking pieces in a puzzle.

This is more of a fantasy book about slavery with a love story tossed in. The pirate aspect only further enhances the slavery end of it. It is a lovely book, well told. If you are looking for pirate romance this is not your book. But if you are looking for a book on slavery in the fiction genre of fighting against it, then this is a marvelous read.

Book: The Pirate Bride

Author: Shannon Drake (aka Heather Graham)

Genre: Romance

Pass or Fail: Pass

Stars: **** (4)

Red Robert sails the seas looking for revenge. Red Robert is really Roberta, a female who’s future had been stolen from her when Blair Colm murdered her family, with his decree from the English throne to subdue Irish uprisings. He was the one who sought trouble, and held no mercy, killing women, children, elderly, and the infirm. Saved from slaughter, but sold as an indentured servant to Lady Fotherington. Lady Fotherington finds ways of turning her indentured servants into slaves by crushing their spirits and accusing them of petty crimes to continually work off.

Roberta, once realized of the beauty she possesses, is sold to a diseased and dying duke in England. However, on her trip to be delivered, the ship she sails upon is beset by pirates. The tides of battle quickly change in a daring move were she kills the ruthless pirate, and takes on the guise of Red Robert.

Logan, too had his future stolen from him under similar circumstances by Blair Colm, but had been dealt a nicer set of cards in regards to whom he was sold to as an indentured servant. On his quest for vengeance and developing a future of his own, he takes a daring trip by carrying valuable cargo through the pirate isles. Over laden and under armed, they are beset by the notorious Red Robert. Logan wins a duel with Red Robert and thus insures his crew’s freedom…at the cost of his own imprisonment.

Thus is set the stage for a desert island and love to be found and vengeance delivered.

It is a well written story with love as the saving grace at its centre. Revenge is not all for one to live for. The idea of a woman pirate is pulled off in a believable manner. I would definitely re-read his love story again.

Pirate Romance as a Genre = Pass

Because I like the idea of freedom and the high seas and romance. The idea is not likely in reality hence its allure. Reading is about escapism, at least for the type of people who will be picking up Pirate Romances. There are enough women out their like me who can appreciate it to ensure authors keep writing about it.

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