Reviewed by Mandi
Blurb: 1775, Boston Harbor. James Sparhawk, Master and Commander in the British Navy, knows trouble when he sees it. The ship he’s boarded is carrying ammunition and gold into a country on the knife’s edge of war. Sparhawk’s duty is clear: confiscate the cargo, impound the vessel and seize the crew. But when one of the ship’s boys turns out to be a lovely girl, with a loaded pistol and dead-shot aim, Sparhawk finds himself held hostage aboard a Rebel privateer.
Sarah Ward never set out to break the law. Before Boston became a powder keg, she was poised to escape the stigma of being a notorious pirate’s daughter by wedding Micah Wild, one of Salem’s most successful merchants. Then a Patriot mob destroyed her fortune and Wild played her false by marrying her best friend and smuggling a chest of Rebel gold aboard her family’s ship.
Now branded a pirate herself, Sarah will do what she must to secure her family’s safety and her own future. Even if that means taking part in the cat and mouse game unfolding in Boston Harbor, the desperate naval fight between British and Rebel forces for the materiel of war—and pitting herself against James Sparhawk, the one man she cannot resist.
First of all I love this cover. It’s dramatic and striking. Thumbs up! Now onto the actual story…
I included the blurb because it sets up the story well and there is a lot to this story to start. The quick and easy version is that , pirate daughter Sarah gets caught with a chest full of French gold, and that gold is a wanted commodity. British Naval Officer James Sparhawk has orders to confiscate everything on this boat, imprison the crew and he is ready to take Sarah’s young brother and force him into service, along with the gold and everything else on her ship. But she has a trick up her sleeve – or rather a gun. So after some nice grandstanding, James ends up a prisoner on her ship, and the gold gets shipped off to Boston. Sarah’s family is in financial trouble and needed to sell the flint that was on her ship to pay back a man named Micah Wild. Once set to marry him, when her family loses their fortune in tea, he dumps her for her best friend. He has a hold over Sarah – her heart is still confused over him yet he isn’t a very nice man. After James gets injured Sarah decides to help him, and they both get caught up in the rebellion, who actually has the gold, and a blossoming romance between the two.
I had a lot of ups and downs while reading this book – almost like I was on a ship, riding the waves high and then sinking down for a bit. First I love this time period and setting. The violence and mistrust is so intense with the rebellion right on the horizon and Sarah and Jack gets sucked right into it. This author does a really nice job setting the scene and giving us lots of details – both on the ship and later in Boston, Salem and other places Sarah and Jack end up. There is action in this book, and when it was happening I was captivated. But I also found my attention wandering as the story went along. There is a lot to this book. I don’t want to start rehashing the plot or giving away spoilers. But there are a lot of characters that we meet and Jack and Sarah venture to many places. It’s a big, sprawling adventure that sometimes felt too sprawling but sometimes was really fun.
Sarah is a very headstrong, smart heroine. She cares deeply for her family and sacrifices much for them. Her poor heart though. She gets jilted by Micah Wild for her best friend which devastates her. Then she meets James and there is chemistry. James is a pretty good guy who comes to care for Sarah quite quickly. I think one thing that was missing from their romance though is some good sexual tension. The romance felt a little stilted in this one. There are sex scenes, but they felt a little out of place – and I think it’s because we don’t get a lot of flirting or tension before they happen. And their dialogue during these scenes was kind of blunt. It pulled me out of the story a bit. While the revolution is never forgotten in this book, a lot of the focus is on Sarah’s family and how her future will unfold.
There is another man who gets thrown into Sarah’s life too – further confusing her. There is a very interesting twist with this man that made my eyes pop open at one point.
If the American Revolution is a subject that interests you, I’d say give this one a try.