Reviewed by Tori
Jacqueline and Judith Malory are more than cousins; they are best friends. Having grown up together, they are dismayed to find their parents are separating them for their first debut into society. James Malory made a promise to his wife’s family many years ago that his daughter, Jacqueline (Jack), would have her coming out in America. This doesn’t bode well for the bosom cousins. Jack and Judith beg and plead until Judith’s parents give in and allow her to travel to America with Jack. Neither girls have any plans to fall in love their first season; especially Judith as her dreams are filled with a certain “ghost” who haunts the house next door.
Nathan Tremayne isn’t a ghost but a smuggler with a mission and time is running out. Set up and captured, his freedom depends on his helping to capture a group of dangerous men. Nathan finagles a job aboard the Malory’s ship (The Maiden George) when he discovers his quarry is in America. He is surprised to find Judith aboard and even more shocked when he discovers she not only knows who he is, but begins to blackmail him into spending time with her. Passion builds and love begins as Judith and Nathan play a dangerous game, but when accusations are made and Judith turns her back on him, Nathan decides to cut his losses and finish out his mission.
When the past comes back to haunt the Malorys, Nathan grabs the reins and turns the tables on Judith. This time she will do his bidding. But love follows no rules and soon Nathan is fighting for more than his freedom…he is fighting for Judith’s heart.
First off, let me say I’m SHOCKED we at Smexy Books have never reviewed a Johanna Lindsey book. So, we are effectively popping our Lindsey cherry with this one. ”Holla!!”
Johanna Lindsey’s favorite family, the Malory’s and Anderson’s, are back in a new adventure involving love on the high seas. Stormy Persuasion is the eleventh book in the Malory-Anderson series and focuses on brothers James and Anthony Malory’s two oldest girls-Jacqueline (Jack) and Judith. Both eighteen, they are getting ready for their coming out but as you all know, nothing ever goes as planned with the Malorys. This lightweight mild multi plotted storyline is filled with humor, intrigue, adventure, and romance. The high energy of the Malory/Anderson clan keeps the story moving along at a steady pace. Though the eleventh in the series, it is quite easy to follow along with as Ms. Lindsey interjects past storylines, tying them effortlessly into the present, allowing readers to get the general idea of who everyone is in regards to relationships.
I’ve always enjoyed this series though it has been hit or miss for me. Some of the stories I have devoured, unable to read them quick enough while some barely managed to hold my attention. Stormy Persuasion falls in the middle. The beginning starts out promising with Judith and Jack scheming to get Judith’s mother to agree to allow her to sail to America with Jack. We learn about the supposed deserted mansion and Judith’s secret crush on the ghost that haunts it. While on board ship, Judith sees her ghost and realizes he is very much a flesh and blood man. Suspecting smuggling and/or thievery, she demands an explanation as to why he is on board her family’s ship or she will go to her father and tell him her suspicions. Nathan refuses and Judith in return blackmails him into attending her in order to extract information from him. As they spend more time together, Judith’s convictions begin to waver and her attraction to him strengthens.
Visiting with the Malorys again was a treat. Lindsey has built such a gregarious LARGE family. Lively, rambunctious, and intelligent, this family embraces it’s aristocracy but tempers it with a mischievous side that shines through at the most inappropriate times. The men are the perfect alpha males who drag their feet reluctantly towards romance but once they find the one, they love with their whole hearts. The women they love are witty, clever, and usually extremely stubborn when it comes to what they want. They are a class act that delivers with aplomb.
While Judith is definitely a Malory, she didn’t engage me as much some of the other characters did. I found her a quick to judge and assume the worse and it wasn’t attractive. Lindsey portrays her rather too well as an young over privileged member of gentry. She is childish at times, especially when she interacts with Nathan. There were also few scenes where her reactions after the fact didn’t mesh up to how I felt a young women of this era would or should react.
Nathan is a more realistic and well rounded character. He has a complicated rather inspiring backstory and his reasons for his current occupations make sense. I found it hilarious the way he makes her come to him and he treats her with amusement and caution. He feels Judith is just amusing herself with him while he has some very good incentives to not fail on his mission. He dislikes the ‘nabobs’ as he calls the aristocratic set and with good reason. The chemistry between he and Judith is there but I’d be hard pressed to say why they were attracted to one another. The romance blossoms slowly, very low-key, neither of them giving the words both need to hear. I wasn’t sure until the very end if they would even work together.
The main conflict blends well with the various subplots sprinkled throughout; keeping the book from centering only on Judith and Nathan. Newly discovered relatives regenerates a past storyline and provides clues for book twelve. The dynamic Malorys provide more then enough giggles; James and Anthony’s never ceasing bickering and boxing and Jack’s introduction to her possible HEA, whom she affectionately refers to as ‘The Bastard.’
All in all a fast read that easily chased away a rainy afternoon, but the story dragged at times on the ship with the constant back and forth between Judith and Nathan. I found the beginning and ending held the excitement and drama I wished for the entire book. Regardless of my few qualms, I am looking forward to book twelve, title and release date to be announced.
Night Owl Reviews