Top critical review
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There are better options out there
on February 26, 2012
I started reading this book, got 40% of the way there, and stopped for a couple of weeks. I picked it back up and finished it. I will summarize and hit the highlights so you don't have to suffer through.
Premise, a young girl (initially she is 13 when she first sees him), develops a crush on the dashing privateer (pirate) when he is 30-ish. At 17, she meets him and shares a kiss. He doesn't remember.
This story is set during the American Revolution with our allies, the French helping us gain our independence. We have a town (New London) attacked and in the span of a few hours, Devon's mother is raped, Devon is almost raped, the shop is burned with her mother in it. Devon escapes her attacker before she is raped, sees Benedict Arnold talking to someone about plans and is found by a sailor who works for the privateer Devon has a crush on. The sailor sneaks her aboard the ship to save her from rape at the hands of British soldiers.
While onboard within the first few days, Devon is almost raped by one of the other sailors and even Caleb the one who found her and brought her onto the ship. Additionally, Andre hates the fact that he is attracted to her and she has lots of attitude.
Andre allows her to stay onboard as she wants to go to VA to find her fiancé who joined the Army. She's not attracted to her fiance, in fact he grosses her out, but she plans to marry him anyway because they grew up together and are good friends. Andre hates the fact that she has this fiance when it's obvious there is something between him and Devon.
They finally find her fiancé and he turns out to be the scumbag of the earth. Andre wants to help them out by planning and paying for a wedding for them. Devon decides to skip out on the wedding as the more time she spends with Morgan (the fiance) the more repulsed she is. Andre runs into her before she can leave so she ends up going through with the wedding.
Andre kisses her at the wedding and no one seems to notice or care. Devon retires early and later in the evening someone shows up (she assumes it's Morgan) and makes love to her. She realizes it's Andre instead and he shares that the wedding was a hoax and he paid Morgan to go through with it.
Well, the rest of the story is about the affair Andre and Devon have and Andre's ultimate marriage to Devon after he deserts her on his private island. Devon does solve the mystery of his father's mistress while on the island.
Let me say, neither the hero nor heroine are particularly likeable. You would think that after the near rape by a British soldier and on board, she would learn her lesson. No, she does not! She did demonstrate some bravery, but that's because of her love of the sea more than anything else. She's weak and whinny as she spends her time talking about a fiancé she does not love and does not find attractive.
The hero allegedly has a moral code when it comes to women, but he leaves a swath of mistresses in every port. His treatment of the heroine is deplorable at best. She's a sex object to him once the finally start having an affair and despite the fact that he took her virginity, he still views her as someone who invites the attentions the men give her. When she slapped him and he slapped her back, I had had enough. In the end, he does right by her (after she gives birth to his daughter) and marries her, but there is still a scene when he treats her like crap.
The highlight of the book to me is when we learn her mother did not perish in the fire and married one of the wealthy upstanding men in New London. For a book described as "swashbuckling and action packed" there truly was a loss of both action and swashbuckling. The original copyright for this book is 1979; perhaps that is why the treatment of women was so bad. In closing, skip this book; there are better ones out there. The only positive I can give I didn't see any typos and that it brings to remembrance the aid the US got from the French.