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The Captain's Temptress Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
"The Captain’s Temptress" by Averil Reisman was a book I wanted to love. Set in the Guilded Age of the late 1890’s, with a newspaperwoman as our heroine and the backdrop of the Cuban War for Independence, I was hopeful to see a different mode of historical fiction than the usual Regency stuff. And actually, upon the first reading, I liked the book, though I didn’t love it. It was moderately fast-paced and I read quickly. But giving it a second chance killed it for me. Why, you might ask? Too many things became glaringly apparent.
First of all, the hero: jilted by not one, but two women; feels guilty for his father’s dockyard accident that left the man paralyzed; owns a shipping company that is about to go under; ran away to sea and feels guilty about it. The man is every trope known to romance other than the secret duke in disguise. Except that, surprise, his family was one of the Boston elite before the scandal of being left at the alter moved him to Florida. He’s portrayed as the Han Solo “I’m not in it for your revolution, sweetheart, and I ain’t in it for you. I’m in it for the money” until he catches a glimpse of a concentration camp and then in 5 minutes his whole attitude changes. He blew too hot and cold, ALL THE TIME, which was exhausting.
Secondly, there is WAY too much going on in the plot. Tell me if these plot points sound familiar:
• Heroine is daughter of a single father and is unloved since she’s not a boy
• Heroine is the “unconventional woman” who is not going to bow down to the hero. Until she does the moment he kisses her
• Ship is almost captured by pirates (except in this book it’s the Coast Guard since the ship is a blockade runner)
• H/H are captured and thrown in prison, daring escape is made, gunfire blazing all around
• The feisty woman is tamed by the order-giving man
Another thing that bothered me was the writing. Ms. Reisman has NO subtlety with these characters. Every action they have is explained away by an inner monologue, every single time. The reader is spoon-fed so much that I question whether Ms. Reisman has faith in our reading comprehension. There’s also little growth with the characters throughout the book. Almost every other chapter has them “burning with desire” that is followed by a fishing for information conversation meant to expose deep secrets and feelings that somehow ends in a fight. I started to get annoyed that they couldn’t get past the high school drama and kept taking offense at what each other said or did.
Other than the background of the Cuban War and the fact they’re traveling on a ship, I would have though this story was taking place in the modern world. The H/H hardly ever act or speak like people of the late Victorian era. I get that they were breaking social custom because they’re both so “unconventional”, but how many times do we need to have uncomfortable nakedness in this story? I’m all for some steamy naked scenes, but you seriously mean to tell me that a woman in the 1890’s, who is in the bathtub when a man barges in despite her warning him away, would have stood up and challenged him to do his worst? Ms. Reisman used every possible situation she could find to get our H/H naked around each other: bathtime on the ship, hypothermia, swimming in a private grotto. It was overkill.
And finally, the heroine as an outlet for Ms. Reisman’s moralizing. She immediately feels for the Cuban people after her first conversation and becomes an outlet for White Guilt. She goes on a diatribe about how raped women are victims and it’s not their fault. She decides to give up reporting to champion the refugees that make it to the US, thus showing Ms. Reisman’s views on immigration. She suddenly knows how to be motherly to orphans. BY NO MEANS am I trying to downplay the seriousness of these points. But the heroine’s arguments about all these topics were SO modern to the point that I think I heard some of her exact phrases reported on CNN. And no matter how “unconventional” a woman was in the 1890’s, she would not be so 2015 in her approach.
I wanted to like this book. As a history teacher, I’m terribly interested in how post-Reconstruction Era events have shaped the US today and I thought I would get a unique perspective here. But even putting aside the historical inaccuracies of character behavior, this book was a dud, a dichotomy between a repository for historical info setting up context for the Spanish-American War and a cliché summer fling. Save your money for another novel.
I have just finished reading TO CUBA WITH LOVE by Averil Reisman. It was a real page turner, as soon as I started to read it, I could not put it down. It's the fun adventure of two independent characters Sean and Samantha. I could feel the research that the author had done for that period of time. Beautiful chemistry between the two. This historical romance is filled with love and intrigue. Wonderful sea adventure, with sexy characters, that you will love. I strongly recommend.
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