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Smuggler's Moon: The Raveneaus in Cornwall, Book 5 Paperback – March 22, 2014
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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But, there's one thing I can say for Ms. Wright: Once she recognized that some of the parts of her stories were considered "socially outdated" to many readers, she has often gone out of her way to re-write some parts of "some" of the books so that they are more acceptable to her audience. I have respect for her for efforts in going above and beyond to keep her stories relevant. Once in awhile she has commented below reviews in a very nice way that a book has been updated. She doesn't complain about the reviews that are posted, but simply lets readers know she's doing what she can to make her stories more acceptable to those of us among her audience who love many parts of her stories "except for.... whatever." So, if you have complaints about some of her male characters' behavioral issues, there could be an updated book out there wherein that sexy man has improved in how he treats his ladies. Check it out. Enough about that and on to my review.
I read "Smuggler's Moon" and although I thought the first few pages came across a bit like a farce, eventually I began to see the story for what it was and became very invested in the characters - the sexy beyond measure Lord Sebastian Trevarre and the feisty, Julia Faircloth.
Both Sebastian and Julia have been unfortunate enough to have their financial situations affected by family members' gambling problems. Sebastian by his brother and Julia by her father. When Sebastian wins Julia's family home after her father gambles it away, he decides he doesn't want to give up the home - after all, he's hurting financially also. Instead, he needs a wife so he will marry the beautiful sister, Sarah, and the family can continue to live in the home, while he removes himself and Sarah to one of his rundown family properties in an effort to reclaim his prize horses his wastrel brother sold and eventually set up a horse stud.
But... Sarah's a chicken-hearted female and is afraid to marry "Lord Satan." Julia, however, has been accustomed to looking out and accommodating the weaknesses of her family members to the point she's grown a little bit (a lot) manipulative and controlling. "Don't worry," she says to Sarah, "We'll turn down the lighting, I'll wear a huge bonnet and I'll stand in for you during the marriage ceremony and I. Will. Marry. Him."
Laugh Out Loud. Sebastian has already had some run-ins with Julia and wants nothing to do with her - certainly not marriage. Well, he is attracted to her physically, but he wants a calm, obedient, wife. When he realizes who he has married, the fat is in the fire. But, of course we know it will all work out and we'll have a lot of fun along the way as we see where the story takes them.
As soon as the wedding is over, Sebastian takes Julia to Cornwell where he has big plans to make money as a smuggler - just enough smuggling runs to be able to get some funds to buy back those darn horses. Question is? What will the interfering Julia do when she realizes he's putting his life on the line. Fun stuff.
We're able to catch up with Andre Raveneau and Devon - the two individuals who were the primary characters in the first book in the Beauvisage & Raveneau Books. We get to see the continuing unfolding of matters in their lives, including a truth that comes to light in this book. I loved the manner in which Ms. Wright brought out this truth. Strong men are not afraid to cry - no indeed. Please see the following book list if you want to read this series in order per Ms. Wright's recommendation:
Silver Storm (Rakes & Rebels Book 1)
Caroline (Rakes & Rebels Book 2)
Touch the Sun (Rakes & Rebels Book 3)
Spring Fires (Rakes & Rebels Book 4)
Smuggler's Moon (Rakes & Rebels Book 5)
Surrender the Stars (Rakes & Rebels Book 6)
Her Dangerous Viscount (Rakes & Rebels Book 7)
His Reckless Bargain (Rakes & Rebels Book 8) (formerly titled "Silver Sea")
Tempest (Rakes & Rebels Book 9)
Julia's father has inherited an estate near Bath with funds to take care of his family for life. But Julia finds an IOU in her father's coat pocket and sets out to confront the holder of the vowels and plead for mercy, hoping he will cancel the debt as others she previously talked to have done. When she encounters Sebastian, however, he refuses her request, and that night he wins the estate as well. Julia's father is so distraught that he ends up dead, either by accident or suicide.
Empathy with Julia's family leads Sebastian to present a solution to their problems. He proposes marriage to Julia's younger, more pliable sister. To save Sarah from 'Lord Satan', Julia devises a plan to impersonate Sarah at the wedding. Afterward, Julia and Sebastian travel to London, encountering Andre and Devon Raveneau, who have acquired Sebastian's family townhouse from his brother to fund his exile. That loss leaves Sebastian and his bride with only his mother's family estate in Cornwall, which he despises, which has been in disrepair for decades and with no funds to restore it.
This is an excellent addition to the Raveneau/Beauvisage series of novels. Though it can easily stand alone, it takes place in 1798 and fits chronologically between Spring Fires and Surrender the Stars. I am now looking forward to book two in this series and to the St. Briac's series. I definitely recommend and will reread this book. And if you like it you will probably also like author Kasey Michael's entertaining Romney Marsh series about a former privateer and his brood of adopted orphans.