Thursday, July 28, 2016

Best American Patriotic Historical Romances!

Looking for a way to celebrate America’s Independence? With a noble hero and a worthy heroine and set in times when America’s future was on the line? Well, here’s the list you’ll want to pick from—all good ones!

Some are a part of a trilogy or a series…and I do recommend you read all of them, as they are all good, too, even though not all may be listed here. All on the list are rated 4 or 5 stars.
 
In addition to those on my Best List, I hope you will also consider To Tame the Wind, my Georgian romance set in the last year of the Revolutionary War from the viewpoint of privateers and spies in England and France. And, for a story that looks back at the War of 1812, you might enjoy Wind Raven.

Here's the list:

The French and Indian War (America before Independence):

Follow the Heart by Anita Mills
Ride out the Storm by Aleen Malcolm
Windsong by Judith E. French

The War of Independence/Revolutionary War:

Caroline, Touch the Sun and Spring Fires, from the Beauvisage series by Cynthia Wright
Devon and the sequel The Black Angel by Cordia Byers
Fortune’s Bride by Judith E. French
Love a Rebel, Love a Rogue by Shirl Henke
Love Among the Rabble by Lauren Laviolette
Love Not a Rebel by Heather Graham
Master of My Dreams and Captain of My Heart by Danelle Harmon
Mood Indigo by Parris Afton Bond
Passion’s Ransom by Betina Krahn
Scarlet Ribbons by Judith E. French
Silver Storm, from the Raveneau series by Cynthia Wright
The Paradise Bargain by Betina Krahn (Whiskey Rebellion), first released as Love’s Brazen Fire
The Wayward One by Danelle Harmon
Under Crimson Sails by Lynna Lawton (post Revolutionary War)
Velvet Chains by Constance O’Banyon

The War of 1812:

Fortune’s Flames by Janelle Taylor
Lady Vixen by Shirlee Busbee
Lord of the Sea by Danelle Harmon
Masque of Jade by Emma Merritt
Midnight Masquerade by Shirlee Busbee
My Love, My Enemy by Jan Cox Speas
Tainted Lilies by Becky Lee Weyrich
The Captain’s Captive by Christine Dorsey
The Plains of Chalmette by Jack Caldwell
The Windflower by Laura London (aka Sharon and Tom Curtis)
To Save a Lady by Patricia Preston

The Underground Railroad:

Passion’s Joy by Jennifer Horsman

The Civil War:

A Time for Everything by Mysti Parker (post Civil War)
An Outlaw in Wonderland by Lori Austin
Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen Woodiwiss
Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin (post Civil War)
Bittersweet by Anita Mills (mostly post Civil War)
Bonds of Love by Lisa Gregory
Clingstone by Marti Ziegler
Dark Stranger and Rides a Hero (first two books in the Slater Brothers trilogy) by Heather Graham
Lavender Blue by Parris Afton Bonds
Master of Paradise by Virginia Henley
Midnight Confessions by Candice Proctor
No Greater Glory by Cindy Nord
One Wore Blue, And One Wore Gray, And One Rode West, Cameron Civil War trilogy by Heather Graham
Rebel, Surrender, Glory and Triumph (from the Old Florida's McKenzies series) by Heather Graham
Sing My Name by Ellen O’Connell
Straight for the Heart by Marsha Canham
Surrender in Moonlight by Jennifer Blake
The Black Swan and Moss Rose, duology by Day Taylor
The Outlaw Hearts by Rebecca Brandewyne
Tomorrow the Glory by Shannon Drake
Vagabond Wind by Amanda Hughes
When the Splendor Falls by Laurie McBain

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Review: Virginia Henley's MASTER OF PARADISE - A Great Civil War Romance!

This romance features life in the American south in the 19th century on the eve of the Civil War, though the beginning and the end take place in England (in Kent). Henley did justice to a difficult theme and portrays the mixed feelings of some Southerners and the real, economic conflict over the issue of slavery. The story is entertaining and the love between the hero and heroine very believable.

Nicholas Peacock always thought he’d inherit Peacock Hall in Kent from his British lord father. But just as he is ready to take over their lands, he learns he is a bastard, and will not be the son to inherit. When his father dies suddenly, Nicholas faces a vindictive stepmother, so he sails to South Carolina, determined to become the owner of a successful plantation.

He buys land and plants cotton and works very hard, right alongside his slaves. Eventually he builds a magnificent house known as Paradise Plantation. Though he does not like the concept of owning another person, he accepts slavery as a part of the Southern way of life. He falls in love with Mandy Jackson, the young daughter of his neighbor, but her youth forces him to agree to a marriage in name only, a marriage he promises her father he won’t consummate until she is 18.

One of the things I loved about Nick as a hero was his unwavering love for Mandy. And, Mandy, even as an immature teenager, had great courage and common sense with an adventuresome spirit. Nick could spot a diamond in the rough and he chose Mandy the first time he saw her. Those guys are few, so I enjoyed him very much!

As with all Virginia Henley’s romances, I recommend them as worthy tales.

Buy on Amazon.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review: Betina Krahn’s PASSION’S RANSOM – Absorbing American Revolution Story of a Smart Heroine who Becomes a Pirate Captain’s Woman

First published in 1989, this is a “keeper” story that blends the period of the American Revolution and the pirate/privateer culture. Krahn weaves a compelling, absorbing tale with great emotion, a rich layering of endearing characters, meaningful introspection, a believable plot, detailed historical elements and subtle humor.

Set in 1768 (prologue) and then ten years later in 1778, this is the story of Gabriel Prescott, a baron’s younger son who was playing the smuggler, rebelling against both his father and England’s taxation, when the pirate Bastian Cane captures Gabriel and forces him into the scoundrel’s services.

Ten years later, the two are partnered and our hero has become the pirate captain Raider Prescott. Hoping to find a northern market for their goods, they sail to Philadelphia where Bastian captures Blythe Woolrich. He expects her to be the daughter of a wealthy merchant and is planning to hold her for ransom. Unhappily, he discovers she comes with no money.

Raider calls Blythe “Wool-witch” for her headstrong nature, but in reality she is a young, virtuous woman who has been carrying the heavy load of responsibility for her somewhat bizarre family. Soon Raider and his crew find her irresistible and the very responsible Blythe finds herself falling in love with the pirate captain.

Krahn has created a wonderful pirate crew…not terribly debauched like a certain band who appear in the story, but still genuinely salty dogs of the era with unique quirks.

One of my favorite lines from the book, spoken by Raider to Blythe when she regrets having to leave the island where they shared their love: “Everything worth having can be carried in your heart.”

This one won’t disappoint!

Buy on Amazon in paper.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review: Jack Caldwell’s THE PLAINS OF CHALMETTE – The Battle of New Orleans Brought to Life

Set in 1814 (and early 1815), this is the story of the Battle of New Orleans at the end of the War of 1812, told from both sides through one couple on the British side (Maj. James Fitzwilliam and his wife) and another on the American side (Maj. Matt Darcy and Anne-Marie Dansereau. On center stage are the military moves and the officers and men who fought in that battle, which extended over some time. The author gives us the benefit of his research with vivid details. There is a romance between Matt and Ann-Marie, but it is not the main theme.

The book presents a mixture of writing styles. At times, the author intercedes as “the narrator” giving us the historical background and telling us what happened. At other times, he reveals the thinking of the characters (mostly Matt and James) so we can experience the battle through their eyes.

On the American side, Maj. Matthew Darcy of Baltimore has been sent to help General Andrew Jackson defend the city. While he’s about it, he meets the daughter of a French (Acadian) plantation owner who hates the British and is none too fond of the Americans. Matt must win over Anne-Marie’s skeptical father if he is to make her his wife. Meanwhile, General Jackson must get the federal troops, the Kentucky backwoodsmen, the Creoles, the free blacks and Jean Lafitte’s Baratarian privateers to work together.

If you like rich detail in military campaigns and US history, you will enjoy this story. I must say that after a while, the passing parade of military officers’ names and the preparations for battle became a bit of a blur (I had no idea what most of the characters looked like), but I still enjoyed reading how the battle developed on both sides.

The romance, such it was, between Matt and Anne-Marie was not in the foreground for much of the book. (That neither the book description nor any other review I saw mentioned her name is telling.) This is mostly the story of a significant battle and those who played their part in it. And it held my interest.

Buy on Amazon.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Review: Sharon & Tom Curtis (aka Laura London) - THE WINDFLOWER – Superb Classic Pirate Romance—a Keeper!


The Windflower was the product of the husband-wife writing team of Sharon and Tom Curtis (in some editions writing as Laura London), and some believe it was their best. I can tell you this: this pirate romance set in in 1813 during the War of 1812 is one of the finest historical romances I have read. It’s a classic.  

Originally published in 1984, it was reissued in 1995, and can be obtained in paperback (used). Though you may have to pay a premium, as I did, to get a good copy, for fans of the genre, it is not one to pass up. It’s a keeper among keepers.

It tells the story of innocent, sheltered Merry Wilding, an American living in Virginia with her maiden aunt. Merry has a talent for drawing faces from memory, a talent her brother, an American spy will use to his benefit, exposing her to pirates and worse. Then, on her way to England with her aunt who wants Merry to have a better future, she is kidnapped.

Taken to a pirate ship, she meets the English pirate Devon, who remembers her from a night long ago where he encountered her in a tavern. He holds her captive, believing she is involved with his enemy who was also on the ship Merry was sailing on. Protecting her brother, she will not reveal who she is. Devon is intelligent, beguiling and smooth and innocent Merry is powerless to turn away his kisses. The whole crew of pirates comes to love Merry and to teach her many things as she blossoms from shy girl to strong woman.

The writing is superb, the characters courageous, heartwarming and very special; the descriptions of the environs vivid; the metaphors numerous and well done; and the story a wonder to read, and re-read. The plot is intriguing. You will be swept away on a pirate ship to experience many adventures, battles at sea, storms, death, outrageous humor and love. I thought the writing gifted.

Here’s a sample from one scene; I bet it moves you though not a word is spoken:

“His fingers whispered over her face, seeking and slowly stroking nerve points, knowing where, how long, how much to caress. Her skin gained color under his touch; her eyes became enormous; her throat tightened. By her nose his little finger encountered a forgotten tear. Gathering the sparkling drop, he smeared it slowly over the curve of her lips and blew it gently dry. One hand came lightly to rest on her neck; the other supported her cheek as he sought her with his kiss.”

Here’s another:

“Tragedy dwelt like a blue flame in her big eyes; the shallow pulsebeat in the golden hollow of her throat was luffing like a spanker on a vessel that was hauled too close to the wind. He had seen the look before on women about to be raped, and he found no charm in having it turned on him.”

If you love pirate romance—or even Regency period romance set mostly outside of England—this historical romance will not disappoint. Alas, you must buy it used but it is available. It's worth it... it's on my Top 20 list. Put it on your keeper shelf. That’s where it belongs!

Buy on US  Amazon. And if you're in the UK, you can get it as an ebook on Amazon UK.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Review: Aleen Malcolm’s RIDE OUT THE STORM – Intricately Woven Tale From the Scottish Highlands to America before Independence!

This is the continuation of the love story of Sir Alex Sinclair and Cameron, the wild Scottish lass he was forced to marry The Taming. While the author catches you up, and you can read this as a stand alone, I do recommend you begin with book 1. It was a very worthy post Culloden story of a proud Scot and his young Scottish bride.

Ride Out The Storm begins in 1762 as Alex and Cameron, now wed, are traveling back to his ancestral hall, Glen Aucht. Young Cameron is feeling unprepared to assume the role as his lady. Worse, when they arrive, the English redcoats have taken over and Alex has been recalled to service. The surly English colonel in charge has taken over the estate perpetuating all sorts of crimes on the people and the servants (a very worthy cast of secondary characters), who have resorted to stealth to protect their young mistress.

Cameron’s origins hide a secret. She has a twin brother she has not seen since she was eight. She believes he is on the Isle of Rona, but learns he has left Scotland for the New World. Alex and his errant bride are separated as she defies him and they are swept from the Highlands to the wilderness of the New World near Ft. Detroit on the St. Lawrence River. Alex will serve as a British scout, hoping to regain his lands in Scotland and Cameron is on the run searching for her brother.

The plot is intricate, the characters well developed and the story intriguing with some exciting, if not disturbing, action scenes. The pace is a bit slower that your typical romance, especially in the beginning, but it picks up to move along at a good clip. I loved Cameron’s free spirit and her courage and Alex’s persistence in claiming his bride, though during their separation, he was not faithful.

Malcolm captures the frustration and anger of the Scots and the Indians at the cruel treatment they receive from the English. The story has a very satisfying feel and is obviously based on much research into the history of the period.

I do recommend it!

Buy used in paper on Amazon

The Cameron trilogy:

The Taming
Ride Out the Storm
The Daughters of Cameron

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review: Marti Ziegler’s CLINGSTONE – Wonderful Love Story Set in Post Civil War America

The story begins as the Civil War is winding down. Mae Parrish works in a mill along with many other women in village of Roswell, Georgia—and one man, Creighton Branagan, who was not conscripted because he is deaf. Everyone assumes he is stupid, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Creighton, a handsome man, has been judged wrongly for his handicap but he is a smart man and protects his young nephew against all who would harm him.

When the Union troops show up, Mae and Creighton are arrested with hundreds of mill workers for treason and sent to northern prisons because they manufactured Confederate uniforms. The story tells of their journey by wagon and train and their imprisonment and after. During the course of many hardships, Mae and Creighton fall love.

I loved the story. The theme seemed to be a new life out of the ashes of the past and overcoming the hardships life throws at us. It’s very cleverly written and will draw you in. Ziegler shows us America as the war was ending, a country torn apart, a devastated South. People had to find new lives. In the midst of it, Mae and Creighton help each other. Only Mae can understand Creighton’s crude speech and protect him from those who would harm him. And he helps her move on. There is laughter, too.

Creighton is a complex, noble hero; Mae is a feisty heroine with an indomitable spirit… just what Creighton and his nephew need. Their adventures on the way to love will keep you turning pages.

Buy on Amazon.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Review: Mysti Parker’s A TIME FOR EVERYTHING – Excellent Post Civil War Love Story

Set in Tennessee beginning in December 1865, this is the story of Portia McAllister whose husband, a Confederate soldier, died in the war and then she lost her 2-year-old daughter to sickness. With nothing left, Portia accepts a position with widower Beauregard Stanford as housekeeper and tutor to his 11-year-old son, never realizing he fought for the North while her husband died for the South.

To be together, Portia and Beau have much to overcome and much to forgive. And others have their own ideas as to how they should spend their lives, so there are challenges to overcome.

This is a well-written, intimate look into small town relationships after the Civil War when emotions and prejudices ran high. It is also the story of how people deal with the loss of a spouse they deeply loved. Parker has created some wonderful characters to bring this period in America’s history to life.

While the story lacks a love scene, there’s enough sexual tension and sizzle between the hero and heroine that the chemistry between them is believable.
And there are some incredibly exciting scenes as villains and good guys battle.

A great post Civil War story. I recommend it!

Buy on Amazon.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

New Review: Day Taylor’s THE BLACK SWAN – Civil War Saga and a Classic

Set in the Civil War between the years 1850 and 1865, it’s a sweeping saga of the South and the love between two people who grew up on opposite sides of the slavery issue but with similar views: our noble hero, Adam Tremain, a blockade running captain, who moved the Underground Railroad to the sea, and Dulcie Moran, the only daughter of Savannah's most prosperous slave-breeder.

It is divided into three “books”: Adam (1852-59); Dulcie (1850-1862); and The Black Swan (1862-1865). 

While he was still a teenager, Adam experienced the hatred of the white slave owners for any who cavorted with the slaves, and he wanted no part of it. He vowed to become one who sent the slaves north to freedom. Dulcie, raised as an indulged young woman in the genteel Southern society by a father who considered the slaves mere animals, couldn’t understand why the slaves she loved weren’t treated like family.

The characters were well developed and the imagery vivid. We know exactly what motivated Dulcie and what moves Adam. We experience their young loves and are not surprised when they are attracted to each other. They are not so different really; each believes the slaves should be treated as people, and they lament a society in which they are not. Each has the courage to fight Southern Society for what they believe is right.

There are some wonderful secondary characters, including Tom, the aristocrat from New Orleans who married Ullah, a light colored slave, because he loved her, the families of Adam and Dulcie, and Adam’s two childhood friends, Beau and Ben, who join him as fellow captains.

Most of this book is “keeper” material, but in the 3rd “book” the story took a bizarre twist with a shipwreck, a voodoo island and a disturbed family that holds Dulcie captive. Adam and Dulcie are separated and both partnered (willingly or unwillingly) with others. The story finally comes back around for a great close, but you should be aware of this detour.

For more of Adam and Dulcie’s romance you have to read the second in the duology, Moss Rose, set in the Reconstruction Period after the end of the Civil War.

Buy on Amazon (used paper).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Review: Jennifer Horsman’s PASSIONS’ JOY – Love on the Underground Railroad: an Unusual English lord and an American Minx!

This is the story of Lord Ramsey (“Ram”) Barrington and the 17-year-old New Orleans minx, Joy Claret Reubens, who is a “conductor” in the Underground Railroad in the early 19th century. Sending slaves north to freedom is a dangerous business as Joy discovers when she dresses like a boy and accompanies the slaves to the boat that will take them to freedom. While keeping watch over some bounty hunters for her accomplices, she is spotted by Ram who is taking a run in the woods. And, forever after, her life is changed.

There are many things I love about Horsman’s writing: her detailed, believable plots, her action and adventure, the realism of the historical elements, her sexy strong heroes, her winsome heroines and her secondary characters. All that makes for a richer tale. I admire her ability to seamlessly move between points of view.

In this one, we have a hero who is a British lord but acts more like a pirate. Often, he plays the very bad cad. He will definitely make you angry. Oh, he has a generous heart and does some really good things, but his treatment of our heroine is sometimes less than stellar. If you can handle that, it’s a worthy adventure that will definitely hold your interest.

For those of you who love Horsman’s novels, be sure and read this before Virgin Star if you can, as this comes first. This one is set in 1818 in New Orleans and Virgin Star is set five years later in 1823—together they tell the story of two virile and worthy heroes who consider themselves brothers.

Buy on Amazon.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Review: Janelle Taylor’s FORTUNE’S FLAMES – Exciting Adventure in New Orleans during the War of 1812

Set during the War of 1812, this is the story of Maren Jones, an American who is sailing on her cousin’s ship from England to her home in New Orleans when a privateer by the name of Captain Hawk attacks and boards their ship. 

The infamous Captain Hawk is actually Jared Morgan, a patriot from Savannah who is working for President Madison and looking for traitors supporting the British. Maren’s cousin, Eric, tells her he is also working for the President, but it seems he is lying to her about many things.

Maren met Jared when she was 15 and was so enthralled, she disguised herself as a lad and followed the handsome young man around the wharf. So, when he captures her ship and then steals a kiss, she does not resist. Jared finds her enchanting, but he is also suspicious of both her cousin and her.
Original cover
 
This is a tale with many twists and turns and wartime treachery as Maren and Jared come together to solve some mysterious happenings and find a way to be together. Jared is certainly a worthy hero I could not help but love. And Maren, having lost her father and mother, is determined to make it on her own with the gambling club left to her, Lady Luck.

There’s a surprise at the end, too!

Buy on Amazon.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Review: Kimberly Cates’ THE RAIDER’S BRIDE – Pre-Revolutionary War Love Story

Set in Virginia in 1772, this is the story of Ian Blackheath, a rogue and a patriot who, as “Pendragon”, raids Tory holdings at night. One day he is saddled with his dead sister’s rebellious child, Lucy. So it’s Lucy the brat and Ian the debauched aristocrat until Ian meets Emily d’Autrecourt in her millinery shop. Not knowing what a brat Lucy is, not to mention a liar, Emily believes Ian a cruel, insensitive man at the way he treats his niece.

But then Lucy steals a doll from Emily’s shop, a doll that hides evidence of Emily’s spying for the English. She needs to get that doll back even if she has to become the brat’s governess so she can search for it, which is just what she does.

Ian is thrilled when Emily agrees to take charge of Lucy and thinks he can keep the new governess from learning his secret. Of course, he knows nothing of her secret. Two spies hiding out in the same house—and on opposite sides of the war to come.

Much of the story concerns Lucy and how she changes under Emily’s kind ministrations. There are some good twists and turns in the latter third of the story when many secrets are reveals, not just the ones we knew about. The characters are richly developed and Emily and Lucy’s interactions well done.

Buy on Amazon.

The Raider Series:
 
The Raider's Bride (Ian & Emily)
The Raider's Daughter (Dominic & Lucy)
To Catch A Flame (Griffin & Isabeau)

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Review: Cordia Byers’s DEVON – Thrilling Revolutionary War Saga of and English Girl and a Spy for the American Rebels


July is American Patriotic Romances month on my blog… stories from America’s past involving worthy heroes and heroines. And this is a great one, a classic from the Revolutionary War, one of my favorite settings for patriotic romances.

Set in 1777, in the time of the Revolutionary War, this is the story of Devon Mackinsey, the illegitimate daughter of a Scottish lord who, caring nothing for her, consigned her to the kitchens of their estate. A kind butler helped introduce her to the grandmother she never knew who saves her from a life as a scullery maid. Sent away to a proper lady’s school, Devon becomes a well-mannered beauty who resorts to crime as the infamous Shadow to save her family’s estate from its many debts. But when Hunter Barclay, wealthy heir to a peer, discovers her stealing his uncle's silver, they make a bargain -- one kiss for silence about both her secret and his (he's a spy for the Rebel colonists).

Devon and Hunter part that night, but Hunter must intervene again to save Devon from the gallows when a cruel English lord would have his vengeance upon her for another theft. Hunter’s intervention grants Devon her life in exchange for a lifetime as Hunter’s bond slave. He takes her to the Colonies, and on the way, he claims her as his mistress, never telling her he will marry another woman when they reach Virginia. Nor does he tell Devon of his dual life as a Royalist and an American Revolutionary.

I have loved others by Byers so I was not surprised I loved this one, too. It’s well told with lots of sexual tension and great action—kept me reading late into the night. There are a few improbable elements but none so ridiculous they bothered me. Beyers made them seem plausible. Devon is a worthy heroine, just the kind I like: a courageous young woman who rises to every challenge life throws at her. Hunter begins as a selfish though patriotic rogue who takes Devon’s innocence thinking only of his own pleasure, but gets caught in his obsession with the lovely girl. I recommend this one.

The sequel is The Black Angel.

Buy Devon on Amazon

Monday, July 4, 2016

New Review: Amanda Hughes’ VAGABOND WIND – Great Civil War Adventure!

The story begins in 1853 in West Virginia as we meet Zya Lazar, a woman of Cherokee, Portuguese and African blood (a “Melungeon”—a person of tri-racial heritage) who was orphaned as a young child and raised by Romani gypsies. Her gypsy father is a kind man but her gypsy uncle is ruthless, cruel and uses her as well as his own sons for his raids that bring terror to the countryside.

Zya, trained up to be a part of the raids, marries one of her uncle’s sons when she is 14 and becomes “bait” to lure the unsuspecting settlers to the gypsies’ trap. Only later does Zya discover that her gypsy uncle murdered her father who was a free black and her family. When she learns this, she leaves to live in the wild for years.

When War Between the States breaks out, Capt. Davis Wyndham comes to Western Virginia where Zya is living in the woods and in trouble with the law (through no fault of her own). Davis gets the charges dropped on the condition she becomes his guide as he travels about the countryside raising a brigade of Confederates to harass the enemy. She agrees and becomes a part of his most unusual band of raiders.

Some wonderful characters in this well-written tale will hold you captive as you are plunged into the Civil War and Davis sets his band to interfering with the B&O Railroad. Zya and Davis soon find they are attracted to each other and love takes its course. But there are many obstacles and much they must overcome to be together.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Daring Privateers in the American War of Independence by Regan Walker

July is American Patriotic Romances month on my blog so it seemed fitting to begin with the story of the daring privateers who helped America win its independence. 
 
There is something about the idea of privateers that stirs my blood. It has all the excitement and danger of piracy on the high seas, but with a significant difference: the privateers, armed merchant ships, operated with government sanction, “Letters of Marque” that allowed the private vessel to act under color of law.

Privateers were a large part of the total military force at sea during the 17th and 18th centuries. During the Revolutionary War (1775-1783), privateers acting for their respective governments—American, British and French, among others—seized thousands of ships, sometimes the same ship more than once! 

Pictured below is the American privateer brig, the General Montgomery, engaged in action with the British merchant vessel, the Millern, which it captured off Ireland in July 1777. The prize was sent to America but later re-captured by the British.

American privateer General Montgomery battling Millern, an English ship

At the time the Colonies declared their independence, the Continental Navy had only 31 ships (that number later increased to 64). But the sea fighting ability of the young country vastly increased as Congress issued Letters of Marque to nearly 1,700 American privateers.

The first privateer in the war might have been the American brig Reprisal, which on November 29, 1776, sailed into the port of Lorient in Brittany with Benjamin Franklin on board and two British prize ships in tow. The British protested, of course, and the owners of the seized vessels sought compensation. Lord Stormont, the British ambassador in Paris called Benjamin Franklin “a dangerous Engine” and voiced his suspicions the American statesman was on some “secret Commission from Congress.” He was.

The French response in allowing the American captain to sell his prizes in France was a tacit recognition of the young country’s independence. Franklin must have been delighted for he was there to solicit French aid.

Responding to the sale of the two prize ships, the Public Advertiser, a London newspaper said,

Is not this acknowledging the American Privateer’s Commission? And is not
that an Acknowledgement of the Independency of America?

Indeed it was, and it would not be the last such acknowledgement. The privateers were crucial to gaining recognition of the legitimacy of America’s war against Britain.

In my novel, To Tame the Wind, the hero, Captain Simon Powell, a British privateer, captures the daughter of a French pirate turned privateer for the Americans. Simon thinks to hold Claire for ransom to regain his seized ship and his crew. It never occurred to him he might not want to give her back.

Ben Franklin is a character and the one who issued the French captain his Letter of Marque. During the war, Franklin issued Letters of Marque to three ships: the Black Prince, the Black Princess, and the Fear Not. During a 15-month period in 1779-1780, these three ships captured 114 prizes. One of the reasons Ben Franklin sought these prizes was to use the captured British crews to ransom American seamen languishing in British prisons.

American privateers captured over 10,000 British seamen, keeping them out of the British Navy. In 1777, George Washington's armies totaled about 11,000 men. At the same time there were 11,000 privateers at sea intercepting British shipping in the Atlantic, Caribbean, and even between Ireland and England. Together, the Continental Navy and privateers captured 16,000 British prisoners, a substantial contribution in comparison with the 15,000 prisoners taken by the entire Continental Army before the surrender at Yorktown.

If you want to be swept away into this era and experience life on a privateer with a handsome British captain, then you just might enjoy To Tame the Wind!
 
From the 5-star review by Pirates and Privateers Magazine:

“Daring sea battles, roguish lurkers, ill-treated prisoners of war and deceitful dandies add dashes of spice to this historical romance, making it one readers will savor long after they turn the last page."

Buy on Amazon. See the Pinterest Storyboard for To Tame the Wind.