Monday, February 18, 2013

New Review: Nancy Morse’s SEA MISTRESS – Naïve, Headstrong Young Woman Meets Jaded Pirate for an Interesting Romance!

Set in New Orleans in 1813 during the War of 1812, this is the story of Raven De Lys who in order to save her family’s plantation seeks to recover the De Lys sapphire, a very costly gem her wastrel brother lost. In the process she must also search for a much-loved family servant, Toby, who’s gone missing. All that takes her to the high seas, to privateering and into the arms of the pirate, Dominique Sauvinet, who is known to have the jewel.

I was initially confused when despite the introduction of the handsome and arrogant pirate, Dominique Sauvinet (the hero according to the book’s description), innocent Raven was suddenly in bed with a cad named Andre Dumaine, having made a bargain with him to give him her virtue for locating her lost servant. That made me wonder until I realized Andre and Dominique must be one and the same. In the course of pursuing both her lost servant and the lost jewel, Raven is befriended by a merchant named Maurice D’Arcy who, while lacking funds to help her regain her beloved plantation, somehow finds the money to finance a ship and crew to enable her to become a privateer captain (lack of experience aside) to sail into the pirate’s lair in Barataria. Lacking any Letter of Marque, she is really a pirate (though once she joins with Dominique, she seems to forget she has a ship or a crew.)

I have to say it was a bit hard to believe that a virgin in 1813 would give her virtue to a virtual stranger with no hesitation in order to locate a lost servant; and when she wakes up alone the next morning, feels no remorse and decides she is suddenly in love with the cad. She was brave and reckless one moment and nearly stupid the next. Ah well…despite that, the story drew me in and, setting aside the improbable, I enjoyed it.

Morse writes beautifully and is clearly a good storyteller. Her story reflects deep research on the War of 1812 and New Orleans and I really liked that. For all those things, she gets full marks. And the SEA MISTRESS has all the elements I like: strong alpha male hero, interesting history, high seas adventure and a winning plot.

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