Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Review: Jennifer Blake’s EMBRACE AND CONQUER – Absorbing 18th Century Bodice Ripper with an Irish Hero and Pirates!

It is 1769 and the former French colony of New Orleans is seething with unrest and violence after the Spanish take over. Proud 19-year-old Felicite LaFargue, like her French compatriots, will do anything to defeat the foreigner’ rule. However, soon after the Spanish arrive with their force led by an Irish captain and his lieutenant, Felicite’s adoptive brother and her beloved merchant father are arrested for plotting insurrection. She must save them, even if it means offering her company to the arrogant mercenary Lt. Colonel Morgan McCormack in exchange for leniency in her father’s case.

At first, all the handsome Irish mercenary asks is her company in public to demonstrate the Spanish are willing to make friends with the local women, though even that opens the young unmarried girl to criticism and harsh rumor. But then her adoptive brother Valcour Murat (a real cad) escapes and attempts to kill McCormack. McCormack, convinced Felicite was a part of the plot, takes his revenge and rapes her. When he realizes he’s raped a virgin, he offers marriage (but who would want to marry their rapist?). She refuses. From that moment on, she becomes his willing mistress because she feels she has little choice (in her mind, “Resistance now was futile, since her purity was forever gone…”)—and to save her father. But one night, when all hope for her father is gone, she disguises herself as a lad and flees with her adoptive brother on a ship called the Raven--bound, she believes, for her homeland in France. Unbeknownst to her, it’s a pirate ship bound, not for France, but for the pirate haven of Las Tortugas Island.

This is a classic bodice ripper and very well written with lots of intrigue, action and history. I loved it. Blake seamlessly weaves into the romance the facts of the Spanish rule in New Orleans and the pirate culture that existed in the Caribbean. Her writing reflects a deep knowledge of ships, sea battles and sword fighting (the latter which kept me biting my nails). Her characters are vivid and I promise you will not want to put this one down. If you like alpha male heroes who must suffer for their misdeeds to win the love of a heroine who is noble but misjudged (and I do), this one is for you! I highly recommend it.

This novel is a part of a 3-novel boxed set, Louisiana History Collection, Part 1.


  1. Many thanks for the kind words about this New York Times best seller first published in the bodice ripper hey-day of the early 80s, Regan. I truly enjoyed writing the scenes in the pirate stronghold, as well as all the swordplay. I used to love swashbuckler movies, and this is, in a sense, my tribute to them. So happy you liked it!

    1. You did a superb job Jennifer and the romance is a worthy today as it was in the 80s. I look forward to reading all your romances!