Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Review: Valerie Vayle’s LADY OF FIRE – A Different Pirate Tale

Set in the late 17th century in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Turkey, France and England, this is the story of Garlanda Cheney, who was born in England, the daughter of Sir Robert Cheney, a murdered diplomat. She was raised in Martinique where her grandfather had a plantation. Convent schooled, Garlanda was naïve when she and her mother set sail for England. Her mother died at sea just as their ship went down in a storm. Garlanda was saved by a pirate captain named Rogue with whom she ended up on an island.

True to his name, Rogue takes Garlanda as his mistress, and they spend some idyllic days together. Rescued by Rogue’s crew, Garlanda (who Rogue calls “Fleur”) is taken aboard his ship and held captive until she engages in a daring escape in Marseilles. Garlanda is desperate to find her aunt in England and to find the person who murdered her father.

Both Garlanda’s father and Rogue are mysterious figures. Rogue is constantly taking on different identities, and though he acts the pirate, he is a well-educated man. And for some reason, the British Embassy folks don’t want Garlanda to know about her father.

There is no question that this is a well-written story, but there are whole chapters where Rogue and Garlanda are separated (I won’t even go into her days with a Turkish Pasha), which won’t appeal to all readers. And Rogue seems to be a man incapable of jealousy, which is a bit odd for a romance hero. Still, the story is entertaining and the mystery surrounding Garlanda’s father and Rogue himself kept me reading. There are some endearing secondary characters, including Garlanda’s aunt, Althea, Sabelle (a female member of Rogue’s crew, whose daughters’ story is told in book 2), and Leon Jareski-Yanoviak, the Polish count.

My favorite lines come from a conversation between Garlanda and her aunt Althea:

"Whom do you love?"
"A pirate," Garlanda said miserably.
Athea's eyes lit up. "A real pirate? Does he wear an eyepatch and have a wooden leg and carry a knife in his teeth and--"
"He's well educated and can recite the works of Shakespeare and Jonson from memory."
"Oh," Althea said, voice flat. "Not even a parrot?"

The ending satisfies, so the reader who hangs in there will be rewarded as the mysteries are solved and the guy gets the girl.

It’s a different kind of pirate tale and, though it was suggested to me as a bodice ripper, I did not find it so.

Here’s the trilogy:


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