by Darlene Marshall, historical (2009)
Amber Quill Press, $5.25, ISBN 978-1-60272-612-3
Five years ago, our American hero Jack Burrell attempted to avenge himself by playing the highwayman to get back the money he believed that he was cheated of by Lord Whitfield. He happened to stop the carriage carrying Lord Whitfield's young ward. He decided to take her along with the money - he didn't have any sinister plans in mind, of course, he just wanted to stall the coachman from giving chase or something. Alas, he ended up being robbed blind of his loot and his clothes by this young lady, who proceeded to abscond to Plymouth, away from her lascivious guardian, and opened a bookstore using the loot. You can't accuse Sophia Deford of being timid, that's for sure.
We cut to present day, where a series of coincidences and a last request from a mutual friend see Jack and Sophia reunited to embark on a treasure hunt along Florida. Jack had since their last meeting reinvented himself as Lacky Jack Burrell, your friendly neighborhood dashing privateer who runs a well-ordered ship, while Sophia is determined to get the treasure and then embark on a new and exciting life in America. You bet they will fall in love along the way.
The Bride And The Buccaneer is a fun story, featuring two well-matched, sometimes silly, but always fun to follow characters that have great chemistry. Both characters bicker as well as banter, but they work well together. Sophia may be looking for a more exciting life, but she's not some reckless hoyden running headlong into danger without thinking. Jack may be a pirate with all the necessary trapping, but he's also a fun guy without trying too hard to be some tedious alpha male.
The plot however relies too heavily on coincidences for my liking. Still, this is a lighthearted romp, so perhaps I shouldn't take the story that seriously. Also, I feel that many scenes in this story, especially those involving high sea action, could have been expanded with more detailed descriptions of sound, sight, and such, so that the story will provide a better vicarious experience for the reader.
The strongest aspects of The Bride And The Buccaneer are the chemistry, banter system, and likability of its two adorable main characters. Despite the flaws in the plot, I still manage to have a wonderful time reading this story because Jack and Sophia are simply too much fun to follow.
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