Pirate's Price
by Darlene Marshall, historical (2004)
Amber Quill Press, $7.00, ISBN 1-59279-506-4


This Pirate's Price is a revised and expanded version of the 2001 edition previously published by the new-defunct publisher Dreams Unlimited. I am not sure what exactly gets expanded and revised but the final product is an enjoyable seafaring pirate romance that becomes better after its rather morbid start. If I am to drop some names, in a way I can't fully explain, this book reminds me of a more PC-version of Kathleen E Woodiwiss' The Flame And The Flower (the only book by this author that I enjoyed heartily), only this time the heroine is less of a spineless ninny and more of a proactive woman.

Christine Sanders and Justin Delerue's marriage isn't even close to being pleasant. She doesn't want to marry him and in some attempt to avoid the wedding night so that she can have the marriage annulled afters she flees the coop, she drugs him. The result is an unpleasant wedding night scene, which is why I mentioned previously that I found this book to start off in a morbid manner. Christine flees the coop nonetheless and perhaps she finds it an apt form of payback to become a pirate and target her husband in an attempt to get back her money that goes to him after the wedding. Her pirate uncle Julius is willing to help Christine become "Captain Christopher Daniels" and put together a crew of rather Disneyfied happy crew of pirates. Things become interesting when the crew of the Tigress under Christine's leadership captures a ship that Justin just happens to be on.

Justin is a pretty likeable hero with him feeling genuinely sorry for the botched wedding night and spending his time looking for his absent wife. Since that incident isn't truly his fault, it reflects poorly on Christine, I'm afraid, for treating him like an enemy. However, this story doesn't allow Christine to act in a truly irrational or obnoxious manner so she remains likeable enough despite her dodgy motivations to strike back at her husband. I like how she is really a capable pirate who strikes out as her victims in a well-planned and systematic manner. The best part is how she and her men come to the hero's rescue in the end, I tell you, because it is very rare that I encounter a heroine who is as capable as the author insists she is. While Christine may be quite silly when it comes to the matters of the heart, she and Justin have a great banter and rapport system going to allows them to bring out the best from each other.

The internal conflict could have been better developed into something more intriguing than the one-dimensional "she thinks the worst of him, and when she doesn't anymore, she is now afraid that she's not worthy of him" dilemma, I suppose, which would allow Pirate's Price to deliver a more emotional punch to the reader. But as a seafaring romance featuring grand adventure, a capable heroine that could fit in very well in a Marsha Canham's seafaring romance, and a likeable hero who exudes attractive steadfastness and fidelity, Pirate's Price is good enough by itself for some pleasant excursion to the exciting high seas of yore.

Rating: 85


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