Both this book and the sequel - The Iron Rose - are on my top ten most highly recommended historical romances list. I was never much of a fan of pirate romances - especially lady pirate romances. Remember Fern Michaels "Captive" series? Ack!
Unfortunately, that series all too easily comes to mind when I think of any sort of pirate book. The mere mention of "lady pirate books" would have me diving for cover behind the potted palms. After a long hiatus from Historical romance of any sub-genre, I started reading them again just a few years ago, and on the basis of a great review from The Romance Reader, I decided to give Marsha Canham's pirate books a try. It's probably the understatement of the century to say that I'm glad I did.
Isabeau Spence is the daughter of privateer Captain Jonas Spence, and an amazingly gifted ship's pilot and cartographer. When they come across a disabled and sinking ship, they stop to help the injured crew, completely unaware that they, and their ship, have just fallen into the hands of one Simon Dante, the infamous Pirate Wolf. Dante informs Jonas and Isabeau that he means to commandeer their ship to seek revenge on the man who betrayed him to the Spanish.
This book is set during the Elizabethan period - not my favorite period for historical romance, but Ms. Canham handles it deftly, with great (and accurate) attention to historical detail, and that genuinely old-time swashbuckling feel, more than a little reminiscent of an old Errol Flynn film (take your pick). I think this is probably my favorite thing about Canham's writing in general: practically everything she writes has that highly visual cinematic feel to it.
The naval battles are so incredibly descriptive and well-written, you'd almost swear she has survived a few of them herself. And the developing romance between Simon and Isabeau is signature Marsha Canham engrossing and H-O-T.
The secondary characters are, as always, well-written, quirky, funny, very real, and serve to greatly enrich the story overall.
I highly recommend picking up this book (and the sequel), even - especially - if the pirate-themed romances of yesteryear have left you somewhat under-enthused with the prospect of trying more. This series is everything good pirate romances should be, but so frequently aren't; engrossing, evocative, & highly visual.
This woman should be writing screenplays!
marame reviewed Across a Moonlit Sea (Dante Pirates, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 4
Canham can do no wrong in my eyes. This is a quintessential swashbuckler romance. They don't get any better than this.
Beau is the strongest heroine I've ever read about and Simon literally took my breath away. They were well-matched in courage and passion. Read this book, then run out and get The Iron Rose, which is about their daughter, Juliet, who's a female pirate!
When he is betrayed by a fellow Englishman and left to die at the hands of the Spaniards, Simon Dante survives, bent on revenge. With his ship sinking he captures and commandeers Captain Spence's ship, but not without a fight from the captain's daughter, Beau.
The finest pilot and navigator on the high seas, Beau can use a cutlass and her sharp tongue with equal skill. Simon must somehow tame and woo the insolent wench, convincing Beau to help him claim his revenge.
Beau has never met a man like Dante, and though she is a strong-willed woman she falls in love with the rakish, devilishly handsome captain. Together they make a team few can equal.
This was a surprisingly good book! It's been a bit hard for me to find really good, interesting romance books, but I decided to order this because of a glowing review from another member. The romance parts of the book were pretty much what you'd expect from any romance, but the action and adventure had me finishing up this book in 2 days! I'd absolutely recommend this book and I'll probably read the sequel.
An interesting story that is about details of ship life and privateering in the 16th century with some real historical characters and situations mixed in. The love story between a French/English lord and a woman who is the helmsman of her father's ship progressed with a very slow and steady pace. There was a sweet and unique love scene and a smattering of others more typical. The book was quite interesting and educational but wasn't a particularly riveting romance.
I read a review that gave this a sensuality rating of R. I suppose that could be true but if you were to compare to a Lisa Kleypas book, this was fairly tame.