A Heart Across the Ocean: A Review

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The latest First Reads Goodreads giveaway novel this pedometer geek reader read was an e-book of Shelley Kassian’s A Heart Across the Ocean. This was the first time to have read this author, but the historical time period and setting was similar to another historical romance that this reader read. This is the extended review of Kassian’s novel.

A Heart Across the Ocean

By Shelley Kassian

Published by Shelley Kassian, 2108

ISBN: 978-0995968042

Set during the time of the settling of New France, this is a historical romance novel about a young Parisian woman who is escaping her past and the soldier who catches her. Traveling across the Atlantic to find a husband, Madeleine Bourbonnais is beautiful, but she carries a secret within. She barely survives the overwhelming seasickness that occurs on the way over, leaving her weak. So weak in fact, that she ends up falling into the arms of a captain, Julian Benoit. Suffice it to say, she makes quite an impression on him.

Julian Benoit is a second son in a time where he won’t inherit a title so he becomes a soldier, making his fortune in the new world. He is engaged to Catherine, who has no plans to leave Paris so he has finally given up all hope of marrying his beloved. His commander has mandated that his soldiers marry one of King’s daughters (filles de Roi), who are women of good breeding but few prospects (read: money). Providing each of these women with a small dowry, the king ensures that New France will be settled. Enter Madeleine, who literally falls into his arms.

The pair begins to court, but she has a secret that could affect their growing relationship. She keeps trying to tell him, but never finds the right opportunity until the day of the wedding. Once he finds out, will be abandon her? Or will this become a love match?

It is a romance without graphic sex scenes. What intimate moments there are, are tender and sweet. The love story builds slowly, but is worth the drawn out tension between the pair.

There are a few misused words in the text and off turns of language (words used in a different way), but it didn’t distract too much from the story…an example: the word prodigy should have been progeny.

As mentioned above (and coincidentally), there is another romance Heaven in His Arms, written by Lisa Ann Verge, that features a King’s daughter, who travels to New France in hopes of marriage and starting a new life.

This reader found the historical nature of these two romances to be fascinating as this was never addressed in any of the history classes taken through the years. While I was taught about Jacques Cartier’s exploration of this area of the Americas, most of the focus of history lessons from this period turned to the English settlers and the subsequent founding of the nation.

The two stories are different, and yet very similar. Both were enjoyable, and this reader would not hesitate to read another by either of the two authors

 

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Delicate Ink: A Review

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The latest novel this pedometer geek reader read was received through a First Reads Goodreads giveaway. It is a contemporary romance entitled Delicate Ink by Carrie Ann Ryan, and it is one of the novels in the Montgomery Ink series. This story was the first of her novels to have been read, but it definitely won’t be the last as another of her novels (Tempting Boundaries) was also received through a Goodreads giveaway. It will be reviewed in due course, but for now, here is the extended review of Delicate Ink. 

Delicate Ink

By Carrie Ann Ryan

Published by Fated Desires Publishing, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-62322-109-6

This contemporary romance features two main characters as the romantic couple: a bearded, tattooed hunk of a guy, Austin Montgomery, and a new woman in town, Sierra Elder.

Without giving away the plot (read: spoilers), this review is necessarily vague. The former wants a long-term relationship (he wants to settle down); the latter is resistant to the idea (she is trying to get her business off the ground). They meet when she crosses the street from her new boutique, Eden, to his tattoo parlor, Montgomery Ink. When they meet, it is not love at first sight; in fact, each one rubs the other the wrong way. Still, they both provide the other with a certain something.

Both Sierra and Austin have obstacles to overcome. Family gets in the way; old relationships get in the way; and their pasts get in the way. Can they get beyond all the hurdles? If so, is a happily-ever-after possible for this pair? Especially when surprises could derail them?

While this reader enjoyed the story, there were a couple of things that bothered me. First and foremost, the cover features a hot guy, but it runs counter to the description of Austin. Yes, the man on the cover sports ink, but he is definitely not bearded. There are also quite a few typos and errors missed during proofing and editing.

On the other hand, positives include the glimpses of family dynamics in the siblings and cousins who are supportive of their other family members. The introduction of each family member rather sets up the possibility of other stories in this series. The relationship between Liam and Sierra was uplifting, and that it was so natural was part of its charm.

It is hoped that Austin, Sierra, and Liam will appear in the following books as the ending seemed rather abrupt. This reader would like to know more about these characters. Perhaps, more of their story will come out in the next book.

 

 

 

 

The Book of Summer: A Review

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The latest book, which was received directly from the author through Shelf Awareness’s Book Buzz, this pedometer geek reader read was Michelle Gable’s The Book of Summer. This was not the first of Gable’s novels that this reader has read. I also read A Paris Apartment a few years ago. Both are mainstream novels with a bit of history woven in. This is the extended review.

The Book of Summer

By Michelle Gable

Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-250-07062-3

At the center of this novel is a house on Nantucket (Sconset) called Cliff House. Its inhabitants, the family, who built the house, and their guests provide the story of their lives spent summering in Sconset.

As the novel opens, the house is about to slip into the sea as the cliff erodes away. Nearing its centennial year, Cissy Codman, a local rabble-rouser, is fighting to save her ancestral summer home by having her home moved to protect it while at the same time working to shore up the eroding cliff. She only has a few days left to save her home before it slips into the ocean. Already areas of the property are gone…the pool, for example.

Into this mess comes her daughter Bess, who is trying to pack up the contents even as her mother ignores the realities. Bess is reeling from her divorce, but soldiers on, helped by her high school love.

The past, too, plays an important part in the novel as the novel flips between the present dangers and the past of the summers of Cissy’s mother, Ruby, and her family especially during the time preceding and during World War II.

Tying it all together is the family journal called ‘The Book of Summer.’ In lieu of payment for staying at Cliff House, writing in the book became a way of those who came there to express feelings and impressions of their stay in the home and the community.

Ultimately, though, most of the writing in the journal is done by the women: Ruby, Mary, and Hattie, but the male characters (Topper, Sam, others) play just as important of roles in the story itself.

It’s a sweeping story over several generations of the family…with joys shared, sorrows hidden, and secrets revealed.

This reader enjoyed the novel immensely. The characters are not one-dimensional; they are fully fleshed out. The situations the characters find themselves in are realistic. Gable deals with contemporary issues. Having read this novel as well as her A Paris Apartment, this reader will be checking out her other novels in the near future.

 

Young and Damned and Fair: A Review

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The latest First Reads Goodreads giveaway that this pedometer geek reader read was a nonfiction book written by Gareth Russell. Entitled Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII, it is a biography. This is the extended review.

Young and Damned and Fair

By Gareth Russell

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5011-0863-1

As background, this pedometer geek reader became entranced with the lives of Henry VIII’s wives ever since seeing the movie, Anne of the Thousand Days, when it was first in the theater at the Southland Mall in 1969. If I recall correctly, this movie was the inaugural movie for this theater, or at least, it was the first movie that two of my school friends and I saw there, but I digress. Starring Richard Burton and Genevieve Bujold, the movie told the story of Anne Boleyn and Henry VIII.

From then on, this reader looked for books about any of his queens as well as watched the PBS Masterpiece series aired in the early 1970s and PBS’s more recent offerings. Suffice it to say, between the fiction and the nonfiction consumed over the years, a fair bit of knowledge has been acquired about these six women.

Still, there is always more knowledge to acquire especially since much of the reading material was historical fiction (Jean Plaidy and Philippa Gregory were among those that were read); thus, it was with great pleasure that Russell’s book was received.

As stated earlier, Gareth Russell’s book is nonfiction. This well-researched book (over 55 pages of Notes and 20 pages of Bibliography sources) about the life of the fifth wife of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard, discusses her life (and tragic end) basically as seen through her peers, compatriots, servants, and the wider world of European diplomats in the 1500s-1550s. Basically, the book shows how her household shaped her and her career.

From her time as a child through her early teens, living as a ward of her wealthiest female relative, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, Catherine is described as beautiful, carefree, and vivacious. She is also described as being vain, quick-tempered, egotistical, reckless, and at times, rude (p.334) Her date of birth is debated (from 1517 to 1527), and no likeness has ever been definitely identified as Catherine Howard in all the paintings of the period.

Although Henry VIII was captivated by Catherine, choosing her to be his wife and queen even as he was divorcing Anne of Cleves (and having Thomas Cromwell beheaded for his part in suggesting Anne), he is always behind the scenes in this biography. When allegations of adultery and treason come to his notice, he is the mover and shaker behind her death, but he allows his minions (Archbishop Cranmer, the Duke of Norfolk, Jane Rochford*) to find the evidence of her treason.

Her family and friends were many of the sources for the evidence brought forward about the two men, Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham, who were found guilty of treason against the king. These people also paid a price for hiding the treasonous actions (misprision of treason) with many of them locked away after the fact.

Comparisons between her cousin, Anne Boleyn, and Catherine are not as clear cut as people presume, Russell asserts over and over. Often using modern language and phrases (plea bargain, for example), Russell attempts to make his material relevant to contemporary readers.

The author includes a hand-drawn map of England, Scotland, and Wales, which includes places mentioned in the text. There is also a list of the illustrations and family trees for the significant players. There is also a time line of events of Catherine Howard’s fall and a listing of all the ladies of her household.

Overall, it is a well-researched book with plenty of new details about Catherine Howard’s life. Lots of details are given including the text of one of her confessions. Complex language (misprision and uxoricide were just two of the words that were looked up during the reading) throughout the book was seen.

* These three people also played a part in Anne Boleyn’s death, and in some ways, played similar roles in both deaths except Jane Rochford also paid the ultimate price as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Must Love Mistletoe: A Review

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Must Love Mistletoe is the first of Christie Ridgway’s novels this pedometer geek reader has read (and with full disclosure, this e-book was gifted to me (along with several others) by the author for joining her website), but it won’t be the last. This is the extended review.

As an aside, I have read Christie Ridgway’s Romance column in the monthly “Book Page” magazine for quite a few years without realizing she was an author in her own right. Once I realized this, I decided I wanted to read at least one of her books. Her insights into the romance genre (and her monthly picks of the Best Romance of the Month) are definitely worth reading especially if romance is a favorite type of  read.

Must Love Mistletoe

By Christie Ridgway

Published by Avon Books, 2006

ISBN: 978-0061140204

This novel is a contemporary romance that features not just one, but two, second-chance romances.

Bailey (yes, like George!), who claims to hate Christmas, is drawn home to take over the family store, The Christmas Present, when her mother Tracey goes off the rails after the breakdown of her second marriage to Dan. Bailey is not happy with the situation, and she is convinced she can and will get her mom back managing the store so that she can quickly return to her safe, corporate life in LA.

Bailey is not the only returnee to the city of Coronado. Her first love, bad boy Finn, is home taking care of his beloved Gram, who is gravely ill. When they meet again after ten years apart, sparks ignite despite Bailey’s fear of love and commitment. Will they stay together permanently, or is it just a quick fling to fill the days until the 25th? Until Bailey returns to her safe life; until Finn returns to his life as a cleaned-up, respectable bad boy-turned-pirate?

All the while, Tracey is in the throes of depression based on an ’empty nest’ situation. She is sure that her husband Dan is cheating on her, just like her first husband (and father to Bailey) did. But can they reconcile and find common ground based on new interests? What about the store? Will they once again work together? Or will it close its doors forever?

Two romances in one make this a unique novel, but there are a few WTT (what-the-tuck) trends seen (at least one hair-tucking incident, a few smirks, but NO green-eyed characters noted!).

There are some spicy scenes, but they are not overly graphic in this Christmas-themed tale. Each chapter is prefaced by Bailey’s Christmas notes, which are tidbits of Christmas lore. This makes for an interesting approach to the upcoming chapter. This pedometer geek reader absolutely loved Ridgway’s breezy (language) style throughout (perhaps it echoes my thoughts), but here is an example written from Bailey’s perspective:

“At thirty, Finn had developed a taste for tall fat women with hair the improbable color of a tequila sunrise. That was the problem with men—they never once realized that no real female had breasts the big or hair that red.” (page 26)

 

 

 

 

 

The Wife Between Us: A Review

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The Wife Between Us, written by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen, was the last First Reads Goodreads giveaway (Advanced Readers’ Edition/uncorrected proof) that this pedometer geek reader had the pleasure of reading. This partnership has written a terrific thriller, and this is the extended review.

The Wife Between Us

By Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-13092-1

From the back cover of this uncorrected proof:

You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife.

You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement–a woman who is about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.

You will assume you know the anatomy of the relationships.

Assume nothing.

Read between the lies.

This blurb sums up this twist-filled thriller, which is told from the perspective of Vanessa, the wife who is newly divorced from Richard Thompson.

As Vanessa’s life seems to spiral out of control (she is living with her aunt; she is drinking too much; she contacts Richard’s fiancée one too many times), the reader wonders what is going on. Is she an unreliable narrator, or is she the sanest person around? What is the connection between Vanessa and Nellie?

Because this is to be a (nearly) spoiler-free review, this reader will say that the story is riveting. The characters seem, on the surface, to be obvious and simple, but they are anything but; they are complex with layers as the narrative unfolds.  The story is laid out in such exquisite slowness that the reader flies through the pages to figure out how all the connections work.

This is a read that will keep the reader guessing until the very end, and even when it starts to make sense, another surprise (or three) is right around the corner.

To say it simply, this thriller is brilliant. It may be the best book this reader has experienced this year. For reading it is an experience. Certain passages were re-read to appreciate the twists. This reader is looking forward to reading another novel by this writing duo.

A few quotes from the book of interest:

“Gaze detection, it’s called—our ability to sense when someone is observing us. An entire system of the human brain is devoted to this genetic inheritance from our ancestors, who relied on the trait to avoid becoming an animal’s prey.” (page 3)

“She is oblivious to what I have done to her.
“She is unaware of the damage I have wrought; the ruin I have set in motion.
“To this beautiful young woman with the heart-shaped face and lush body—the woman my husband Richard, left me for—I’m as invisible as the pigeon scavenging on the sidewalk next to me.” (pages 3,4)

“She has no idea what will happen to her if she continues like this.
“None at all.” (page 4)

“I was happy, I think, but I wonder now if my memory is playing tricks on me. If it is giving me the gift of an illusion. We all layer them over our remembrances; the filters through which we want to see our lives.” (page 96)

 

Bring Her Home : A Review

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The most recent Advanced Reader Copy, which was received through a First Reads Goodreads giveaway, that this pedometer geek reader had the pleasure of reading, was David Bell’s Bring Her Home. This is the second of his novels that this reader has read, but it won’t be the last. In fact, there are a couple more sitting on my shelves just waiting to be read, but I digress. This is the extended review.

Bring Her Home

by David Bell

Published by Berkley, 2017

an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC

ISBN: 978-0-399=58444-2

As the cover blurb of this thriller states, “the fate of two missing teenage girls becomes a father’s worst nightmare.”

For single parent Bill Price, his missing daughter Summer is his worst nightmare. Not only has his wife died in a tragic fall in his kitchen a year or so earlier, but her death was first witnessed by said daughtert,the one who discovered her body. With this tragedy in both of their pasts, Summer and Bill have had a somewhat strained relationship ever since. Bill wants to hang on even more tightly to protect her; she is acting out in typical teenage rebellion fashion with friends, Haley, Todd, and Clinton.

That is, until the day Summer and Haley go missing.

As the novel opens, two girls have been found in a nearby city park…both badly beaten beyond recognition. One girl is dead (Haley) and one is clinging to life (Summer), and Bill is at Summer’s side as slips in and out of a coma. Will she remember her attackers? Will she be able to let the police, Detective Hawkins, and her dad know what happened?

Disturbing allegations and questions about the teens emerge as one family buries their daughter, and another wants answers especially when the circumstances change.

What seems like an open and shut situation suddenly morphs into a twist-filled read. Bill sets out on his own to find out what happened, and his loosely controlled anger over events sets him on a collision course with the police, Summer’s friends and classmates, parents and neighbors, and his sister Paige. Searching for the truth may cost him everything…and leads this reader to wonder how much we really know about our own children (and what secrets they may be keeping).

The title comes from the plea written on a sign posted at the makeshift memorial in the park where the girls are found, yet isn’t that what every parent says when a child disappears, “Just bring her home.”

The review is purposely vague in order to avoid spoilers; however, suffice it to say, that the main character of Bill Price is a flawed human being, often acting out as a distraught parent might. His decisions, good or bad, are understandable by anyone in a similar situation.

 

 

The Swallow’s Nest: A Review

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The latest uncorrected proof copy of a novel received through a First Reads Goodreads giveaway was Emilie Richards’ The Swallow’s Nest. This was not the first of this author’s novels, which this pedometer geek has read, nor will it be the last based on this story. This is the extended review.

The Swallow’s Nest

By Emilie Richards

Published by Mira Books, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7783-2000-5

What does it take to be a mother? What makes a family a family? Emilie Richards answers these questions in this poignant novel.

A surprise of a baby brings out the maternal feelings of not one, but three women who wish to mother this child created at a low point in the father’s life.

Graham has just gone into remission from Burkitt’s lymphoma so his wife Lilia throws him a celebratory party.  When Marina, the mother of his child, appears at the door, she dumps a screaming three-month-old Toby into Lilia’s arms, and the party comes to an abrupt end.

What a surprise! At least to Lilia, who is blindsided. This leaves their marriage in upheaval over Graham’s betrayal. Returning to her family in Hawaii, she considers all of her options, finally deciding to take on the role of stepmother to Toby. The breach between Graham and Lilia slowly heals, and with no contact or support from Marina during this time, Lilia has truly become Toby’s mother and wants to adopt him, making him officially her son, but then the unthinkable happens.

Now Lilia has to fight for custody of him when two other women, Marina and her mother-in-law Ellen, want the same thing. Love for the same toddler may just tear these women apart as they fight for the right to hold on to Toby.

This novel explores what it means to be a mother. Is it biological, or is it the one who spends the time day after day caring for every need? How about grandmothers and how do they fit into the picture?

It also explores family dynamics as well, particularly regarding estrangement. The title is appropriate for the similarities between the habits of cliff swallows and the characters in the story. It also fits with the lifestyle blog that Lilia Swallow Randolph writes.

As the trio deals with their complex lives, the courts will render a decision that will affect them all.

Poignant, tender, and complex, this story will resonate for anyone who has ever been betrayed by loved ones, for anyone who has loved a child whether related by genetics or not, for anyone who has gone through the pain of dealing with custody, or for anyone who has a dysfunctional family. Or as Lilia thinks to herself, “Family was messy, and nothing that had been decided today was going to be easy.” (page 503)

As this copy was an uncorrected proof, there were a fair amount of errors in the text (incorrect words, missing quotation marks, typos, etc.) that were needed to be fixed; however, after borrowing a published copy, this reader noted that they appeared to have been corrected in the final edit.

The review was necessarily vague to prevent spoilers. Having said that, this emotional story was really worth reading, and this reader especially loved the resolution of the story as it provides for a happily-ever-after for all concerned. Aloha!

 

 

 

 

 

Come Sundown: A Review

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The latest ARC this pedometer geek completed was Nora Roberts’ Come Sundown. It was received as a First Reads Goodreads giveaway. This was not the first of her novels to have been read by this reader, nor will it be the last. This pedometer geek reader has read some of her standalone novels like High Noon, and some of her series books like the Key Trilogy as well as some of the Eve Dallas series of novels written under her pseudonym, J.D. Robb. Here is the extended review of Come Sundown.

Come Sundown
By Nora Roberts
Published by St. Martin’s Press, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-250-12307-7

Nora Roberts is a prolific writer. Glancing over the list on the opening pages of the book, this reader quickly counted well over 100 novels published under her name, and more than 40 novels published under her pseudonym, J.D. Robb. Her writing is found in various anthologies as well. (According to her Goodreads author page, she is the author of over 200 works of fiction.)

Roberts writes in various genres: romance, fantasy, suspense, and mainstream fiction, yet her writing is always fresh. She deftly blends genres as well, and this is seen in the story, Come Sundown.

Without providing too many spoilers, it can be said that drama and suspense go hand in hand with this story of two “prodigal locals” who return home to Montana. Each individual has been gone for several years as the novel opens, yet their paths back couldn’t be any different.

The first is Alice Bodine, a young woman. On her way home, she is ready to be reunited with her family after her self-proclaimed emancipation and departure a few years earlier. Alice is kidnapped by a man who uses and abuses her over a period of years, forcing her into a “marriage” to bear him sons.

The second is Callan Skinner, a horseman who has wrangled horses in Hollywood for years. Returning home, he is hired by Bodine Longbow to help with the Bodine family resort and ranch. Dealing with old grudges, accusations of killing young women, and finding a love all play into his story.

Roberts flips between the past and present in telling the story. Their intertwining stories come to a head when Alice finally escapes her captor and finds her way back to civilization and her family. Her twenty-five years of abuse are slowly revealed, pealing back the layers of her brainwashing.

Can Alice recover after the many years of abuse? Will her past haunt not only her, but the present generations? Alice’s life in captivity and her return to her family were some of the most riveting parts of the novel for this reader. I found myself rooting for her, hoping that she might escape the abuse of Sir (this is what he expected her to call him).

With a large cast of characters, the novel is complex, compelling, and suspenseful. It also has enough romance between several characters to keep anyone who loves to read romantic suspense happy, yet the romantic scenes are tasteful and not particularly graphic. There were enough twists and turns to keep a reader reading late into the night, too.

The quotations from various writers (poets, novelists) before each part of the novel were thoughtful beyond the story. Of particular note was the quote from Robert Frost:
“You’re searching, Joe, For things that don’t exist; I mean beginnings. Endings and beginnings—there are no such things. They are only middles.”

Keeping the characters straight might require notes as the Bodine family line is multi-generational, (or at least it was difficult for this reader*), but don’t let this deter anyone from diving into the story.

* This reader usually has two or more books going at any one time and this was not an exception while reading this novel. Because of this, some details of the family connections were probably lost while reading. As a precaution, read it without those distractions.
Since I have several of Nora Roberts’ unread novels in my possession, I think I need to read them, and this time reading each without compromising enjoyment by reading any other book at the same time.

Redeeming the Pirate: A Review

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As a member of Chloe Flowers’ review team, this pedometer geek reader received the opportunity to read her newest Pirates and Petticoats novel; however, this reader couldn’t convert the file that was given. Hence, the e-book was purchased so that it could be read and reviewed. This is the extended review of Redeeming the Pirate.

Redeeming the Pirate
By Chloe Flowers
Published by Flowers & Fullerton Publishing, 2018
ISBN: 978-1633039780

Taking up where Pirate Heiress (the previous novel) ends, this is the story of Drago Viteri Gamponetti (AKA Gampo). While it is not strictly a sequel, many of the characters (the twins Jacqueline and Julien and the rest of the Sauvage family) make their appearance in the book. In fact, it is Jacqueline’s illness that introduces Sister Eva, the healer, to Drago and his world (his crew).

Drago Gamponetti is a pirate…okay, a privateer, as he frequently mentions. As a privateer who steals for the French king, he is coerced into stealing a precious relic from a cathedral in New Orleans. It’s a do-or-die mission for him, and it is to be his last mission, or so he believes.

Enter Eva, a scarred and vulnerable thief. Having sought sanctuary with the Ursuline order years earlier, she is now a novitiate nun and healer. Summoned to heal a sick young girl, Jacqueline, Eva meets the pirate.

From the beginning, there is tension between the pair. Eva wants to safeguard the relics (and exacts a promise from Drago to do so), but it may cost him his life to comply as it is Drago’s mission to steal them. Clashes between the two lead to love, but is it possible to change a blackguard? To redeem a man whose soul is irredeemable? Can Eva learn to trust him? Is he trustworthy?

Set during the Battle of New Orleans, this romance has intrigue, humor, and swashbuckling moments. The author brings to life the battle, which could have easily been won by the British. Whether it is historically accurate is immaterial as the author sucks the reader into the drama of Drago, Eva, and the other characters including the pirate LaFitte, who plays an integral role in saving New Orleans from the British fleet.

This reader’s only real complaint is the over abundance of typos, missing words, wrong words, etc. An extra set of eyes during proofreading might have prevented many of them. It is hoped that the print version has been corrected as the romance is worth reading and a great addition to the other Pirates and Petticoats series novels, which feature feisty heroines and daring men (see previous reviews of the Chloe Flowers’ novels).

One discordant note is the cover. The cover, while gorgeous, depicts a beautiful young woman dressed in an empire waist gown peeking around a curtain, yet this seems unconnected to the reality of the story. Throughout the novel, Eva describes herself as disfigured, wearing a veil to hide her face. She also wears a nun’s habit. Despite the disconnect between the story and the cover, the romance is a fun read.