Bride of the Wind by Heather Graham
OK first let me 'fess up. I really am not too much of a fan of Pirate type romances. Well, an exception is Beauvalet by Georgette Heyer. But then Heyer is always and forever an exception. The last pirate romance I read just didn't do anything for me. So with those those riders let me go forward.
Set during the Restoration period, 'Bride...' was off a rollickingly start complete with a pirate attack by the dreaded pirate Dragonslayer. Our heroine was predictably feisty and demanding, afraid but not cowered. The dreaded Dragonslayer/ravisher's entry into the cabin was again pretty predictable. Shades of avast there etc. I thought uh oh! pirates again!
Thankfully, all those preconceived ideas were to change. We were given the backstory.
The Betrayed and Misguided Hero:
Lord Pierce DeForte, Duke of Werthington, turned infamous pirate Dragonslayer and hot for revenge against the woman who betrayed him most cruelly. Close friend and comrade to King Charles II, De Forte is described by Rose as commandingly tall and strikingly handsome, even though she thinks him a lout.
[For some reason I did wonder about our hero's name. Apparently in Middle French in the 1680's fort meant the "strong point of a sword blade." An 'e' was added in the 18th century and as forte it came to also mean "the strong point of a person" Or as we would see it a person's strengths. Ok so it may be a long bow but certainly our hero is strong and handles a sword well. After all he does turn to piracy with quite some skill.
(thank you Dictionary.com, "forte," in Online Etymology Dictionary)
...and I don't even want to start on the relevance of Pierce as our hero's given name. You can play with that. But I do like one meaning, that of shining through the darkness 'cause that's what DeForte has to do].
The Misunderstood Heroine:
Lady Rose Woodbine (American heiress) sent to England by her father to marry a wealthy lord. She is totally out of temper with DeForte. Really all she wants to do is to go home to Virginia and be able to marry for love.
Lord Jamison Bryant (Rose's guardian by mischance) who whilst wondering where it all went wrong reminisced that as a young boy he would set fire to small logs and tie them to the tails of helpless cats. He recognized that he had a flaw and as an adult realized that many others did too. Look no further Jamison! Ye Gads! This is no little flaw!
Beth, Jamison's whore (that's what he calls her), who is so desperate to see him pleased she will even help him with any nefarious means at hand to snag the fair Anne whom he worships, and in whom he saw in some twisted way, his salvation. The fair Anne cannot stand him.
Lady Anne Winter, all but affianced to Lord Pierce and the object of Jamison's desire.
Cad and all out Rotter:
Lord Jamison's friend and Lady Anne's half brother Lord Jerome Cherney. Proliferate gambler and totally despicable.
Pierce DeForte and Rose Woodbine plough into each other during a hunt. Sparks fly and the fighting lines are drawn--at least by Rose. Caught in the machinations of unscrupulous cowards, beset by political constraints, these two lead us a merry dance from disdain to the depths of despair and to despised attraction as destiny seeks them. The fire of anger burns bright between them, the tempest of passion takes them in it's grasp. Will it ever turn to love?
Despite my pirate prejudices Bride of the Wind had more depth than I originally thought it would. Mayhem, murder and mystery are gathered in along the way. And I really vacillated about a 3 or 4 star rating.
A NetGalley ARC