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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

ARC Review: Her Wicked Captain by Sandra Jones

I have heard many great things about Sandra Jones from many people, including my own mother and grandmother. From what I understand, she is right up there with Nora Roberts, which is impressive! I have no doubt that this is true, especially after having the privilege of reading Her Wicked Captain. This novel was very well written, and there was not one emotion unexperienced by myself during the reading process. The story itself was unique to me, seeing as I haven’t had much experience with pirates until now. Furthermore, I truly loved the characters, which is of upmost importance.

Philadelphia (Del) Samuels is a seer thanks to inheriting her late mother Eleanor’s gift of insight and intuition. She is tough as nails, smart,fiery, and beautiful; so many great characteristics. She is currently an orphan living with her Aunt Ida and Uncle Reuben, living in a life of squalor, with no future to look forward too. However, she has a dream of teaching and is using her sharp wit to find a way out of the hell she has been raised in. When Captain Rory Campbell finds her in Posey Hollow, Arkansas, Del believes she may be able to act as a total stranger to keep her identity secret. Little does she know that despite his now adult good looks, charm, and mystery, he also has a plan that now includes Del. With her mother Eleanor gone, Rory sees an opportunity to use Del in his plan to take down his boss Quintus Moreaux (her stepfather).

Rory is the definition of a sexy pirate by my standards, and he is also a true bad boy. He is manipulative, secretive, sarcastic, and uses even sex as a weapon. With that said, he is also gentle, kind, sexy, and troubled (while also being against abuse and slavery which gives him more points, yes?). Of course, he has reason to be mistrusting and ruthless….he experienced unfathomable horrors as a child at the hands of Moreaux himself. So, I completely understand his need for revenge and his need to protect others from enduring the same tragedy, like the small boy Asa.

The pain Rory experiences is raw, and unfortunately common in both the real and fictional world. So, despite the fact that this was the only part of the book I found predictable (the level to which Rory was abused), I couldn’t help but appreciate its use in the book. Abuse in any form is disturbing, and to make a reader feel anger, hatred, and disgust for a main character is a well-achieved goal for the writer. Sandra did this with flying colors. I wanted to experience the death of Moreaux right along with Rory, and I felt empathy and sadness for his PTSD-related nightmares, as well as the constant fear he lived in for those he cared about.

Then, we add in the extra characters that help Rory and Del achieve the necessary defeat of Moreax, like Kit and Bartholomew Wainwright; I loved these two! The old man, who was to be the one to take down Moreaux via the poker game, thereby thieving his life out from underneath him…was just hilarious. He reminded me of my grandfather: blunt, cranky, hard-working, but honest and caring. Kit, the nephew to Bartholomew, was just sweet, funny, and charming. These two really played their roles well in the book, and I enjoyed them.

There were a few other characters like Trap and his wife Molly, along with Zeb who are part of Rory’s crew. These characters were used as needed and I enjoyed there presence, but there wasn’t enough time with them in the story to form a connection. Jeremiah, the slave Del freed, was a close friend and confidante to her. He was very memorable, and I think very important to the story. Not only did Jeremiah automatically give us an indication as to just how compassionate and good Del is as a person, but he helped her to remember just how good Rory could be. Plus, he helped her believe in herself, and helped her think clearly when necessary during his presence. To me, he is exactly what a best friend should be, and I am glad he made it through the story.

Ultimately, there are many great things about this book. Sandra engages the reader with a range of emotions from hate to love and jealousy. Plus, there is a very believable story line regarding how painstakingly troubled one’s life can be during times of slavery and economic decline, especially for those living the life of a gambler or pirate. I thought her use of techniques for identifying tells was intriguing, especially since I have heard of such uses for women during those times already. Not to mention, the unbelievable chemistry between Rory and Del. The two of them worked well together. They both had wonderful instincts, and trusted in one another when most would turn their back on the proposed lies. Moreaux’s end was by far satisfying, and I was pleasantly surprised at who took his life. This was definitely a fabulous read, and I am looking forward to the next!

**ARC provided by Publisher**

Purchase: | Amazon | B&N |


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