Merry Wilding grew up dreaming of white knights and unicorns. Never in all her imaginings had pirates ever entered into the picture. Through a series of unfortunate event she finds herself prisoner on a pirate ship, tied up like a Christmas goose, and naked in a pirate's bed. Shortly after boarding a ship that was to sail her to England with her aunt, she'd been kidnapped and spirited away. Now she's about to face the pirate who mere months before let her go without incident. Will she be so lucky again? Perhaps the real question is will she want to escape him? Devon's the kind of man who turns heads wherever he goes and he's rarely ever turned down. Will a handsome young pirate be her undoing or will a beautiful proper English maiden be his?
I just adore pirate romances and when this book found itself on the receiving end of my mail box I had to read it. The book literally called to me. I admit part of the allure of this particular book is that it's on several lists as being one of the best romances ever, and I wanted to find out why. Thankfully for me, it lived up to its reputation.
Merry has spent her life sheltered by her aunt; yet surprisingly, she's smart, resourceful and good under pressure. While she could have spent her captivity wallowing in self pity, she joins the crew and tries to learn all she can and thereby gains the respect of all aboard. She still wishes to escape, but she makes the most of what she has. I admit, the allure of living like a pirate is rather appealing.
Another thing that makes this book stand out is it was written in the 80's. If you take a walk down memory lane, it was a time when romance novels were full of heroines being raped by their male counterparts. I remember one of the first romances I ever read was a Harlequin romance about a flight attendant who was raped by one of the male passengers. He assumed all stewardesses were easy and fair game.To his utter dismay and shock the woman was a virgin, and he spent the rest of the book wooing her and making her fall in love with him. I remember being appalled at the time. Even my favorite romance author, Lisa Kleypas, went down that awful path with one of her first books, Where Passion Leads, now out of print. She had the hero raping the heroine. Another book I had recommended to me to read in a secret Santa book exchange, Royal Seduction by Jennifer Blake, came from this same time period and low and behold another shocking rape turned romance. As you might guess, I didn't read any more of the books that individual recommended. What caused these authors tor write such books and their readers to read them? I'll never know nor understand. One person suggested that it was a time when woman were starting to flood the work force and while enjoying independence, they were also experiencing a lot of the stress that came with it. Therefore, someone else taking over the reigns and not being held accountable might have sounded appealing, they just might not have thought it all the way through. Regardless, this book stands out because it went against the popular trend of the time and proved a romance could be romantic without going there.What caused this trend to end? Who knows, but I thank the book gods and goddesses that it did.
Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. It was fun with a dash of whimsy. There was plenty of drama, fun situations, misunderstandings, and sexual tension between the two main characters. I liked that Merry didn't give up her values and ideals for Devon, and that the secondary characters were as equally charming and appealing as the primary ones. My favorite one being, Cat. I wonder if any of them appear in any of Laura London's later books. I'm going to have to do some searching.