Leisure, Mar 2004, 5.99, 339 pp.
In 1775 Charles Town, South Carolina, while working at a tavern Jewel Sanderson wonders how her life could have fallen apart to the point that she considers marrying Latimer Payne who she detests. Nothing nasty has occurred, but without a word from her swashbuckling father for five years, Jewel has no future. Ironically, she still holds the treasure map that her father gave her the last time she saw him.
Her dad's protégé Nolan Kenton arrives to pick up the map that Jewel holds. Jewel has loved him ever since she was a little girl, but he always treated her like a much younger sister. He admits to himself that she has blossomed into a beauty. Nolan has retired from piracy, but as a colonialist privateer the work is identically dangerous. He leaves with the map, but she sneaks onto his ship. Once he discovers his stowaway, he knows it is too late to turn back. As they become reacquainted as adults they fall in love. However, he keeps one secret about her father that if Jewel learns it their relationship will be dead in the water.
Though the secret (I refuse to reveal it even under the threat of walking the plank) and pirate romances have been often used (see Ms. Howe's THE PIRATE AND THE PURITAN), the story line is ocean fresh due to the graphic sea battles and the deadly weather. The lead couple is a delightful pairing of two courageous individuals while the support cast makes the voyage seem so real readers will feel the dampness. Fans of pirate, whoops change that to privateer, romances will see how this is a fine tale.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner