Angelina is unimpressed with the shortsighted goal of her peers—to get married. She says, “Let’s be clear, I like fashionable clothes and shoes as much as the next girl. But really, does the whole lot of them care for nothing more than making a good match and bringing more children into this world? One might think that a woman is good for nothing more than sitting around and looking pretty.” Angelina is an interesting combination of sophisticated and scrappy. She can charm with wit and grace as she navigates the upper echelons of society or defend herself against thieves and thugs with a dagger. She meets her match in Jude Deveraux, a captain of French privateers. They first meet when he boards her uncle’s ship with plans to pillage. He appreciates her boldness and she, his occasional tenderness, not to mention his rugged good looks. It is a romance novel after all. They fall in love, and some rather steamy scenes ensue. The novel twists and turns and includes persistent bad guys with connections to pagan rituals and human sacrifice. While Angelina is an intelligent, tough-minded lead, she ultimately seems to follow in the footsteps of those very peers she disrespects. Perhaps her saving grace is that her decisions are made mindfully. Stylistically, the novel is somewhat inconsistent. In her narration, Angelina can be quite modern, while the dialogue is Victorian-esque. Also, character development could be tightened; some seem to evolve too quickly. For example, Angelina’s best friend Sarah recovers from a traumatic event with one quick talk, never to speak of it again. Still, these hiccups do not take much away from a fun, engaging fantasy.
Save for a rainy day and escape into this suspenseful, bodice-ripping romp.