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Ok, I am starting this review off with a side note: I started taking notes and writing my thoughts down about 1/2 through the book, around chapter 14-15. The first part of the book I just couldn't get into and it was because of the two main characters. I didn't like the hero. He was too cold hearted, too emotionally distant, and somewhat insensitive to the heroine at times. The heroine wasn't emotionally strong enough for him. He definitely needed a woman with more of a backbone with a less genteel sort of manners. He at times brought to mind what real pirates might have been like, rather than the romantic figures we have created them to be. He just didn't seem to connect with her in the beginning.
The concept of a pirate doomed to be hanged, attracted to a woman and her to him in such a passionate way that they get married the day before his execution, and at the last minute his stay of execution is ordered and he is whisked quietly away to a merchantman ship to slave away his sentence sounds like it would make an entertaining and emotionally passionate story. The heroine, of course, is unaware, thinks he is dead and has mourned him for several years. He shows up after so many years and then (as a reader, I want one of several possible plot variations): 1. They have to relearn how to love each other and build a relationship while dealing with the scars of the past. 2. He has become a cold and scarred man and she needs to show him what love is, that she doesn't care about his scars-physical and/or emotional. 3. That they bicker and fight because they are such opposites and the marriage was such a rush/spur of the moment kind of thing that they have to fall in love and get to know each other all over again. Etc. Something like that. The route this one takes leaves the reader, or at least me because maybe I have this all wrong, thinking that they just don't match. He doesn't seem inclined to try and woo her, he just expects her to drop everything and come sail the seas with him. He doesn't seem to care about her emotional scars from having to mourn his death and to finally trying to move on (he comes back into her life after her engagement is announced). He also doesn't seem to care that much about her sexual desires, in the first (really second) time they come together after all of those years apart, he is sort of brutal and uncaring about her. She on the other hand, seems like she is completely fine with building a life based mainly on the good sex rather than trying to break his tough shell. She isn't really challenging him emotionally and seems to just go with things. This leads me to think that these characters are one dimensional and flat.
The second half of the book did get better, around chapter 16. The characters started to open up to each other and the story really picked up once her brother James catches up to them and they go off to the island where Christopher stashed his Mexican gold. (I am not going to give too much plot spoilers, you will have to read) There was one emotionally tense moment on the island and after that they both stopped being stubborn and distant and finally confessed their love and loyalty to each other. The ending was sweet; the siblings, James and Honoria, reconcile and Christopher's sister Manda and James' navigator, who we got to know since book one, Henderson, get together and have their own happy ending. The epilogue was perfect and a great way to tie the three books together.
The series as a whole was kind of average. I liked book 2, than 1, than 3. This series isn't as good as her Shifter Unbound series, but if you are looking for books with pirates, then I recommend you first read Sabrina Jeffries' book The Pirate Lord, then The Wicked Ways of Alexander Kidd by Paula Quinn, then The Captain of All Pleasures and The Price of Pleasure by Kresley Cole, then read this series. Book 1 and 2 are worth reading. Sorry this review got long.