Sunday, July 17, 2016

Review: The Back Morass - Barbara Devlin

Forever glancing over his shoulder, Jean Marc Cavalier is a ruthless pirate with the blood of countless souls on his hands and a price on his head, but he is a lonely man. In exchange for a chance at redemption, pardons for his crew, and a peaceful life, he accepts a pact that could result in liberty or death, if only he can survive the terms, but at least he will be free. When he rescues a young woman in distress, and vows to return her to her family, he is torn between his natural instincts born of violence and the honorable bargain he struck. What will Jean Marc choose? 

En route to Jamaica to join her father, after her guardian dies, Lady Madalene Davies departs Boston in anticipation of a new life in a foreign land. When her ship is attacked and set afire, she is left for dead, until an unlikely savior comes to her aid. Brash and bawdy, her flawed hero defies the conventional ideal, as he is no knight in shining armor and seems forever intent on shocking her, yet she cannot resist the lure he presents. What happens when danger lurks in unexpected places, faith is broken, and Madalene must rely on Jean Marc to stay alive?

The changing times have left dreaded pirate Jean Marc Cavalier with no recourse. It's either sign his Majesty's agreement and give up pirating forever or see himself at the end of the hangman's noose. Faced with those choices, he finds himself signing away the only life he's known and beginning his year of probation where he must prove that he will not fall back to his pirating ways. Feeling despondent and bored with his new life as a law abiding sailor, Jean Marc feels trapped. That is, until his ship comes across a vessel in distress. Victims of pirates, the sole survivor of the attack was a young Boston Heiress on her way to Port Royale to see the father she has very little recollection of. Jean Marc has never corrupted a proper lady before. To prove the he is still the fearsome pirate and be rid of some boredom, he may just get a taste of his prim miss. The next 3 weeks are going to be very interesting indeed. But who will be the winner in the test of wills? The lusty pirate or the headstrong society miss?

I found myself with a dilemma while reading The Black Morass. I both hurt for Jean Marc and I wanted to hurt him for having such a one track mind. I am huge fan of Ms. Devlin's work, however, I will admit that it took me a bit to really click with these characters. I am used to her characters' almost instant chemistry that explodes off the page. Jean Marc and Lady Madalene had a more subtle chemistry that built as the characters got to know each other. This is not to say that there weren't any sparks. Jean Marc expected a prim and proper miss, easily seduced in to his bed. Instead he was met with a quick-witted adversary who matched him in every way and gained his respect and affection.

Toss in a bit of intrigue, another roguish friend who, if the epilogue is anything to go by, we will be seeing a lot more of in the future, and you have a recipe for success. This new series by Devlin is a bit different from what I've become accustomed to but I look forward to seeing where she will be taking us next.  

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