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Friday, July 15, 2016

Book Review: A Buccaneer at Heart by Stephanie Laurens

A Buccaneer at Heart by Stephanie Laurens
Book 2 in The Adventurers Quartet
E-Book, 512 pages
April 26, 2016

Heat Rating:

Genre: Historical Romance, Adventure, Regency

Source: Personal Collection
After a decade of captaining diplomatic voyages for Frobisher Shipping, alongside covert missions for the Crown, Captain Robert Frobisher decides that establishing a home—with hearth and wife—should be his next challenge. But an unexpected mission intervenes. Although Robert sees himself as a conservative businessman-cum-diplomat and this mission is far from his usual sphere, it nevertheless falls within the scope of his abilities. As matters are urgent, he agrees to depart for West Africa forthwith.

To Robert, his way forward is clear: Get to Freetown, determine the location of a slavers' camp, return to London with the information, and then proceed to find himself a wife.

Already in Freetown, Miss Aileen Hopkins is set on finding her younger brother Will, a naval lieutenant who has mysteriously disappeared. Find Will and rescue him; determined and resolute, Aileen is not about to allow anyone to turn her from her path.

But all too quickly, that path grows dark and dangerous. And then Robert Frobisher appears and attempts to divert her in more ways than one.

Accustomed to managing diplomats and bureaucrats, Robert discovers that manipulating a twenty-seven-year-old spinster lies outside his area of expertise. Prodded by an insistent need to protect Aileen, he realizes that joining forces with her is the surest path to meeting all the challenges before him—completing his mission, keeping her safe, and securing the woman he wants as his wife.

But the villains strike and disrupt their careful plans—leaving Robert and Aileen no choice but to attempt a last throw of the dice to complete his mission and further her brother's rescue.

Compelled to protect those weaker than themselves and bring retribution to a heartless enemy, they plunge into the jungle with only their talents and inner strengths to aid them—and with the courage of their hearts as their guide.

The first voyage is one of exploration, the second one of discovery. The third journey brings maturity, while the fourth is a voyage of second chances. Continue the journey and follow the adventure, the mystery, and the romances to the cataclysmic end.
**This review was previously featured at Romantic Historical Reviews**

A Buccaneer at Heart picks up immediately after the ending of The Lady’s Command, so I would highly recommend that you read these books in series order. Edwina and Declan Frobisher have returned from the first leg of the reconnaissance mission to Freetown, Africa to learn why people were going missing there. Having returned with some eye-opening information, it is time for the next part of the mission to begin, and who better for that mission than another of the Frobisher brothers – this time Robert. Robert sets sail to take the mission deeper into the heart of the slums and the jungle to find out where these people are being taken and why. He doesn’t expect to encounter a beautiful but driven young woman, Aileen Hopkins, already in Freetown searching for her missing brother who is at times both a help and a hindrance, but at all times a lovely woman he starts to fall for. What will they uncover in Africa, both about themselves and the mission?

One thing that sets this book apart from the first in the series is how the romance plays out. In The Lady’s Command you have a married couple right from the first few pages of the book and that plays out distinctly different than Robert setting out on this mission as a single man with some thoughts towards seeking a bride upon his return home. As a matter of fact, Robert and Aileen exist on separate storylines through the first third or so of the book – they are relatively aware of the other’s presence, but do not encounter one another. Even once they meet, the main thrust of the story is the mission – for Aileen it is to find her brother who went missing in Freetown and from Robert it is to locate the camp of the kidnappers. This at times sets them at odds with each other as their missions sometimes do not support the other. I did find their early moments to be sort of funny and their relationship flourished at an expedited pace because of the nature of close proximity during their shared mission. By the end of the novel there are a couple of sexy scenes between the two, but you will wait quite a while as the novel is centered more on the adventure than the romance for most of the book.

I liked the characters of Aileen and Robert in this book, more than I liked Edwina from the first book for sure. Aileen is a woman who can take care of herself, she even comes packing her own weapons AND knows how to use them! While she does have a damsel-in-distress moment and needs rescuing, she does return the favor with Robert by the end of the book. We also return to a few characters that we met in the first book, Declan and Edwina book end the novel, but also some of the locals in Freetown make a second appearance here and are quite enjoyable.

Action there is aplenty here, even beyond the bedroom! There is spying, kidnapping, escaping, shootouts, sword-fights, encounters by boat, subterfuge, and more. I think that the adventure was well plotted and feels like a natural progression of the greater story arc across what will be a four book series. While I think that the necessity for the brothers to each complete one part of the mission and then return all the way back to London to report seems a little drawn out to be ultimately believable, I can suspend that disbelief and enjoy the sense of adventure here as it does draw you in. I would weigh the adventure aspect more heavily than the romantic elements in this novel.

There was only one set of awkward scenes, and while I understand why they were written the way they were, it came off very difficult to read. Sprinkled throughout the novel there are a couple scenes where the kidnappers are the central focus and they are discussing their nefarious ways. Obviously the author didn’t want the reader to know who they were yet, as some of them will be revealed later in this book and others likely in the forthcoming titles. So instead of unique names, we have generalities that read very much like, “the first man said to the third man”. This repeated usage began to drive me crazy and I couldn’t wait for those scenes to end because I was even more confused than when I began that section. I’m not sure how to improve this section, but it was just awkward reading.

Overall, I found this second book more enjoyable than the first (which is very unusual for me) and I can’t wait to dive into the third book in this series which follows the youngest and more spontaneous brother, Caleb.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Stephanie Laurens:

Stephanie Laurens has written many novels, those in the Adventurers Quartet include:

The Lady’s Command (Book 1)
[My Review]

The Daredevil Snared (Book 3)
[My Review]

Lord of the Privateers (Book 4)
Coming December 2016

Find Stephanie Laurens: Website | Newsletter


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