This is a 3-star book only because I wasn't thrilled with the plot.
Capt. Asher Flint, native born Englishman who had been brought up in America has earned the reputation of a man who gets things done. This has come to the attention of the king who resurrects a defunct title and bestows it on Capt. Flint. Now he is the Earl of Ardmay with lands and everything. Except, the King has promised him money for upkeep of those lands only if Flint can capture the dread Pirate Le Chat who has been preying on English vessels.
During a party, Violet Redmond finds out that Flint thinks her brother Jonathan is really Le Chat. Coming to the conclusion that it isn't Jonathan who is Le Chat but rather her brother Lyon, who disappeared over a year ago and who greatly resembles Jonathan, is Le Chat, Violet manages to stow away on Flint's ship as he goes off to find Le Chat.
Romance on the high seas ensues.
My main problem with the book is that I was frankly bored with the premise of Violet and Flint going port to port to track down the missing heir. Like the first book in the series, The Perils of Pleasure, this is essentially a bread crumb mystery with the two of finding a clue that leads them to the next place that leads them to a new clue and so on. It is a device meant to keep the two in each other's company absent any other reason. Sometimes I like it and it works as in the case of the The Perils of Pleasure. However I didn't think it was as effective here.
Maybe because I had a hard time reconciling the fact that Violet was able to go trippingly off on a sea voyage with no one the wiser, all unchaperoned and unconcerned. She seemed completely oblivious of any danger to her person at all times. It really had the effect of making the time and place incongruous with the person. Violet simply seemed a 21st century woman with all accompanying sensibilities packaged in a Regency maiden's body.
But that aside, I have to say, JAL can write like nobody's business. She simply has a gift of creating the most intimate, intensely romantic moments between her characters. Conversations, thoughts, interactions are all so wonderfully written that you are truly involved with the H/h falling in love. And these moments are not necessarily overtly action oriented. The two characters don't have to be kissing or making love or anything. But you really get the sense they are connecting on a visceral level. I noticed this also in Like No Other Lover with Miles and Cynthia, you simply are a part of their falling in love experience. And that is the mark of a truly good romance writer. She really knows how to convey how intense, troublesome, conflicting, exhilarating all the feelings are outside of whatever else is happening.
I also think she crafted Violet and Flint's central conflict very well. They were both after the same thing, Le Chat, but for very different reasons. Violet was determined to save her brother at all costs even if it means betraying Flint. Flint was determined to capture Le Chat at all costs, even if it meant he would hurt Violet. They both acknowledged this openly and have a sort of.."You do what you have to do" conversation.
And the dialogue is pretty darned nice as well.
I do recommend this book because I think the writing is superb. Take the plot with a grain of salt.