Grade: A

Sensuality Rating: Hot

Pub Date: April 1998


What woman wouldn’t want to be rescued from a fate worse than death? What woman wouldn’t be grateful for the chance at a new start, even if it does mean marriage to a pirate? After all, isn’t marriage preferable to a life of servitude in New South Wales? Sabrina Jeffries’ wonderful book, The Pirate Lord, seeks to answer these questions.

Pirate Gideon Horn sees no fault with his logic. He wants wives for his crew and the convict ship bound for Australia is packed with women – convict women. No doubt they’ll be grateful for his assistance. What he doesn’t count on is Lady Sara Willis, the daughter of a reformer who has appointed herself champion of the convict women. She challenges him from the first moment they meet. It also never crosses his mind that these women might not want pirates for husbands.

Sarah is not prepared for her reaction to the dark, swarthy pirate who makes his contempt for the English perfectly clear. But despite her attraction for the dangerous captain, she convinces him to at least allow the women to choose which pirate they will marry. It’s not much, but at least the women will not have gone entirely from one prison to another, and it will allow Sara to choose Petey, the man her brother sent to protect her, for her own husband, thus saving her from Gideon’s clutches.

On the tropical island the pirates have claimed as their own utopia, both Gideon and Sara are aware of their growing attraction to each other. Sara will not give herself willingly to a man who despises who and what she is, and Gideon will not allow himself to see her as anything other than English nobility. The chances of Sara and Gideon building a life together are all but destroyed when Sara is rescued by her brother Jordan, the Earl of Blackmore. Just when it seems that she and Gideon will never be together again, fate intervenes with a revelation that could save their love, but destroy everything Gideon has ever known about himself.

The Pirate Lord is the story of two headstrong people learning to overcome their prejudice and pride to discover just how alike they truly are. Both Gideon and Sara have much to learn about themselves and human nature. The air between them burns with sexual tension, and it is impossible for them to fight their attraction for long. While Jeffries keeps the love scenes somewhat short, she more than makes up for it with intensity.

I loved Sara’s character even though she could be a bit pushy. I loved the war she waged with her beliefs and convictions as she fell in love with Gideon. As she comes to terms with the fact that a woman can be both a wife and reformer, she develops into a richer character. Although Gideon and his plan go against everything she believes in, she believes in him, and that devotion won in the end.

I also loved Gideon’s transformation. I began the book thinking, as Sara did, that he was impossible and arrogant. But he grew on me during the course of the book, and by the time he finally realized how idiotic he had been, my heart was breaking for him. Even though I knew the book would have a happy ending, I was on pins and needles wondering how Jeffries was going to get these seemingly doomed lovers back together again. The Pirate Lord is the first book I have read by Jeffries, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a few times that I wanted to Sara to kick Gideon rather than kiss him, but his journey of self discovery is so poignant that it was rather difficult not to fall in love with him by the end of the book. Sara’s moral dilemma provided the perfect foil for Gideon’s self-discovery. Jeffries has a wonderful way of making both characters blossom right before your eyes. I look forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.

— Kate Smith