Star Keeper is set during the Revolutionary War, a setting I love but rarely see. That alone sparked my interest. But it also features a strong conflict, lots of action, and noble characters – all of which nearly made the book an A read. While the heroine’s behavior at the end took the book out of the Desert Isle Keeper range, it’s still a solidly enjoyable read.
John Patrick Sutherland is known to British forces only as “Star Rider,” and he has been a thorn in their side for months. Riding the seas with his loyal crew, he raids British ships and takes their cargo for the Rebel cause. But one night his luck runs out, and his ship goes down in the Delaware River. The severely wounded John Patrick instructs his first mate to take him to his half-brother, Noel Marsh, in Philadelphia. Though Noel is a loyalist, he is also a doctor, and John Patrick sees this as his only choice.
Noel takes care of him, and takes him to the home of the Maude Carey to convalesce. The Careys are loyalists who run a hospital in their home. While the home is Maude’s, it is really her niece Annette that does all the work for the hospital. Annette and her father Hugh were run off their farm by a Rebel mob, and Hugh was tarred and feathered. Since that night, Hugh has refused to speak, and Annette has taken refuge in caring for wounded British soldiers. When Noel brings John Patrick to the Carey’s home, he tells them that John Patrick is a Lieutenant in the British army who was ambushed by Rebels. He tells Annette that the patient needs lots of rest, and hopes that she will simply leave him alone. Neither Noel nor John Patrick feel right about deceiving the Careys, but the British are combing Philadelphia for the Star Rider, so they feel they have no choice.
John Patrick does try to avoid Annette at first, but he finds her attractive and interesting, and he can’t resist talking to her. While he doesn’t agree with her political leanings, during his talks with her he comes to understand her viewpoint. But as his feelings for her deepen, he begins to despise himself for deceiving her. When the time comes for him to leave, he intends to slip out quietly, but unfortunately, his identity is discovered at the last minute, and he is forced to take Annette and her father captive.
Annette, who was beginning to love her “British lieutenant” is shattered by his duplicity, and it seems like John Patrick can never regain her trust. Even if he could, there is still the matter of their conflicting loyalties. As the rest of the action-packed novel plays out, Annette and John Patrick must balance their loyalty to their respective causes with their growing love for each other.
Star Keeper is an exciting, fast-paced book, and there is much more to the plot than the little I’ve revealed here. All the action really makes the pages fly. In addition to the main romance between John Patrick and Annette, there is a wonderful secondary one between Noel and Katy, his childhood love who married another. Noel’s story is fascinating in its own right, and I couldn’t help wishing he and Katy had a full-length novel all their own.
John Patrick is a very dashing hero, with a difficult past that drives him at times. Potter handles his inner conflict expertly. He is devoted to the Patriot cause and to his crew, yet he also loves Annette, and he understands why she feels loyal to the British. For her part, Annette is also a noble, engaging character, although it takes her much longer to see value in the Patriot cause. And this is where I felt the story suffered a little. Annette was blindly loyal to the British, refusing to believe that anyone could have a legitimate complaint against them, and then suddenly she just changed her mind. A little more soul searching on her part would have made her change of heart more convincing.
Star Keeper is third in a series, but you don’t need to have read the other two books to enjoy this one. I haven’t read either one, and I didn’t feel that this story was ever hard to follow. If you enjoy the Revolutionary War setting as much as I do, you will probably appreciate this story of action and adventure, loyalty and love.