The Care and Feeding of Pirates
Jennifer Ashley’s The Care and Feeding of Pirates is part funny, part exasperating, part exciting, and a little frustrating. Oh, I enjoyed it and found it a good read, but a way too clueless heroine and a saggy middle kept it from being an excellent one.
Honoria Ardmore is the sister of James Ardmore from The Pirate Hunter. When she was eighteen and living in Savannah, James brought in his friends, Grayson Finley (The Pirate Next Door) and Christopher Raine. Honoria and Christopher were attracted to each other like iron to a magnet, and could not keep their hands and lips off each other. Christopher became a pirate and made quite a mark until he was captured and condemned to death. Honoria went to visit him in his cell. They made love and then, as the last wish of a condemned man, they were married. She left, thinking never to see him again.
Honoria is now in England with James and his wife, and is engaged to a pleasant nonentity. One evening at the theater, she sees a man who looks just like Christopher and thinks her eyes are playing tricks on her. But it is Christopher, back to claim his wife. It seems as though his death sentence was commuted to banishment on a ship bound for China. He suffered torture there, but has never forgotten Honoria and still burns for her. As for Honoria, she still feels a strong desire for Christopher (and how!), but she claims she doesn’t love him. Well, Christopher is outfitting a ship to sail in search of some gold he pillaged during his pirate days. Maybe a nice long voyage in each other’s company will help Honoria sort out her feelings. And does her brother James still hunt pirates? Read on.
The best thing in The Care and Feeding of Pirates is the dialogue. It’s just enough over the top to be funny without being purple prose-ish. I enjoyed it so much so that I kept marking pages that had some particularly good bits on them. Here’s Christopher when he has had enough of Honoria’s dithering about whether he loves her:
“Damn you Honoria, this is why women drive men insane. You accuse us of avoiding your questions and then never believe us when we do answer…If you like heroes who yearn for their lady loves, you are going to love Christopher. He is the most single-minded character I have met in a long time. He loves Honoria and lets nothing and no one stand in his way to get her back – not even her. There were times I wondered why, since my reaction to Honoria was a mixture of admiration and exasperation.
“I stayed alive to find you again. So I could look at you and taste you and feel you taking me into you. I stayed alive because of you. That is how I know I love you. So for God’s sake, stop asking questions and let me have my husbandly way with you.”
At times, I liked Honoria very much, since she is brave and not a silly miss. But when it comes to her relationship with Christopher, she can’t see what is right before her eyes. Honoria dithers and worries and frets over whether or not Christopher loves her. I wanted to shake her – it’s obvious to almost anyone but her that he adores her!
The book is a bit slow to get started, but picks up speed and ends with an exciting treasure hunt. The love scenes are hot and sensuous, it is clear that this is one pair with plenty of sexual chemistry who just need to learn to talk and listen to each other.
The Care and Feeding of Pirates is not a perfect book, but I loved the funny bits of dialogue and I loved Christopher. This is not a book for serious historical romance lovers, but if you like historical romances on the light side, you’ll enjoy this one.