The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk
I can’t be the only one who is tired of the romanticized pirates, the Fabios of the romance novel world. Don’t get me wrong, there are some absolutely wonderful pirate romances out there, and luckily, The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk is one of them. Instead of romanticizing the freedom of the wind and waves, along with the romance, the author gives us the fight for freedom, and shows us the all-too-common consequences of that fight.
Amelia Dauphin, Amy, has grown up on Ile Sainte Anne, an island free of any empire, where people are equal and grow up outside conventional laws. Of course, they are also mainly pirates and pirate relations. Amy is the daughter, the only child, of Captain Dauphin, the pirate king, protector of the island and the Articles of Agreement. Like her father, and many of her friends, Amy is willing to give her life to protect their freedom and the Articles, but Captain Zachary Hazard, son of the pirate king’s second in command, has a different idea of freedom and what is worth risking your life for. And the Articles are definitely not one of those things.
Although Amy is dedicated to Ile Sainte Anne, and doing her duty (which apparently includes an engagement to French privateer Luc), Zach has always looked to himself as number one. And despite his best efforts to move on, he has loved Amy for years. So when, four years later, Zach discovers the burned remains of Ile Sainte Anne, and hears of Amy’s capture, he sails to London to try to help her escape despite his constant protestations that he doesn’t care. (And I do mean constant.) Together, they have to find their way back to the sea without being caught.
On top of all that, there is some sort of mysterious cabal, along with all the regular dangers, and Amy’s fiance Luc is somehow involved in all that. Which is utterly fascinating. How does a French privateer get involved in a British scheme? Is the cabal British after all? Hopefully the series will go into that more in future books, because I find myself insanely curious.
The characters of Amy and Zach were well done – both have their flaws, certainly, but they work well individually as well as together. Amy is more than a bit naive, having grown up on Ile Sainte Anne, but well capable of caring for herself as well as those around her. And she does care a lot. She sees her duty as first to others, in exchange for the privileges she has known. Zach, on the other hand, is much more a selfish character. Being selfish isn’t always a bad thing – it has kept Zach and his crew alive and well for years, and (mostly) out of the hands of the British that have hunted him. However, it does put him very much at odds with Amy, as he not only doesn’t agree with her outlook on life, but doesn’t even seem to understand it. This one, intrinsic difference leads to a very interesting character conflict that moves the story along during down-times in the action.
I really enjoyed this book, but do have to preface it with one caveat – it was very slow going in the beginning. We get characterization and a lot of background, but not much relationship movement. Plus, we have Zach constantly saying he’s going to leave, but never actually leaving – that was pretty annoying. Luckily, once we get a bit further into it, we find the plot and the romance, and everything picks up the pace quite a bit. The action scenes were particularly well done (apparently the author has written Stargate franchise novels previously), something that can be difficult to find in the romance world.
Overall, this novel is an interesting take on historical pirate romances. It’s about more than just sailing the seven seas, it’s about what exactly freedom means to these characters, and what they are willing to do for it and for each other. It’s definitely interesting, and there will be a sequel. And I will definitely be reading it. I just hope that it ties into this first one like I suspect – Luc’s story is bound to be interesting.