Friday, August 2, 2013

Review: Seduced by a Pirate by Eloisa James (e-novella)

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Griffin Barry was 17 when he was married to 20-year-old Phoebe. He was also 17 when he abandoned his wife after a disastrous wedding night for a life of piracy.

At 31, and captain of his own ship, Griffin had never planned on looking back -- much less going back home, but, when his cousin (and fellow pirate) decided to return to his wife, Griffin decided it was time for him to go home as well. (A leg injury tipped the scales.)

Griffin views his homecoming with mixed emotions: he left England as a boy and now he has returned as a scarred, tattooed and limping man. Uncertainty follows Griffin: will his wife welcome him home? Will his father,the viscount, accept the man he has become?

Phoebe was 20 when she married Griffin, and 20 when she learned the most difficult and painful lesson of what to do when one is abandoned by one's spouse after one day of marriage. She heeded the lesson and then forged her own path, refusing to play Penelope to Griffin's Odysseus. Instead, she thrived, managed a happy household and had children.

Griffin arrives at Arbor House surprised to see that he has children. Phoebe is surprised to see how much Griffin had changed -- and both of them are surprised at the intensity of the desire they both feel for each other.

This is an e-novella packed with intense emotions: at 17, Griffin wasn't certain how he fit in the world -- his father was a staunch royalist: proud of their lineage but drowning in debts that threatened their entire estate. At 17, Griffin was the bargaining chip, sold off to a merchant's daughter in exchange for her dowry. At 31, Griffin is back and still isn't certain about how he would fit in the world. This time, literally: he is bigger, darker, and rougher than he was back then. Will his wife accept him? Will his father accept him? Will society accept him?

Eloisa James captures his uncertainty and his insecurity very well -- but she also manages to present Griffin as a proud man, a man who accomplished so much on his own in 14 years. A man who wants a second chance with his wife.

As with The Ugly Duchess, which this e-novella is connected to, Eloisa James explores the idea of second chances -- lovers who started out at the wrong place and at the wrong time finally being given the opportunity to make it right. The difference between Griffin and James is that James already loved Theo before he left. Griffin had no chance to discover what was/would have been between him and Poppy/Phoebe.

If there is a word that encapsulates the sad kind of funny in Griffin's mistake about Poppy/Phoebe's name, then that's the word I would use here. It was a simple mistake. An honest mistake. Made by a boy. He lived 14 years apart from his wife whom he thought was named Poppy -- and he dedicated everything (the name of his ship, the tattoo on his face) to that mistake.

One would think Phoebe had the upper hand: a word from her seven years before and she could have declared Griffin dead and she would be free to live her own life. A word from her now and she could send Griffin away for ever. But Phoebe is also filled with the same uncertainty and insecurity -- she's a merchant's daughter married to the son of a viscount. Even at 20, she knew she would never fit in Griffin's world. Seeing Griffin right now -- Griffin who has traveled the world and done so much, she wonders if she could ever match up to his experiences and worldliness.

It takes a brave woman to step forward and accept the challenge of opening oneself up to a virtual stranger. And Phoebe is so brave and so amazing. I love her. ^_^

"Why would you want me?" she whispered. "You ... the children ... I'm not a lady, Griffin. I'd make a wretched viscountess."

He couldn't help grinning. "Do you imagine I'll be a suitable viscount? We can cause our scandals together."
- loc 990

The one part that really got me teary-eyed was Griffin's reunion with his father. At 17, he saw his father as a tyrant -- a man he could not relate to. But, at 31, he sees his father differently -- had he stayed away at sea, he would never have had the chance to make things right between him and his father. (Read Chapter 11 - 12).

Seduced by a Pirate is the accompanying e-novella to Eloisa James's most wonderful The Ugly Duchess. Eloisa James won the 2013 Rita for Romance Novella with Seduced by a Pirate. This was followed by Eloisa James's serialized novel, With This Kiss, which tells the story of the next generation of Ryburns and Barrys. (I bought it last night, devoured it in one reading and loved it. Review to follow. ^_^)

To find out more about Eloisa James and her books, click below:



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