Author: AE Kendall
Publisher: Hermione Press
Pages/Word Count: 466 Pages
At a Glance: This is a fun, guilty pleasure, love and lust and danger on the high seas adventure.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: A gorgeous pirate, a handsome nobleman. A clash at sea.
Galen is the seasoned twenty-six year old Quartermaster of the Fair Wind and a fierce rover. Tall, dark and handsome with piercing green eyes. He cuts an imposing figure to any man foolish enough to get in his way. For the past seven years, he and the men of the Brethren of the Coast have scoured the Caribbean seas seeking the lone vessel traversing unawares, ready to steal her cargo. But he harbors a dark secret. He has spent the last three years haunted by the memory of a Spaniard named Obrigio who brutally assaulted him in Puerto Principe after a near disastrous raid. While setting his sights on Obrigio rumored to have since taken to the seas, Galen unleashes his fury on the unsuspecting merchant ships unfortunate enough to cross paths with him and his Brethren privateers.
Twenty year old Michel Laurent du Montbron is the third son of the Marquis d’ Sevigne-Chambord and harbors a secret. For as long as he can remember, he has been attracted to men. When his older brother is unexpectedly banished to Jamaica by their tyrannical father and made to oversee the building of a plantation, Michel decides to follow on his heels knowing the future holds nothing for him in France, though he is waylaid by illness. When he finally succeeds in leaving, just two days shy of Port Royal, his ship is besieged by buccaneers. Unwilling to stand idle while his ship is overrun, he takes up arms and encounters the stunningly handsome Fair Wind’s Quartermaster. He is ultimately disarmed and taken captive by the imposing figure and thrown into the hold. Michel must learn to fend for himself on a ship full of cutthroats and murderers while coming to grips with his predicament and his growing feelings for the man who took him captive.
While Michel is immediately smitten, Galen is slower to admit his true feelings, that he is equally enamored by his young prisoner. Together they embark on a saga of romance and self-discovery amidst the hardship and unforgiving conditions on a roving ship. Will their growing love survive and prevail on the high seas, or will the Quartermaster be proven correct that, despite their best efforts to stay together, rovers like Galen and men of Michel’s ilk just don’t mix.
Review: Oh my lord. ::fans self:: I’ve just stepped into the wayback machine and returned to the days of my first swashbuckling bodice rippers—Valerie Sherwood’s Love series. With titles like Bold Breathless Love and Wild Willful Love and my wild and willful and bold hormones leaving me breathless for her pirate, van Ryker, I became a lifelong sucker for the bad boys who once sailed the seas, looting, pillaging and plundering the hearts of the ones who eventually became their willing captives.
AE Kendall’s The Quartermaster and the Marquis’ Son is very much the M/M version of a good old fashioned bodice ripper, and I ate it up rather gleefully. As the story opens, the author lays the foundation of plausibility for Michel Laurent du Montbron’s story, as we see the proverbial writing on the wall. The Marquis d’ Sevigne-Chambord has an heir who has been molded in his image to take over the reins of the family legacy. Michel and his older brother Alain, the boy’s only ally, are nothing but the disappointing spares who will never live up to their sire’s impossible standards. When the Marquis’ final and inflexible demand ends in an unseemly brawl between the brothers, it sets the foundation for the adventure this novel becomes and gives us the reason for Michel to set out on his own. Alain is exiled to Jamaica and Michel is determined to follow him, though his departure is delayed by a full two years when he comes down with the ague, which waylays his plans of escape.
But then, this is where the story truly begins.
As you might expect—since this is a seafaring romance, after all—Michel’s ship is attacked by pirates. And one pirate in particular, Galen, captures Michel because…reasons. Reasons such as Michel happens to be beautiful and fair, and Galen happens to be wildly attracted to him. Although, Galen’s nowhere near ready or willing to admit it to himself, let alone to Michel. Nor is Michel at all comfortable with admitting that he is far more attracted to men than women.
Michel is kept a prisoner in the hold of the ship, though he’s treated well, given the circumstances. Especially when his fever returns and he’s in need of near constant attention. And speaking of fever of a wholly different kind, Michel and Galen’s interactions are a slow burn of unresolved sexual tension, during which time we see that though Michel isn’t as full on alpha-male as Galen, far from it, he’s also far from the damsel in distress. He can hold his own when push comes to shove, though he does swoon a little bit. But, who wouldn’t when faced with a man like Galen, the dark and mysterious and beautiful hunk of a pirate. Michel isn’t immune to a little possessive jealousy.
Galen is hard edged and fierce, a man with a secret in his past that drives him to seek vengeance against the Spaniard who’d once brutalized him. Galen wants Obrigio dead at all costs. And the question eventually becomes whether or not the price of losing Michel is worth the pound of flesh that Galen has spent seven years honing a taste for. It all comes to an exciting climax, fraught with what I’d say was the inevitable make or break point in the story’s arc.
Let’s be honest here for a moment, shall we? Suspending belief is an absolute must when we’re talking about this particular brand of romance. Pirates who sailed the seas during the age of buccaneers likely suffered from all manner of unattractive hygiene issues and rotten teeth that would offend our modern sensibilities, but that’s part of the fun of this particular niche of historical romance—the fantasy of it. These were lawless men who fought and lived and died by their own particular codes of honor, and that’s what makes them sexy, the fact that they were beholden to none but themselves and their brethren. Until they found the one person they may have taken by hook or by crook, but would eventually come to lay down their lives for to keep them safe from harm.
And, while I’m busy being honest, let me also say here that this book could have used a bit more attention in the editing department, especially in what I felt was the over use of some period-appropriate words that were distracting in our modern usage of them, but didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment of the story. I also must say that if you’re not a fan of prose that has a tendency to run toward the purple, then proceed with the knowledge that both the narrative and dialogue ran a little florid at times, but it’s appropriate to both the genre and the story’s setting.
That said, Kendall tells a rousing tale of love and danger and revenge on the high seas. The action scenes were just that—filled with action. The love scenes were just that—filled with some pretty hot lovin’ and tempered by what seemed an impossible obstacle to overcome. Michel and Galen are two very different men who live in two very different worlds, and one question lies between them: will they find a way to be together, or are they merely ships passing in the night?
I can say with absolute certainty that the author accomplished her mission, at least for me: I was completely engaged by and invested in her two heroes. I wanted them to find their way to each other, and while there were plenty of stumbling blocks in their way, and their feelings seemed to grow more from lust than from a deeper exposition of their interests, I believed that they believed in the love they felt for each other, and that’s all that mattered in the end.
And speaking of the end, there’s a sequel on the horizon. It’s one I’ll read in a heartbeat.
You can buy The Quartermaster and the Marquis’ Son here: