Life’s pretty good, and why wouldn’t it be? I’m a pirate, after all.– Johnny Depp
I am generally not a fan of historical romance novels. I read this one only for the purpose of reviewing it. I am glad I did. I don’t know that On A Lee Shore changed my mind about historicals in general, but I sure liked this one, and I loved Kit! I loved his courage. I loved his growth from beginning to end. His slowly evolving realization that there must be more to life than that which he had been taught. His relationship with Griffin, so hot!
On A Lee Shore is the story of Kit, who is assigned as a valet to a British diplomat sailing to the Caribbean. Kit has been demoted after losing his ship, although not at fault, he has to suffer the consequences. He boards the Hypatia, a merchant ship and sets sail. When the ship is taken by pirates, he and a ship’s hand, Davy are taken and forced to work on the pirates’ ship.
Kit discovers a way of life that, while lived on the wrong side of the law, is freer than he ever experienced in the navy. Each pirate has his own story of misfortune to tell and each one has chosen this life of crime rather than be condemned unjustly. The captain of the band of misfits, La Griffe (Griffin), is in charge only as long as the crew are satisfied with his leadership. I liked getting to read about the lives of the pirate crew and why they felt they had no choice other than living the harsh, cruel life of pirates. All of them seemed to be victims of circumstances beyond their control.
There seemed to be a conflict just over every wave. The pirates must avoid the Royal Navy and another band of pirates set on taking the Hypatia from them. Kit is struggling with internal conflict as well. He has always believed the values he was taught, and respected the navy in which he had served. Now he sees a group of men, who, while considered criminals, are just trying to survive as well as they can. They seem to be an educated group of men, respecting authority and their own code of ethics. Nothing like what he has been taught to believe about pirates.
Not only is Kit in conflict with his core values, but also his desires. He finds himself attracted to La Griffe. It is a slow burn, developing naturally, with Kit denying what he wants, even to himself. But the pirates are more honest with themselves about their feelings and believe each man to his own as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. There is one openly gay couple within the pirate crew, and it is accepted as normal. (We as a modern society could learn a lot from this!) La Griffe is determined in his advances towards Kit and eventually Kit gives in to his desire for the pirate captain.
Ms. Gregory has written a layered and intricate plot. Davy and Kit trying to survive among pirates. Both of them trying not to let go of the values they have been taught but are now questioning. They both resist initially, but eventually understand the men who call themselves pirates and the lives they lead. On A Lee Shore, for me, read like a historical novel with the romance taking the sub-plot position. I prefer the opposite formation.
The writing in On A Lee Shore was a little bit awkward at first, but Ms. Gregory quickly found her sea legs. To my untrained mind, it seemed well researched. There was adventure around every corner and the danger was relentless. The romance between Kit & Griffin really wasn’t very romantic. It was more about stolen hot sexy time than feelings. Lewis and Protheroe, the openly gay couple living among the pirates provided the romance. They made it abundantly clear that they were truly in love.
My one complaint would have to be that there were, at times, jumps in the time line without line breaks. Up to a week would pass between paragraphs. It required me re-reading the last and current paragraph to make sure I was getting it right.
Overall, it was an amazing adventure. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by: Tina