**spoiler alert** Sometimes, I read a book and all I can think is "man, that guy is a complete jerk." That's what I thought the entire time I read Cap**spoiler alert** Sometimes, I read a book and all I can think is "man, that guy is a complete jerk." That's what I thought the entire time I read Captain Jack's Woman by Stephanie Laurens.
This book is supposed to set up the Bastion Club series novels; it's considered a prequel to the other eight books. And as far as I can tell, Jack is the jerkiest of all the heroes in the series.
For a quick plot synopsis: Kit Cranmer finally finds herself back in the country after having escaped from her conniving aunts and uncles--people so terrible that they manage to make both Kit and her Grandfather think that the other had decided that Kit leaving was the best idea. And a family so headstrong and stubborn that grandfather and granddaughter don't speak for 6 years, even though their relationship is supposed to be ridiculously strong ((t always is, that grandfather-granddaughter bond in romance novels.) So Kit at long last finds herself at home but she needs excitement. She is bored out of her mind. And accidentally takes over a smuggling crew that thinks she's a man. Which then gets taken over by Captain Jack's crew; he, by the way, is ridiculously relieved to find out she's a woman:
Kit's identity was only one of his problems and certainly the easier to solve. His odd reaction to the boy was a worry. Why had it happened? It had been decades since any sight had affected him so dramatically. But, for whatever incomprehensible reason, the slim, black-garbed figure of Young Kit had acted as a powerful aphrodisiac, sending his body into a state of readiness. He'd been as horny as Champion on the trail of the black mare! (p. 55)
That's right--Jack's body knows Kit is a woman immediately, even though his head doesn't.
And then Jack becomes more and more possessive of Kit, wanting her to change and be a more, well, lady-like-lady. He thinks to take her as a mistress when he believes she's illegitimate. When she finds out she's a proper lady, he slightly regrets taking her virginity, but is more than happy to make her his wife--so long as all she does is become exactly the type of boring woman he despises.
I think we're to think that over time Jack becomes more mellow, that he realizes that he can't have his cake and eat it too. He fell in love with Kit because she was wild, he can't expect to tame her and have her be the same. Also, we're supposed to believe that he finally comes to his senses that he doesn't want the lady-like -ladies. After all, that is why he escaped the ton; the match-making mamas and their simpering daughters just didn't cut it for him. However, it really is Kit that has to make all the sacrifices in the end. She can't go riding on her horse alone. She can't help him with anything that she did before. Jack only promises to tell her what he's doing in an effort to keep her from "helping" behind his back.
It's an odd sort of relationship, and Jack is never really redeemed for being a jerk. He is just unveiled as a lord, and thus all his jerkiness is just fine.
This story actually had a plot and drama, so it had that going for it. I just always wish the heroes weren't such jerks. ...more
This book was laugh-out-loud funny, and exactly what I needed at the moment. I haven't laughed that much reading a book since Douglass Adams, and I'mThis book was laugh-out-loud funny, and exactly what I needed at the moment. I haven't laughed that much reading a book since Douglass Adams, and I'm sure that there will be more of Moore on my shelf before the end of the year.
Biff is a great narrator, and Moore is able to take the sparsity of information on Jesus in the bible and turn it into a great story of two best friends, where one just happens to be the messiah. ...more
**spoiler alert** This book is set up in Scotland, and there’s a lot of talk about the lowlands and the Lady of the —. Which introduces a weird thing**spoiler alert** This book is set up in Scotland, and there’s a lot of talk about the lowlands and the Lady of the —. Which introduces a weird thing for a Laurens novel, especially a Cynster novel: the supernatural. Our heroine, Catrona, is portrayed as the most recent woman in a line of women who protect the valley from outsiders, keep it safe and healthy. There’s something vaguely witchy about her mysticism (though Scandal aka Richard calls her a witch quite often, usually as a term of endearment), but over all, other than an intimate understanding of herbs and a need to pray to the Lady, she’s quite normal for a heroine. She’s feisty, bent on getting her own way, outspoken, and as often portrayed, without a real family of her own.
So, there’s a supernatural element, and it’s not fully developed even though it’s supposed to be key to who she is.
The real issue with this book is there really is no suspense. Scandal meets Catrona and immediately falls in lust with her. Catrona’s guardian died before the novel starts, and leaves an unbreakable will (honestly? really) that states that if Scandal won’t marry her, the guardian’s heirs get absolutely nothing and the inheritance goes to the church. Oh, and Catrona isn’t a heir, so her and Scandal not getting married doesn’t affect either of the two actual parties involved.
Of course that means that Scandal, by the end of the week, is ready to marry Catrona. She refuses to marry him–until she’s caught in her own trap of trying to have his baby (without his knowledge) because the Lady told her she would have his children, but Catrona feels that in no way would he make a suitable husband. (Point: Why was Scandal not intensely angry that Catrona would try to have his baby but never ever plan to tell him. Knowing his back story as “the scandal that never was” as a bastard who’s father’s wife took in as her own child, and the Cynsters being a large clannish family, why was he not pissed at this half-assed plan of hers? )
So they get married. And he makes hard promises to her to not interfere with life in the valley, because the Lady has always rules. They do the classic not paying any actual attention to what their actions say (as usually happens) also, the lack of a clear honest conversation) until Scandal thinks she wants him to leave for London, and when he leaves she realizes she needs him there. And then he comes back just at the moment there is a mysterious fire.
This is the first fourth of the book. Then he gets poisoned, she nurses him back to health, he doesn’t think she poisoned him and reassures her immediately upon recovery (what?!? that never happens!) His family is all there, she gets along famously with them, and rethinks her seclusion of the outside world, lets Scandal help her with the property and everything is peachy.
Where is the drama? They know who poisoned Scandal, when he’s well the go confront her and she apologizes because she read the signs from the Lady wrong (and because obviously it was meant to be) because she poisons him with enough to kill an elephant but he makes it through.
I believe the drama and suspense is supposed to come from Catrona’s other potential suitors. The men who own the nearby lands have been trying to get a hold of Catrona and her land since she inherited them. Her guardian has does a superb job of protecting Catrona to the point that she doesn’t even know he’s been doing it, and he felt that Scandal was the only one capable of protecting her once she was on her own.
There are two potential suitors/villains. One only pursues until he realizes Catrona is wed, and to an overbearing man at that. The other still thinks he can get at the land. He’s the one that starts the fire, and then attacks Scandal on the way back from confronting the poisoner. Scandal is never in any danger, and the threat drops in an instant.
In all, this book is a fun romp, but really drama free. There is no suspense, no worry that it isn’t going to work, nothing really to even push the story along. But it was enjoyable, and Scandal and Catrona will make numerous appearances in other Cynster novels. ...more