Liz B's Reviews > The Windflower

The Windflower by Laura London
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's review
Oct 30, 10

bookshelves: historicalfiction, romance
Read from October 27 to 30, 2010 — I own a copy

I was wavering between 4 and 5 stars on this one, and went with the higher rating. Because I HATE pirate romance, and yet I enjoyed every moment of this book.

Here's the premise: Innocent Merry Wilding is accidentally kidnapped and brought aboard a pirate ship during the war of 1812, where she falls in love with a hot blonde pirate who is actually a titled Englishman.

I know!! It's ludicrous. But lots of good stuff is (exactly where are the cameras during the Hunger Games, pray tell?!?). So please ignore the premise and treat it for what it is: a vehicle for telling a terrific story.

Things I loved:

*It was *long*. What ever happened to long, drawn-out historical romance? This was 400+ pages and the print was tiny. It took me--hm--probably at least 6-8 hours to read, possibly longer. Most everything I buy now takes 3 hours, tops--and usually more like 2.

*That's part of the reason why I felt it was worth every penny I paid for it. It's OOP and hard to find. I have been looking for it in used bookstores for about 2 years, then gave in last week and bought it from Amazon for over $20. Worth it, worth it, worth it. It's not going on the gr bookswap, that's for sure!

*Coming-of-age. Yes, this is a romance because it tells the story of a relationship, but it's just as much the story of Merry growing up. And yeah, it's totally unbelievable that her coming-of-age happened so gradually and on a pirate ship. Nonetheless, I had no problem suspending my disbelief.

*Rich details of setting. I don't give a darn about setting, generally speaking--but these authors made me care. I felt no desire to race through the description; instead, I wanted to sink into the worlds that the authors created.

*Writing. Sometimes overwrought, but often crisp and perfect: "No one ever has a good time on a pirate ship; no one except the pirates." I love that semicolon. And this, on the same page: "She splashed [water] into the washbowl and then onto her face, and it ran down her cheeks and trailed down her throat. There was no towel. Pirates, probably, liked to air dry."

*Characters. Somehow, these 1984 publishers let Tom & Sharon Curtis take so much time with this book that they were able to develop virtually every character that shows up on stage into someone believable and complex. Good grief, even the villain--present on the page briefly at best--is allowed some humanity.

*Cat and Raven and Morgan. Technically, they belong under characters, but I think they deserve a separate bullet. Three secondary characters who are each fascinating in their own right. I've seen some reviews that point out that this is an unusual romance (or even not really a romance) because the hero and heroine spend so much time apart. True. But that gives Cat, especially, more page time--which is a good thing.

*Chemistry. That's always the element that moves a romance into the 4- or 5-star category for me. I think it's a combination of convincing initial attraction, believable obstacles to consummation, and slow development of genuine emotion. This book has it, for sure.

*Hero & Heroine. I really liked both Merry and Devon--although, now that I think about it, they're they're the one element that made me waver on my 5-star rating. Neither is my favorite type of romance h/h these days. Merry's awfully sweet and innocent; Devon's a bit too alpha. But hey--it was 1984. (And they would have been exactly to my taste when I first began reading romance!) I think I grew to like them because over the course of the book they grew beyond those 80s-romance tendencies in gradual and convincing ways.

This is a keeper for sure. I only wish that some of the money I spent on it went to the original authors--they deserve it.
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