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Contraband Hearts

(Porthkennack #10)

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  20 reviews
His future depends on bringing the smuggler to justice. His heart demands to join him.

Customs officer Peregrine Dean is sent by his patron to investigate rumors of corruption in the Porthkennack customs house. There he is tasked by the local magistrate to bring down the villainous Tomas Quick, a smuggler with fingers in every pie in town. Fired with zeal and ambition, and
ebook, 270 pages
Published April 30th 2018 by Riptide Publishing
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3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  55 ratings  ·  20 reviews

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Somehow I'm too tired to write a really thorough review but so just a few short notes. Both MCs are rather complex characters which is a good and a bad thing. Good because they are interesting and bad because both are rather prickly and to be honest not always super likeable because in their own ways, they both carry a pretty big chip on their shoulder. They both have their reasons for being the way they are and I have to admit that there is some clever character developement going on but if you ...more
Barb ~rede-2-read~
**4.5 stars**

When newly appointed Customs Officer Peregrine Dean arrives in Porthkennack he has one goal in mind—to rid the area of smugglers, principally those under the leadership of the well-known rascal, Tomas Quick. But all is not as it seems in Porthkennack, and through trial and error he learns that one must look below the surface—both figuratively and literally. Figuratively, in that he learns that most often, a portion of the goods obtained through claiming salvage from the shipwrecks a
Jun 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars

While the premise of this book had me intrigued when I first read the blurb, the story itself left me a little cold. I had initially thought this would be a great enemies to lovers book, but it lacks in any sort of chemistry between the two MCs. This was a huge letdown.

Uptight, by-the-book, Peregrine Dean could have been the perfect foil for the light-fingered, socially minded Tomas Quick. In fact, that should have been the catalyst for a great game of cat and mouse, with the UST ratche
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Contraband Hearts is the tenth book in the Porthkennack series, a collection of both contemporary and historical romances by various authors set in a Cornish coastal town. Though some of the books and characters are loosely interconnected, all titles in the series are standalones. Contraband Hearts is the second book I’ve read by this author, and once again I was quickly pulled in by the story.

Set in 1790, Contraband Hearts details the unexpected relationship that develops between a customs off
Sep 04, 2018 rated it liked it
Peregrine Dean, a black man, is sent to late 18th century Porthkennack by his white patron to root out corruption in the local customs office. But his mission is immediately diverted by the local magistrate, who wishes him to investigate a smuggler with the same last name as his own. And that mission gets diverted not just by Perry's attraction to said smuggler, but also by his discovery of a wrecker (a person who deliberately entices ships to wreck on unseen coastal rocks in order to rake in th ...more
Mari Cardenas ~ Bayou Book Junkie
3.5 Stars

I've read all the books in the Porthkennack series and enjoyed most of them, unfortunately, Contraband Hearts isn't one of them. It isn't that it's not well-written, because it is. Ms. Beecroft managed to transport me to the past with both her words and her descriptions and the book has some very good secondary characters. I think the problem was that I didn't quite manage to connect with neither of the MCs and seeing that it took forever and a day for them to actually meet in person an
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
An interesting historical. I enjoyed that it was about a black man in 18th century Cornwall. I didn't really connect with either main character, but their story held my attention. The romance was a little lackluster, but the plot really hummed along. This author writes excellent historicals, but this one wasn't one of my favourites.
Pros: Basically everything—interesting plots outside the romance, a rich and detailed setting, multifaceted and on point characterization that added to the story, and most of the side characters were interesting, too. (Also, Zuily is the best.)

Cons: I can't pinpoint what it was; I think it was truly a case of "It's not you, it's me," because despite all of these great elements, I just wasn't shipping it that hard. This is the time for the shrug emoji, because I really don't know why. I liked the
nisie draws
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this but God the protags are so thick headed
Jul 01, 2018 rated it did not like it
At chapter 5 and bored to tears, I’ve only met Perry so far and he is really annoying me. DNF.
Lisa The Novel Approach
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
Alex Beecroft writes Age of Sail stories with such skill, something I discovered when I read the lushly detailed novel False Colors back in 2010. Beecroft’s latest historical, Contraband Hearts, is the tenth standalone book in the Porthkennack universe, and is equal parts land and sea tale set in this fictional Cornish town, incorporating Cornwall’s rich factual history with the story’s smugglers and the wreckers who are its central figures. If you’re a fan of the author, the Porthkennack collec ...more
Anwen Ross
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Setting: the Cornish town of Porthkennack, late 18th century. I loved the way Alex Beecroft brings it to life, with basically the whole community involved in either smuggling or at least keeping goods that wash up on the beach from ships wrecked on the rocky coastline.

Characters: Perry Dean, a customs officer who's been sent from London to put a stop to the smuggling that everyone in Porthkennack seems to be involved in, including the local customs officers, which is why they can't be trusted t
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A custom's officer and a smugger find themselves in a reluctant attraction and a need to trust in this lush, authentic feeling age of sail intrigue. The enemies to lovers set against such a backdrop by a longtime favorite author was just too good to be missed.

Contraband Hearts is book ten in the loosely connected Porthkennack series of books told in multiple eras and by multiple authors. Each book can be read standalone as their only connection is generally the location. They each cleverly tell
Apr 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Images from the TV series Poldark kept popping into my head as I was reading this book, since they share a setting—Cornwall in the late 18th century.

The story kicks off when Peregrine “Perry” Dean arrives in Porthkennak to take up a position as a customs officer. He’s been sent to clean up corruption in the customs house, and the town magistrate orders Perry to target a local sailor, Tomas Quick. However, while he is a smuggler, Tomas is respected by the community because he offers a helping han
Stevie Carroll
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

Cornish coastal towns are teeming with legends of smugglers, wreckers and pirates, and the fictional locale of Porthkennack is no exception. We’ve heard some of the tales told by its inhabitants already, as well as meeting one or two modern-day rogues. Now at last we get to meet a real historical rapscallion, not to mention the handsome customs officer sent from London, who is to bring him down and investigate corruption in the town along
May 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, m-m, mystery
It was okay. I didn't really care if the main characters got together (never a good thing in a m/m book), and I was pretty irritated at a book that went out of its way to threaten its black main character with slavery over and over. Also, the amount of unrealistically-handled physical harm to the main character was eye-rollingly implausible. The 'mystery', meh.

I would've liked the stories of the two characters much better separately, I'm afraid. I liked the 'Robin Hood'-esque smuggler plot, and
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
This is the 10th novel set in the fictional Cornish town of Porthkennack but only the 3rd historical and yet again is m/m

Overall an enjoyable story, if a little slow in places, about a London born and raised customs man coming in to clean the place up being pitted against the local smuggler who the magistrate for the town has a personal grudge against. There are moments of excitement but over all the story fell a little flat in places. I could however believe the relationship between t
Apr 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
Rating: 5 stars out of 5

For the full review, visit

From that review: " Back to that historic seaside village of Porthkennack again we go in  Contraband Hearts (Porthkennack #10) by Alex Beecroft, one of my favorite ongoing series by multiple authors.  Only this time, we journey way back into Porthkennack's history which is rife with smuggling, ship wrecks, profiteering, and in this case, it seems the mystery of the missing slaves who o
Jul 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Age of Sail Thomas Crown Affair, with smugglers.
Apr 22, 2018 rated it liked it
2.5 stars rounded up to 3. I hate to post a lukewarm review when the book hasn't even been published yet, but Contraband Hearts did not work for me as a love story at all. First, the two MCs barely interact until almost halfway through the novel. When they finally do meet, there's a lot of kissing/making out, then pushing each other away. Then they suddenly decide they're in love with each other, based primarily on their assessment of each other's character and physical appearance (as opposed to ...more
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May 02, 2018
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May 20, 2018
Maria Lima
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Jun 03, 2018
Anwen Hayward
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Apr 15, 2019
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Jun 18, 2018
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Spaceships and galaxy spanning empires, conversations with angels, viking villages, haunted mansions and forbidden love in the Age of Sail... I love a good strong plot in an exotic setting, with characters you can admire, and a happy ending.

If you make a venn diagram of genres, including historical, fantasy, gay romance and mystery, I occupy the space in the middle where they overlap.


BTW, if you

Other books in the series

Porthkennack (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Wake Up Call (Porthkennack, #1)
  • A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack, #2)
  • Broke Deep (Porthkennack, #3)
  • House of Cards (Porthkennack, #4)
  • Foxglove Copse (Porthkennack, #5)
  • Count the Shells (Porthkennack, #6)
  • Junkyard Heart (Porthkennack, #7)
  • Tribute Act (Porthkennack, #8)
  • One Under (Porthkennack, #9)
  • Love at First Hate (Porthkennack, #11)