Friday, October 24, 2008

A Rogue's Reward by Jennifer Colgan

TITLE: A Rogue’s Reward
AUTHOR: Jennifer Colgan
PUBLISHER: Amber Quill
LENGTH: Novella (roughly 34k)
GENRE: Historical erotic romance
COST: $6.00

When Sheppard York wakes up in the brig of the infamous lady pirate, Fallon Robard, he wishes only to escape, regardless of whether or not his father pays the demanded ransom or not. His caretaker, Rhea, doesn’t seem like any sort of pirate he’s ever heard of, and when he discovers she was taken from an abbey, he’s convinced she’s his ticket out of there. Except…she’s like no other woman he’s known, either…

I wanted to love this story. There’s an old-fashioned charm to the way it all starts out that reminded me of romances I read when I was a teenager, though the roles are reversed with all female pirates and the captive as male. I liked how it all started, rolling simply along with the is-he-a-cad hero and the virginal wannabe pirate. The prose is sweet, the conflict familiar, and the initial charm engaging. It actually rolls along like that for a good part of the story, though Rhea never really takes on much of a personality past her innocence.

But the more the story unfolds, the more questions get raised, and the more I realize the blurb really didn’t do this story any favors. The events of the blurb don’t occur until very late in the story. Don’t be fooled. The vast bulk of the conflict occurs before Shep ever tries to escape, and it’s during that time the charm holds. The story takes on an entirely different tenor afterward, and though it’s far more complex – and in some ways, more interesting – than the first half, it also introduces a lot more questions, questions that don’t get answered by story’s end. The website labels this as a series, but the fact that I can’t find another one suggests this is the first one. Perhaps the author is going to answer a lot of these questions in subsequent stories. For the purposes of enjoying this story, though, the lack of those answers taints my enjoyment. I want to know why Rhea is important to the captain. I want to know how on earth there could be an HEA. I didn’t get any of that, and it ended up being very frustrating rather than satisfying.


8/10 – Simple and sweet


6/10 – Nice enough, with a realistic introduction, but I never bought the shift in feelings for the heroine


5/10 – Sweet but bland, ultimately forgettable

Entertainment value

7/10 – Raises more questions than it answers, though it has a certain old-fashioned sweetness to the overall story

World building

7/10 – The pirate world is nicely realized, but Sheppard’s lacks details



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