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Thursday, March 29, 2018

ARC Review: The Priate Bride by Kathleen Y'Barbo

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35658894-the-pirate-bride
Please Note:  I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.  

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
A Former Privateer and a Desperate Heiress Join Forces to Find a Treasure
Jump on board with a brand new series for fans of all things related to history, romance, adventure, faith, and family trees.

One hundred years after her mother's family came to the New World on the Mayflower, Maribel Cordova has landed in New Orleans to seek the man who holds the key to finding her father’s lost treasure. Attorney Jean-Luc Valmot has buried his past life so deep that no living person will ever find it—or so he hopes as he accepts a position on the governor’s staff. But the daughter of an infamous pirate threatens all he holds dear. Can Maribel and Jean-Luc compromise so they both can hold onto what they most desire?


Review:
Writing a review of a book I don't like is not easy.  I understanding how much work must have gone into this book, but I would be remiss if I just gave it a pass.  I was looking forward to this novel because I love historical fiction.  I love all the details that make me feel as if I know how the people of the time lived.  But none of this is present in The Pirate Bride, by Kathleen Y'barbo.


What I Liked:
I found so many issues with this book, there was nothing in it that appealed to me.


What I Was Mixed About:
Religion:
I did find it refreshing that the characters prayed so much in this book.  For the time this book was set in, religion would have been a integral part of the lives of any person.

However, as the characters were of French and Spanish origin, it was strange to me that they didn't seem to be Catholic.  Where are the rosaries?  The saints?  The crucifixes?  The priests?  The absence of these details made the characters feel inauthentic.  

What I Didn't Like:



Historical Details:
The story is said to take place in 1724 (?) but there are so few details, it could have happened in 1824 (or 1924).  Despite the lovely cover, there are few discussions of clothing, food, or even locations.  The novel moves from Spain, to an island in the Caribbean, to New Orleans, yet there are almost no descriptions of these places beyond the basics.  

Along with that, the characters are supposed to be French and Spanish.  Yet, other than calling Maribel's grandfather, Abuelo, and there being a few smatterings of French names, I got no sense they were of any particular country.  There most certainly would have been customs (and food) from their homelands that would have been central to the characters as they settle into a new world.

Characters:
Maribel begins the story as a twelve year-old, but she seems to act like she's eight.  I was really struck by this because a girl of that age growing up in Spain would have been more mature.  She would have been taught to behave as an adult by that time.

Later, as a twenty-three year-old, she gets very affectionate with Jean-Luc, excusing her actions with saying she was raised by nuns so she doesn't understand proper etiquette.  I found this ridiculous.  If she were raised by nuns, she would have been taught to have very strict behavior around men.  She would know better than to hug a man in public, and would know the implications of kissing a man (instant engagement or social ruin).

She also doesn't seem at all torn up about the apparent death of her childhood friend, Will Spencer, yet she is devastated by the deaths of all the pirates, whom she barely knows. 
 
Romance:
The romance between Maribel and Jean-Luc was creepy!  They started out knowing each other when she was twelve and he was twenty-five.  Suddenly, it is eleven years later, and they are instantly attracted to each other.  I can believe that Maribel may have had a crush on Jean-Luc as a child, but it was weird that he seemed to be attracted to her, even when she was a kid.  There is a line in the book where he says, "When I couldn't find you, I didn't want to go on.", referring to when she was twelve.  What?  Why was he so attached to her as a child? 

Story:
The description from Goodreads doesn't match the actual book.  I wonder if a quick summary of the story was sold to the publisher and then it wasn't updated when the book was released?  It was that disjointed.

Reading the actual novel, the story fell flat because of the lack of buildup to critical moments throughout the book.  Perhaps the author felt this would drag down the story, but there needed to be a foundation of actions and emotions for the payoff at the end.  

For instance, we never get to understand how Maribel feels about losing her family or her friends.  There is no explanation as to what is going on with her mother and her father.  Is her mother cooperating with the father, or is she being coerced?  There were many references to everyone trying to shield her from her father, but no pay off at the end to explain this.   Why did the father even try to bring her to Havana in the first place?  Wouldn't it have been more logical for him to place her in a convent in Spain?    These are just some of the plot points I found confusing.

Rating: 




Release Date:  April 1st, 2018

Genre:  Historical Romance Fiction

Publisher:  Barbour Books

Page Length:  256 pages

Source:  NetGalley

Format:  E-Book

Recommendation:  This seemed like a first draft of a novel, not a finished book.  I would not recommend it.



    
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