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Monday, October 4, 2010

Serenade by Erin Grace

Serenade by Erin Grace
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Genre: Historical
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Camellia

Grace is plotting a course for unknown territory.

When young Grace Hathaway decides to escape from the threat of marriage to a horrible man, she takes her fate into her own hands, stowing away on the Serenade with the aim of sailing to Spain.

Captain Marcus James is haunted by a violent past he can barely remember except in the dark murky sea of his dreams. Competition with government traders has seen him take on illegal hidden goods, just to keep The Serenade and her crew afloat. The last thing he needs is undue attention from the wrong quarters, and the last thing he expects to find is Grace.

Facing stormy seas, bloody battles with pirates and a sizzling romance, will Grace and Marcus find a port of call?

Becoming a stowaway on a cargo ship, although risky, seems to be Grace Hathaway’s best chance of  escaping an unwanted marriage by finding her father’s friend who holds her inheritance in trust. Her sojourn on the Serenade tests her mettle. She learns her strengths and weaknesses, learns a way of life totally different from her life with a controlling uncle that wants control of her inheritance, and she learns what matters most to her regardless of society’s rules.

Marcus James deems the sea his mistress and his ship the Serenade is his home. His life since age four has been lived on a ship. A key he wears around his neck is the only tie he has to his heritage. He is alone except for loyal shipmates and a friend, Ethan. He considers them his family. He owns and is captain of the Serenade that sails dangerous waters. Avoiding pirate ships and patrol ships of the realm that stop and search ships for illegal trade goods is of paramount importance to Marcus. A female stowaway and storms are liabilities that he does not need. Yet, Grace becomes his “little barnacle” that gives his life meaning.

The secondary characters, Ethan and Smythe, play major roles in the revelation of Marcus’ heritage, a revelation that places Grace and Marcus in different social classes. The dynamics change creating conflicts that threaten to destroy their future together. It seemed that Grace’s quest would not reach fruition, but back at the Serenade, all things come together in a most satisfying way.

The plot is predictable, but the loyalty, humor, and the camaraderie of the characters make Serenade good reading.