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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Bride of Blackbeard

Bride of Blackbeard by Brynn Chapman
Publisher: Highland Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: Best Book
Review by Magnolia

Determined to start a new life…

Constanza Smythe leaves England and accepts a position as governess in the Colonies—only to capture the attention of two men.

When she meets Edward Teache…

on her voyage to the New World, the infamous pirate known as Blackbeard decides to do anything—legal or not—to make her his bride.

Yet a firm hand pulls her to safety…

when Blackbeard's ship wrecks near North Carolina's Outer Banks. Lucian Blackwell, a simple farmer, wants to love and protect Constanza.

Will either win her heart…

and can they protect the life of a child she's sworn to protect?

Bride of Blackbeard by Brynn Chapman is what I refer to as a ‘beefy’ read. It’s a romance sandwiched between historical facts and a personal growth story.

Constanza is a great heroine. She is strong willed with a purpose. But unlike so many historical romances that plop a 2008 woman into the past, Constanza’s ‘Stanza’ is believable and very well defined. A childhood filled with unspeakable nightmares has forced her to be stronger and more self reliant than most women of her time. Even her escape is tainted. Stanza’s loyalty to her brother, Will, and especially to her sister, Katrina, is both a blessing and curse. Nothing comes easy for Stanza but she keeps moving forward toward that happily ever after.

Where Constanza is a woman not molded in the traditional time setting, Lucian is. As a hero restricted by the mind set of the 1700’s his character is often at odds with Stanza. Lucian is a man of good heart and nature, something Constanza hasn’t been lucky enough to have in her life. While the personal barriers he must overcome are different than Stanza’s, Lucian’s growth as a character is as heart wrenching as Constanza’s.

The final barrier to their happiness is the same - Edward Teach, a.k.a. Black Beard. Ms. Chapman does an excellent job building up the suspense around this final threat to their happily ever after ending, that I wondered if it was going to happen….but the story was so well written I was willing to accept the ending either way. And I did find the ending complete - surprising - but complete.

The secondary characters of Hopkins offer plenty of chances to see the real personalities of Lucian and Constanza. They are hopelessly selfish people. Her sister, Katrina, is the prodding force in many of the things in Constanza’s life, rarely positive.

Bride of Blackbeard contains many fascinating historical facts woven into the plot. This is not like reading a history book. The characters are engaging and the pacing is excellent.