Friday, August 12, 2011

A Pirate's Heart by Catherine Friend

Publisher:                 Bold Strokes Books

Catherine Friend has created another tale set in two centuries. She tells the parallel stories of pirate captain Thomasina Farris and Rebekah Brown in the 18th century and librarian Emma Boyd and private investigator Randi Marx in the present. In the process, the reader learns that there are still pirates among us and treasure lies in where you find it.

Tommy Farris had a reputation as a ruthless pirate in the Caribbean in the early 1700's and left many legends behind her before mysteriously disappearing. As a follow up to an article she did, Emma Boyd is determined to find out what happened to the captain and the fabulous fortune she supposedly stole from a Spanish gold fleet. The treasure has never turned up, but it becomes obvious that Emma isn't the only one who believes in it when she discovers that someone is going to rare book collections and cutting maps out of the books that might tell where Captain Tommy's gold is. Emma feels she is in a race against time with the thief, so she reluctantly accepts the assistance of investigator Randi Marx. As the women chase leads across the country, they discover Tommy Farris was more complex than anyone realized as they turn up evidence of an involvement with someone named R. Brown and tales of a hidden island that only some people can see. Randi Marx proves to be as difficult to know as the captain, but Emma is enjoying that challenge as much as the hunt for Farris, until a terrible betrayal threatens to break her heart forever. Emma learns that pirates come in many forms and capturing the heart of one may be more valuable than gold.

A Pirate's Heart is a combination of mystery and adventure with a little romance thrown in. The story of Thomasina Farris is a classic pirate story with swashbuckling and adventure with Rebekah Brown playing the part of the damsel who is reluctantly saved and then falls in love with the roguish captain. It captures the tone of the time very effectively and creates an interesting contrast with the present. Emma and Randi present more contemporary images, but reflect many of the same emotions and experiences as the earlier couple. 

The only drawback to the book is the way Friend chooses to alternate the stories from one couple to the other, past to present. Just as the reader is getting involved in one story, the book changes gears and switches to the other. It gives the book the feeling of being a little choppy, but none of the sections are long enough to cause the reader to lose the thread of either story. The format does allow the reader to compare the characters in both stories and see their similarities. Anyone who has read Friend's other historic novels will find this one equally as satisfying.

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