Throughout history, England has long been a site for smugglers and privateers: an island with miles of coastline and small villages where making a living is difficult, the sea has always managed to provide a living. Additionally, crown-sponsored privateers, and merchants with fleets of ships working both sides of the law were responsible for large fortunes being lost and won. Much like bootlegging on this side of the world, often the luxury items were fine French brandies and wines, or other finely crafted import goods that were taxed heavily, or even illegal, depending on the political climate. Set in the beginning of the Regency era, Captain Jack’s woman manages to use smuggling and seafaring with dubious intentions to form the backbone of the story.
Kit is a brash and exuberant heroine: born to a title, she yearned for adventure and excitement that is rarely found in the lives of women of her class. Donning men’s clothing and disguising herself as a boy, she revels in late night gallops over the countryside: an activity decidedly frowned upon for women of her class. When she inadvertently provides an escape for a small band of smugglers, they are fooled by her disguise, and install her as their leader. While she knows of others engaged in similar ventures, she believes that her little corner of the coast is safe from interference from rivals, until Jack.
Jack is well-known to the smugglers and with his skill for piloting boats, his experience and his take no prisoners attitude he is a force to be reckoned with. Well aware of the dangers that he faces, and perfectly willing to draw his sword, the first clash with Kit in her disguise is a revelation for him and her. He instantly notices something is off about this boy, and finds himself curious about the woman behind the disguise. Kit is seeing her dream pirate come to life: she is a woman and not immune to the vision that Jack presents, it is nothing but coincidence that he is the perfect replica of her dreams come to life.
Told in alternating first person points of view, the characters are built with solid voices and given breath that may not have appeared with a third person story. While the WHO is always obvious, the fast paced switches in the latter half of the story do require a bit more concentration to not become muddled and unclear. There is action and steam, and while the story feels familiar for the genre: noble woman bored with life takes dangerous chances and finds a man who is wholly inappropriate at first impression: Laurens adds twists and tweaks with detail and dialog to keep this story entertaining and engaging. It did slow somewhat in pacing and forward movement in the latter half of the story, a few choices for the characters seemed to leave them adrift for several chapters, but it was soon resolved as the story came to a close.
Narration in this AudioBook is provided by McAllister Lee, my first encounter with her narration. Mellifluous and smooth, her diction and delivery are perfectly suited to this story: with an English accent that adds a sense of place, emotive pressure laid on words to push the emotion forward, yet never overbearing or showy. Lee also has managed to use small changes in pitch and pacing that delineates the characters with subtlety, without feeling as if she has ‘put on’ an affected voice or entered into caricature. I’ll be seeking out more titles with her as narrator!
This is a longer book, 400 pages to read, some 13 hours for audio, but it was an engaging and entertaining listen, well worth the time.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 4
Title: Captain Jack's Woman
Author: Stephanie Laurens
Genre: Historical Romance
Narrator: McCallister Lee
Published by: Avon, Harper Collins
Source: AudioBook Jukebox
Audio Length: 13 Hours: 13 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
They meet in a clash of swords, drenched in the moonlight of Britain′s rugged eastern coast: Captain Jack, his handsome features etched in silver and shadow, his powerful physique compelling "Kit" Cranmer to surrender.
He is her dream lover come vividly alive, and his command of the smuggling gang is absolute. his all-knowing gaze penetrates her disguise as the "lad" leader of a rival gang with frightening ease and his "punishment" with kisses leaves her maidenly modesty in tatters. Suddenly Kit finds she′s only too delighted to explore with Jack the pleasures conventionally reserved for married ladies. . .little knowing what dangerous forces she′s unleashing.
For even as Kit revels in midnight gallops and cottage rendezvous, captain Jack is laying a gentle trap that will curtail her freedom. . .and bind her to him with a ring, a promise. . . and ties of devotion and desire.
A copy of this title was provided via AudioBook Jukebox for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.