To Catch a Pirate by Jade Parker
It’s 1720, and Annalisa and her father are sailing to a small Caribbean island where her father will be governor when their ship is overtaken by pirates. One of the pirates, James Sterling, steals a kiss from Annalisa, but his comrades take something more valuable: a chest of gold coins to be spent building a fort. Upon reaching land, Annalisa’s father is jailed, suspected of being in league with the pirates. Determined to prove her father’s innocence, Annalisa forges a letter of marque to hunt down the man she considers the key to her quest.
James Sterling was a pirate when he and Annalisa first met. Now he’s a wanted man. Annalisa is determined to use him to track down the notorious Crimson Kelly, captain of the pirate ship that stole the gold chest. But the more Annalisa learns of Sterling, the more she starts to fall for him.
Ultimately, To Catch a Pirate is a wallpaper romance. If not for a few references to Queen Anne’s War and the fact that we’re told the story is set in 1720, I wouldn’t have known when the story takes place. For that matter, I wouldn’t have known where the story is set, either. Yes, much of the action takes place on board ships, but ship life doesn’t come alive the way it does in Bloody Jack or Star-Crossed. When the characters are on land, the Caribbean islands are generic and bland. Since we’re talking about pirates here, Pirates! by Celia Rees and The Pirate’s Son by Geraldine McCaughren do a much better job of bringing the historical setting and the ruthlessness of piracy to life, even if the romance is not as overt. With the popularity of pirates these days, no doubt the title will attract the attention of teen girls, and some may very well enjoy it. But if you want something with a little more depth and character, try one of the other books mentioned.
Don’t be surprised if some of your adult patrons pick up this book thinking it’s an adult romance. The cover wouldn’t look out of place on a Candice Hern or Liz Carlyle book of a few years back. It is, however, very much a YA romance. In other words, no sex, just kisses, with a sort of naive, innocent aspect to the non-relationship parts.