Plot (from avonromance.com)
In Eloisa James’s companion story to The Ugly Duchess, Sir Griffin Barry, captain of the infamous pirate ship The Poppy, is back in England to claim the wife he hasn’t seen since their wedding day . . . but this is one treasure that will not be so easy to capture.
Things I Loved
Griffin returns to England after roughly a decade of piracy, recovering from a serious injury. Now that has cousin James is reunited with his wife, Theo (the hero and heroine of The Ugly Duchess), Griffin has to return to his wife–who he hasn’t seen since he ran away from home on their wedding night.
Wounded heroes are my favorite, and Griffin is both physically wounded (stabbed in the thigh by a pirate) and emotionally wounded (his humiliating inability to perform on his wedding night drove him to leave his wife). And I like that Polly is tough; she held the estate together and adopted children and generally made a life for herself after her husband disappeared.
Novellas don’t really do it for me. This was one that certainly felt too short for the amount of story that was there. I might have liked it better if it was a full novel that drew out their reconciliation and gave more insight into the characters’ motivations. Also, weirdly, the pirate thing doesn’t do it for me the way I feel like it should.
Griffin is just a total tool. He’s bossy and domineering and ignores his wife when she tells him to GTFO. Plus, he spent at least a decade thinking her name was Poppy, not Polly. The buildup to the misremembered name revelation made me so uncomfortable. (I anticipate and experience all of the embarrassment vicariously, which is really unpleasant.)
And Polly is a little bit unrealistic in being mad at Griffin for assuming that her children are illegitimate and not adopted. Anyone would assume that without context and it doesn’t reflect as poorly on her character as she thinks it does.
1 out of 4 chili peppers (1 being a step above a sex-free gentle romance, 4 being an all-sex-and-no-plot romance). Proceed with caution if you’re more Georgette Heyer than Ellora’s Cave.