He wanted no woman, except one made of sails and wood and wind.
Handsome, wily Irish privateer Captain Brendan Jay Merrick is running from a painful past - and fighting for a new nation's future when he arrives in the colonial town of Newburyport, Massachusetts, with plans for shipwright Ephraim Ashton to build his magnificent new schooner. Brendan's daring sea battles against His Majesty's fleet have made him a legend in his adopted country - but one look at the dashing stranger and Ashton's daughter Mira starts making plans of her own.
She wanted no man - but him. Brash, hot-tempered, and born at sea in a raging gale, Mira Ashton is more than most men can manage. Disguising herself as a crew member and sneaking aboard Brendan's newly-built Kestrel, she becomes the schooner's finest gunner - and the captain's most outrageous distraction. As desire ignites between them, Mira finds herself competing against Kestrel for Brendan's love. But when tragedy strikes, Mira must join forces with her mighty rival in a daring adventure that turns the tide of battle and brings glorious victory to the colonists, the captain - and the lady who has captured his heart.
©2013 Danelle Harmon (P)2014 Danelle Harmon
I will definitely listen to this book again. Not only is the story perfect making you feel the gamut of emotions, but the narrator's voice is like honey. His characterisation is perfection, and he brings the story to life. Danelle's books and Wayne's narration are the perfect coupling.
Wicked at Heart by Danelle Harmon and narrated by Wayne Farrell once again is a book that I can compare this one too. It's because both books were equally wonderful. Both have exciting story lines, and both have been brought to life by the narration.
How do you say which scene is a favourite without giving away any spoilers?? Suffice to say that in one of the scenes Brendan is finally let into a secret and the way it unfolds is funny, sweet, and sassy just like the person whose secret it is :D
Oh yes indeed I did have moments during the book when I cried and laughed. I read the book first and found the story very emotional. Wayne's narration though adds a whole other element to the story, and as you don't have to focus on reading the words it is all too easy to let the tears flow.
I can't say enough to compliment just how perfect this audio book is, the only other thing I can say is to not just take my word for it, listen to a sample of the audio, and I am sure you will want to purchase this after that.
This is my first book by this author. I've heard great praise for her work and I was looking forward to reading this. I have mixed emotions.
1) Mira. Why did she yell so much? I wonder if I had read this rather than listen to the audiobook maybe the yelling wouldn't have been so obvious or annoying.
2) Her Father. Same thing with the yelling.
3) Brendan. Loved him! Totally. Luck of the Irish indeed.
4) Battle of the Penobscot. Great historical detail. That's my neighborhood so it was good that the author got so much right. (More than I can say for some of the narrator's pronunciations.)
5) The Narrator. Great voice. Overall very good job with this. His accent (Wayne Farrell is Irish) is delightful.
The story was very entertaining. I rate it a 3.5. I'll read/listen to more of this series.
It was still a good book. Had some actual funny moments too, which was a surprise. It just had a little bit more drama than I like. Like "are you kidding me?" Thoughts. The book was well written with good dialogue and interesting characters though. I liked the narrator. I was not particularly fond of the heroines voice but overall it was good.
I have always enjoyed reading my books, and have never thought about audiobooks. But I saw a contest for an audiobook on a favorite book - this book - and gave it a whirl. I won - and wow! I realized that as a reader, I read fast, and while I get a lot out of books that I read, I got even more detail from listening. I heard things that didn't resonate as profoundly as when I heard it. Funny details, like Mira's cooking - her logic that cream is cream - and so what if the drippings of cream she plans to use as a substitute for cream in her blueberry pie are part of codfish stew? Eewwwww! Reading it, I am sure I laughed. But hearing Wayne Farrell describe it? Goodness...it made me shudder. There were lots of examples of this type of thing that happened.
And then.... there is his voice...goodness! Wayne Farrell nails it. He delivers Brendan's thoughts, his lilt, his whispers, and his emotion to the listener/reader and pulls us into the storyline with a voice so that makes us feel like we are actually listening to Captain Jay Brendan Merrick. We become absorbed in the story...and we cannot bear to turn it off.
There were so many! I will try not to spoil it for the next person by naming more than a couple. The story of this courageous Irish/English Captain is a favorite of mine. When Captain Jay Brendan Merrick first realizes that he cannot stay in the Ashton home and remain 'gentlemanly,' as all of his anatomy is becoming alive with unexpected assault on his senses from Mira. Mira is oblivious to the effect she is having on him. She is absorbed in the sensation of her first kiss, while Merrick is beginning to realize that this little lass could be a real threat to his ability to live the life he wants upon his precious schooner.
Another moment that I loved was the moment that Captain Merrick realized just who Mr. Starr was. I nearly fell out.
Mr. Ferrell was able to change the inflection of his voice to portray his many characters - and he kept them straight!! It helped the listener, allowing you to feel as if you were on the ship, there to witness any important part of the adventures that took place.
And the singing - whenever Mr. Farrell would sing as Mira (who loved to sing the little ditties), I would have a sudden impulse to throw my hands over my ears. He did a marvelous job. Mira was supposed to have an awful singing voice. I think he captured the author's intended outcome.
Brendan, for sure. While the book was full of wonderful characters - Wayne Farrell provided the most wonderful voice for Captain Brendan Merrick. He was perfection.
This book was a love story - with lots of wonderful historic value. At the same time, it was full of humor. There was appropriate sadness when covering topics, such as the battle in Maine's seaport that required many Privateers to lose their lives. But the investment in the characters was not there; therefore, as a reader or listener, you did not find yourself spending a lot of time mulling over what happened in the past.
I sincerely recommend this and any other books written by Danelle Harmon and narrated by Wayne Farrell to anyone wishing to be entertained.
As Mr. Farrell puts it in the final chapter...The End.
Absolutely. It's funny, well-written, with both author and narrator working well together to produce great entertainment.
His Irish lilt, tone-deaf singing (loved that), the wonderful personality of Brendan when he jokes with Liam.
Captain Brendan Merrick was a man of compassion and one who believed in doing the right thing which meant taking care of the men who served under his command. Captain Brendan Merrick was the new flag captain who previously captained the crew on the Halcyon. It was apparent how much the men love and respected him. Crichton the current captain of the ship was despised by his men and captained with an iron fist. We walk into a scene where Dalby was strung up to be thrashed for stealing a dry biscuit.
The day he was cruelly, and with knowing intent by Crichton, shot and then fell overboard was the day that he no longer belonged to the Royal Navy (1775).
This was a wonderful way to start the story, my emotions were laid out plain and simple-- compassion for Dalby, hatred for Crichton, the antagonist, and affection for the well-loved flag captain, all were dumped into the cold ocean along with Brandon Merrick’s body. I was dumbfounded!
Three years later (1778) Captain Brendan Merrick had his own ship, privateering for the American colonies. He survived the bullets and sea, changing sides from Royal Navy to the American colonies. The gods of fate intervened.
We early on are introduced to Dalby, an incredibly funny character with hypochondriac inclinations, and Liam, an officer on the captain’s ship, who was Brendan’s childhood friend. Both of them produced lots of humorous moments.
I want to share this funny scene, one of several in the story. It seems that Crichton has not lost his hatred of Brendan Merrick through the years and he’s following him into Newburyport getting ready to blow the ship Annabel out of the water.
Liam’s voice, desperate and wild.
Faith, where was their confidence in him?
Sure enough, there was Liam, all two hundred strapping pounds of him, shoving his telescope into a seaman’s hand and hurtling toward him at breakneck, speed. Blue eyes bulging, he slid into the deckhouse where Brendan was sitting, nearly tripping over a ringbolt as he grabbed desperately for his arm.
Brendan barely glanced up. “Honestly, Liam, as an officer, you really should try to set a better example. Racing across the deck like that—“
“God Almighty, Cap’n, it’s Crichton commandin’ that frigate!” Liam had his arm now, nearly ripping it from its socket; the drafts jumped in the wind, and Brendan grabbed them just in time. “D’ye hear me, Brendan? Crichton!”
Astern, the British frigate drew closer, determined to prevent them from reaching the Merrimack River and the safety of Newburyport. Water thundered and creamed from her bows. Drums rolled ominously upon the wind. Pipes shrilled. Gunports were yawning open. . . .
While forward in Annabel’s bows, Dalby O’Hara crouched miserably, a gnarled hand clamped over his belly, and his face the color of oatmeal as he remembered his own treatment at the hands of that frigate’s captain, three years before.
At his elbow, Fergus McDermott, an atheist who’d adopted religion thirty seconds earlier, recited the Twenty-third Psalm over and over in a mindless chant.
Brendan held up the schooner’s drafts so that Liam could see them better. “Y’know, Liam, I’ve been thinking . . . Maybe I ought to give the bowsprit a bit more steeve. Other than that, I think she’s going to be perfect. Sharp in the topsides around the bow, lean in the stern, and lots of rake in both. Not only will our new privateer be a swift as the wind, she’ll sit so low in the water that her profile will be all but invisible from a distance! And with this hull shape, she’ll be perfect for windward sailing, and we’ll be able to carry a greater press of sail, even flying topsails and topgallants if we’ve a mind to--“
“Too little beam and she’d be fast but unstable. Too much and she’d be a laggard. Too fine a bow and stern and we’d sacrifice weight-carrying ability fore and aft. That means guns, Liam! And in a privateer, that won’t do, now, will it?” Beyond Annabel’s desperate bowsprit the sunset smeared the sky in brilliant tones of red and purple, reflecting against the water as it changed from sea-cop to rippling cat’s paws of current. In the distance, Newburyport was coming into view. “Ah, Liam, if we had this schooner right now, we’d leave that beast back there lumbering in her own bow-wake. If we had the schooner—“
“Dammit, Brendan, we’re not goin’ t’ have a schooner if ye don’t put down those bloody drafts and listen ‘t me! It’s Crichton!”
Brendan glanced up, his eyes alight with mirth, and his mouth set in the same quirky grin that was as reckless now as it had been when he and Liam had spent their childhoods exploring the rocky shores of Connaught. It was a grin that was sure to drive poor Liam mad. “So anyhow, I’ve decided that if I have this Ashton fellow build her exactly to my specifications, ninety feet on deck, with a beam of twenty-three feet—“
Dead astern, the frigate’s sails shook and boomed as she leaned over onto a new tack, the guns that stabbed from her forecastle glinting blood-red in the setting sun.
“—and with a draught of just under ten feet- Faith, Liam, will you please let go of my sleeve?”
“But it’s Crichton!”
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The scene goes on, continuing to make me laugh. As I retyped this scene, I was laughing! Isn’t Captain Brendan Merrick just the sweetest thing? I liked him from the prologue scene in how he treated his old shipmates in 1775, but in 1778, I loved him. And I must tell you, Wayne Farrell knows just how to portray the captain. I could hear the tone of mirth in the dialog. His accent was just amazing.
When we meet Miss Mira Ashton she’s singing Yankee Doodle Dandy, in breeches which is her usual dress, training a horse. Here, dear reader, is a scene where we learn the stuff that makes Mira Ashton who she is. And she ISN’T a singer. Again Wayne Farrell does an excellent job with the singing. I have NEVER heard Yankee Doodle Dandy sung by someone tone-deaf. Yikes! (Wayne had difficulty singing it thus, since he has an excellent singing voice)
Ms. Mira Ashton had a personality that was fun discovering. She had a softer side hidden by the only way she knew how to act. But she was very perceptive, both with animals and people. She is a rather boisterous, uncouth young lady, acting as her brother Matthew and father. She holds her own in their umpteen arguments. She's a multi-faceted character, well-defined. Narrator Wayne Farrell outdoes himself in the dialog as they argue. I’ve listened to it several times since my first listen and it is STILL crazy fun.
Mira loves animals and cares for and saves injured or starved strays. Once well, she finds new homes for them, well, MOST of them. She’s extremely patriotic, loves ships. Mira changes through the story, not who she is so much, but how she interacts with people. She wants and needs to change, because she knows that Captain Brendan is her man. She just needs to make him at least like her. There are some very poignant moments between these seemingly ill-matched pair.
Wayne Farrell speaks each sentence clearly, in a quiet manner letting the listener hang on to each sentence. His voice is mellow, with a light lyrical lilt of words that simply held the magic so eloquently splayed on the page.
The author uses powerful words in her descriptive sentences and Wayne gives the listener time to savor them. His Yankee and Irish accents are brilliant. The carefree, gallant, and sometimes jocular manner of the Irish captain Brendan is personified through Wayne’s emotional tone.
At other times he bellows where dialog provides the opportunity, sings as if he’s tone deaf, and carries us into the story as waves to the shore.
I could go on and on about the book, the dialog, the description of scene, the character development, the characters themselves. It truly was marvelous. It is a MUST READ if you love historical romances, to laugh, cry, and generally fall in love with a book. I plan on listening to it again, just for the fun and pleasure of hearing it a second time. I absolutely KNOW you will love the book and if you can get the audiobook, even better. This is one of my top reads/listens of the year.
Lots of fast paced action on land and on the high seas. Makes Taming of the Shrew seem, well tame. Shakespeare would blanch at this story and might just be a little envious he didn't think of it first.
I hate Mira, but the overall story and pace is good with excellent scene setting, covers everything from smell, sound and taste to throbbing passions. I'm betting romance lovers will adore this book.
Wayne Farrell narrated it and did it justice. He really enlivened it and made it spring into life. I really prefer the audio over reading the text version. Audio gives it many dimensions that just reading it can render it flat.
Wayne Farrell’s narration of the story is stunning! He has a beautiful voice that was just perfect for the Irish hero, Brendan, but he was also convincing in his reading of the female characters as well. He is particularly talented in applying just the right amount of emotion for each scene, several of which were heart-pounding! I also liked his treatment of the supporting characters, especially two of the sailors whose interactions were quite humorous and entertaining. I must admit that I rewound several times to hear him say the Gaelic words over and over again!
I liked the love scenes the best. They were incredibly passionate but not shocking.
My favorite scene was when Mira first accompanied Brendan on board his ship. He was trying to behave as a gentleman but she was doing her best to persuade him otherwise. She eventually had her way, in a very sexy but tasteful scene.
I didn’t want to put this book down, even though I had to work the next day.
I’d read the book in print form, so I already knew I loved the story. I just had to hear what it would sound like, and I was certainly not disappointed. With Wayne Farrell reading Danelle Harmon’s words, this is the most perfect combination I’ve heard yet!
I really enjoyed the story, but the only reason that I didn't give it 5 stars is because I couldn't stand when the narrator tried to sound like a female, especially the singing parts. I think a female narrator would have been a better choice, just my opinion.
This audiobook had a good story and wild characters. It made for lively listening while driving to and from work with non-stop action. I recommend it if you like stories of ships and history.
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