If you enjoy the old bodice rippers, this one is a great example of the genre without the multi-partner element that many of the more 'hardcore' BRs h..Show More »ave. It's disturbing at times and I would advise treading very carefully if you are triggered by domestic abuse and consent issues. There were times when I was feeling quite upset myself. If this were a contemporary, I wouldn't have made it through. I'm able to tolerate things in a historical that I can't in a contemporary, because I try and put on the filter of the times/culture. This book is action packed and I never became bored. It also wasn't entirely predictable like some romances. Hence the rating.
Re: the audio - Justine Eyre did an excellent job with the narration. Her Charleston accent wasn't correct, but it wasn't jarring or annoying to me. I could overlook it.
John is a real pirate. He is a complete d-bag for the most part and can be quite frightening. If you want to know the level of violence toward the h, here's a spoiler.
He never slaps or punches her, but there's a lot of noncon/dubcon going on and at least one case of a rather brutal rape after she deliberately makes him jealous. He does give her a bruising bare-bottom spanking in the beginning. There are also many threats and lots of incidents of him using his "bruising grip" and calling her "bitch" and other sweet nothings. At times, he really could be the starring example in the 'How to tell if you're in an abusive relationship' pamphlet. (hide spoiler)] Anyway, I honestly only liked him for a brief period of time. Some may argue that the villain of the piece was Cathy's father, but it's John. John's insecurities, anyway. The actions of her father were clearly those of a man who loves his only child and thinks he's doing what's best for her. He went too far, but he had the social status and sense of entitlement to allow him to do things most fathers would only be able to dream about.
***** End Spoiler *****
I was surprised that I ended up loving Cathy. The first chapter sets her up to be self-centered, spoiled, willful, etc... all the things that make for your stereotypical foot stomping heroine. She was all those things, but she was also smart and able to learn from her mistakes and genuinely cared about people. She was not a malicious person even if she was always scheming and sometimes bratty. She did run off into danger once *eye roll*, but under the circumstances it didn't make me want to scream. She was a captive after all, she had to try to escape at least once. She was also 17 and extremely sheltered and privileged. Robards did a great job of taking a girl from her background with all the accompanying haughtiness of a beautiful woman of her station along with the basic self-centered ways of a teen and showing how she learns and grows. She really cracked me up at times and I found myself cheering her on. Cathy was a strong woman in the making and I loved that she didn't immediately fall in love with John. She also didn't buy the response = consent bull he was always spouting at her when she accused him of rape.
If you want an exciting bodice ripper with a pirate who's not from a Disney movie, then this is the place to go. However, as much as I enjoyed this book I'm not so sure about the sequel. It kind of depresses me to think that they may go through the same cycle of John's mistrust AGAIN. Not sure I could stomach it. I prefer to believe that he learned to trust Cathy after the 'big reveal' and stop all his ridiculous tomfoolery. At the very least, I'm going to let it sit for a while