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Once a Pirate

Narrated by: Louise Barnes
Length: 7 hrs and 47 mins
Categories: Romance, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (32 ratings)

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This Story Is Seductive

Publisher's Summary

The earl of Sutcliffe has a problem - his son, Daniel, prefers men to women. After two years of marriage to Lady Kathryn Sinclair, Daniel hasn’t produced an heir. Desperate to continue his bloodline, Sutcliffe turns to his illegitimate son, Talon Montgomery. Knowing the prosperous American privateer will never do as he wishes, Sutcliffe arranges for his son to be falsely arrested for piracy.

Talon is devastated when he believes his entire crew has been executed. When he discovers Sutcliffe has interceded on their behalf, Talon is willing to do her anything to keep them safe - even seduce his sister-in-law. 

Can her tender heart survive the love of a pirate?

©2017 Tracy Seybold (P)2018 Tracy Seybold

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  • Zarah
  • St. louis, Mo
  • 09-07-19

good narration, I had problems with the story

Mechanically this was well written, and the narrator did a fine job of it. But I had a hella lot of problems with the plot. For one, while it doesn't quite sink to Bury Your Gays, it comes perilously close (more than once). What's more, it's done off-page, practically without comment and 100% without mourning. And it comes within touching distance of suggesting the gay character is gay because he was sexually abused as a child. (Though I will acknowledge that he doesn't actually die or have a tragic future, just a tragic past.)

Secondly, the "love" is so fast as to feel instant. I didn't feel this relationship AT ALL.

Third, the villain is so villainous as to be a caricature.

Lastly, Kathryn (the heroine) is married. But the book still follows the well trodden love=marriage and children pathway. Which can't really work when the woman is already and still married to someone else! (Thus the need to Bury the Gay.)

This is apparently a republication of an older work, from 2006. I feel like if I'd known that before I read it, I wouldn't have chanced it. The genre has come a long way in the past decade. The fact that the writing itself was decent makes me think I could give a newer work a chance and maybe like it.

Note: I received a credit for this book for the purpose of review. I chose to listen and review it, however.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Pirates, Romance, and Historical Fiction

Since I was a child I have loved books about or involving pirates. I have a hard time finding books involving pirates and on top of that I have a hard time finding good ones.

"Once a Pirate" ticks all of these boxes. I like that there are not a ton of characters in this book so it is very easy to keep everyone straight. There names are also all different enough which helps as well.

The Earl of Sutcliffe comes to get his illegitimate son Talon out of prison. In exchange the Earl wants Talon to produce an heir with his daughter in law Catherine, since his heir to the fortune Daniel is gay. In exchange for Talon giving the Earl an heir, Talon will also receive some land in the Carolina's that he wants badly. Catherine the daughter in law is completely unaware that Daniel (her husband) is gay. One night she wants in on Daniel and his lover. She goes to try and get the marriage annulled but with no success.

From there, there is a WHOLE lot of family drama, secrets, and lies, sprinkled with some adventure and steaminess.

I have already suggested this book to several friends. I really cannot wait for more books by Diana Bold and I hope Louise Barnes will narrate them.

I received this audiobook at my request and I provided this voluntary review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not your typical historical romance

This comment is based on a complimentary review copy of the
audiobook. A devious earl abuses and manipulates his two sons.
The story starts slowly, with the bastard son, Talon, who's spent
life as a privateer, serving time at Newgate prison. The earl
arranges Talon's release, on one condition. Talon must impregnate
his half brother Daniel's (the earl's heir) wife, Kate, to continue the
bloodline. The story has several twists and turns including an ocean
voyage, a Castaway (Tom Hanks movie) like segment, lots of sinful
taboo sex, on the way to its violent conclusion. The book is an excellent
listen, but two themes that are prevalent in this genre, detract from
its plot. The first is that the male lead can't tell the woman he loves
that he loves her, despite the female lead's having done so. The second
is the female lead's unwillingness to listen to the male lead's explanations.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

The Earl hatches a plan...

Once a Pirate by Diana Bold and narrated by Louise Barnes held my attention overall. As you read my review, know this is not my typical book (I like to venture out of my comfort zone every once in a while). I’d recommend if you’re looking for a light romance.

What’s it about? Talon is a pirate and the illegitimate son of The Earl of Sutcliffe. The Earl is looking for an heir as his other son, Daniel, is gay but married to a woman named Kate and they have yet to consummate their marriage. The Earl hatches a plan involving all three of his unwilling victims. The story goes from fairly fast-paced to the romance part about half way through. The epilogue takes place in 1814.

The couple things I didn’t care for: Why is Daniel getting mad that Talon and Kate had sex and fell in love? The only purpose I see is to create a conflict and there are better options for this book. There wasn’t a ton of “pirate” aspects, which is a bummer as that would have helped to make the story five stars. It is very predictable, but perhaps this is just the way of the romance novels.

The narrator, Louise Barnes, was a perfect fit. I enjoyed her narration and would listen to her again.

If you’re looking for a light romance with a happy ending for two of the MCs, this would be it.

Parental guidance/trigger warnings: children being sexually abused (talk of it happening in the past and a cabin boy is rescued when it is about to happen), physical and verbal abuse by father, opium addiction, prostitution, death, gun, and sex (fairly detailed). Another review mentions this and I agree with the reviewer on the “Bury Your Gays” (it was odd and made the story awkward- maybe you’ll feel differently?).


*I was given a free review copy of the audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review. Thank you for allowing me to listen and review the book!

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The Evil of One Man

This is a well-written and well- narrated book. The storyline has so many twists and turns. Just when you thought you knew the evil the one man was capable of doing, you are proven wrong. The characters are believable flaws and all. HEAs are in the choices the characters decide to make. Love the ending.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great intriguing story!

You will hate the villain in this story and fall in love with the main characters as they struggle with pains of their childhoods, the need to belong, and wrestling to find true love!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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Puppetmaster

A very intriguing story with lots of twists and romance. Two brothers, one legit one not, a woman married to one whose interests are not for her or any woman. and the father of the men who is twisted and sets a plan in motion that will alter their lives. I received a complimentary audio and this review is voluntary.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great

This was a great story. I loved the characters, the storyline. I really like the ending. This keeps your interest through the whole thing. I recommend it to all. I received it as a gift and this is my voluntary review.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderfully complex Regency romance!

Once A Pirate is a wonderfully complex Regency romance written by Diana Bold. It had everything that I enjoy in a great book - action, adventure, and intriguing characters.

The story begins when the Earl of Sutcliffe bails out his illegitimate son Talon from prison after being found guilty of piracy and treason. As the Earl’s motives are suspect, Talon is reluctant to be released, but he does so on the promise that he will be reunited with his crew of about 30 men who are supposedly working at one of Earl’s properties in the Carribean. In exchange for his release, Talon must do the unthinkable - sleep with his half-brother’s wife and produce an heir. The Earl’s legitimate son, Daniel, is gay and he hasn’t consummated his marriage in over two years. The sister-in-law, Catherine, is clueless as to Daniel’s sexual orientation and instead just thinks that her husband doesn’t desire her. For the past two years she’s been left alone to live in the country while Daniel enjoys the company of his boyfriend in London.

Nevertheless, the Earl manages to manipulate Talon, Daniel, and Catherine - some by force - and ships them off to a plantation in America. Along the way, Catherine and Daniel become friends (like siblings), and Talon truly falls in love with Catherine. There is much turmoil thrown into the mix, including a hurricane, and many machinations of the Earl to unravel. The ending was very satisfying with all loose ends coming full circle.

I listened to the Audible version of this story narrated by Louise Barnes. She did an excellent job providing different voices for all the characters. Once A Pirate is such a wonderful listen that I hope more audiobook fans find their way to it. It is highly recommended!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Perfectly swoonworthy

Words can’t express how much I loved this story. The love between Kate and Talon had me rooting for them from the start. While there are pieces of the David story arc that feel problematic when looked at through today’s world, they aren’t stark enough to really detract from the story and since this is a reprinting of an older book I chalk that up to a difference of the times.

Louise’s narration was perfect. Absolute perfection.

All in all I absolutely recommend this book and will more than likely be listening to it again and again.

I received a free copy of this audiobook at my request in return for leaving an honest review.

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  • Sara B
  • 11-23-19

Great book!

This was a delightful historical romance. It was romance loaded with adventure, decide, and intrigue. I appreciated the twist and turns. Louise Barnes narration was wonderful, I wholly enjoyed her reading of this audiobook.
I was given a free copy of this audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review

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  • Helen
  • 09-20-19

good book

The earl of Sutcliffe has a problem - his son, Daniel, prefers men to women. After two years of marriage to Lady Kathryn Sinclair, Daniel hasn’t produced an heir.
good book enjoyed it

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Profile Image for bluepits73
  • bluepits73
  • 02-21-19

Pirates and Decite!

This book was full of all kinds of betrayal and decite, it was fabulous! I loved the circumstances that the author orchestrated to bring Talon and Kathryn together. I liked that the author made Talon, the illegitimate son and pirate, more noble than his aristocratic family. This had a couple twists and turns and was well written. Talon, Kathryn and even Daniel were entertaining and delightful characters. A great pirate romance!

I thought the narrator did a fantastic job in this performance. Everything was clear and we could easily distinguish between characters even though she spoke with a slight Brittish accent. The accent is just enough to indicate the time period and setting but not so much that it overpowers the story. Her narration made this an enjoyable afternoon listen.

I received a review copy at my request and have voluntarily left this unbiased review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Kate
  • Kate
  • 01-22-19

Romance, adventure, and intrigue on the high seas

Once a Pirate is a sweeping historical romance full of family secrets, betrayal, passion, and adventure which spans the Atlantic.

In Regency London the only thing the Earl of Sutcliffe dislikes more than his son, Daniel Sinclair, falling in love with another man is that Daniel has also failed to provide the family with an heir. The Earl decides it is time to reconcile with Daniel's estranged brother, Talon Mongomery; the illegitimate son Sutcliffe disowned long ago. If, that is, Talon is willing to strike a deal to seduce his sister-in-law...

The story follows Talon as he grows closer to the innocent, alluring Kathryn Sinclair, and the burden of the contract he has with his father weighs heavier upon his conscience.

Kathryn's strength and vulnerability are well balanced, and often matched by Talon's. I'm glad that Daniel's proclivities were treated sensitively (given the period), with him understood to be just as much a victim of his father's Machiavellian schemes as his unsuspecting wife and errant brother.

Louise Barnes is a wonderful narrator, whose voice deftly conveys the emotion of the characters and helps immerse the listener in a rich and compelling story. Her experience filming the tv drama Black Sails may have contributed to her performance and I think it particularly helped her bring the wayward crew and tempestuous ocean crossing to life.


My only issue with this audiobook was the occasional use of what felt to be rather anachronistic language. The book ends in 1814, which means that the majority is set in c1810. Phrases like "...a child caught stealing from the cookie jar," and "I like the way your mind works," felt too contemporary. A little research suggests that the earliest known reference to 'cookies' was in 1703 when it referred to Scottish buns, but Ngram suggests 'cookie' only gained widespread popularity in literature in the 1900s in both British and American English. In American English it originates from the Dutch, koekje, meaning 'little cakes' and it did not become recognisably Anglicised for some time. Therefore, whilst it would not be impossible for Talon to have made the comparison, it is unlikely to have been synonymous with a guilty expression at that time. It would have been a nice little nod to the word's etymology if an earlier Dutch variant had been used to modify the phrase.

Another jarringly contemporary comment, "...isn't he just the cutest little kitty you've ever seen in your life?", also stood out for the wrong reasons. In that era 'cute' still meant 'shrewd' or 'clever', and would not really emerge as slang for 'sweet' or 'adorable' until much later. It was such a modern mode of address that it felt very out of place, at a time when the characters were being portrayed as having finally settled and in a home of their own. Though a very small and relatively insignificant moment, it did detract from the authenticity of the tale.

I did enjoy the audiobook despite it lacking a little research, and containing a blip in the editing on Chapter 14. My current gold-standard for fun, sultry, lightweight, historical romance is Tessa Dare, and this audiobook compared favourably - though the steamier scenes are not explored in as much detail and there are fewer humorous moments. It was the first title I have heard by this author but I'll definitely add more of Diana Bold's audiobooks to my wishlist when they become available. If you're a fan of the genre, or are just looking for an easy listen which is performed well and driven by romance and intrigue, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

*I received this audiobook free of charge in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Sarah
  • 11-17-18

<br />

Loved the narrator! She did a wonderful job of bringing the each character to life.