Sunday, December 25, 2022

Splendor by Catherine Hart


When my friend Heather texted me a picture of the gorgeous stepback inside this book, I was like, "OMG, did you buy that? Do you wanna BR?" Because as it turns out, I've been craving a pirate romance for a while and this was just the thing to send me back out onto the literary high seas like a scurvy sea dog setting sail.

SPLENDOR is SUCH a weird book, though. I have read a number of pirate romances and I've never picked up anything like this, for better or for worse. Devlin is a successful and rather feared (albeit gentlemanly) pirate, but one day he and his falcon are struck by St. Elmo's fire in a storm, and faster than you can say "great balls of lightning," he and his bird both turn invisible.

Eden lives with her mother and is being courted by a schemer who wants to use her father's business for ill. He's not afraid to leverage her debts to do it too. But the answer to her problems comes in unexpected form, when pirates arrive to Charles Town, where she lives, and it turns out she's the only human alive who can see the invisible pirate Devlin in the flesh. Also, when she touches him, he briefly turns visible. WHAT.

You can imagine the kinds of shenanigans this turns up, but just in case you can't, it involves late-night schemes, fires, suspicious mothers, nosy maids, and even Blackbeard the pirate himself. It's also a bit of a makeover story because Eden starts out a tall and awkward wallflower heroine, but ends up developing confidence-- not just in her appearance but later, in her sexuality-- which was kind of refreshing because it was her inner changes that ended up making her more beautiful. 

I'm giving this a 2.5 because it went on way too long. About 100 pages too long, actually. It felt like the author was just circling around to bulk up the page count. And even though the banter was cute, eventually it got a little tiresome because it felt like Eden and Devlin didn't really accomplish anything with their bickering. I like romantic fights to be emotionally constructive. This was definitely the most non-rapey pirate romance I've ever read, though. I'd recommend it to people who like happy, cutesy reads. This read like Jude Deveraux or something from the Love Spell imprint from Dorchester. I didn't hate it but it ended up being not too my taste. Don't forget to check out Heather's review, too!

2.5 out of 5 stars

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