REVIEW: A Pirate for Christmas: A Regency Novella by Anna Campbell
There’s a pirate in the manor house!
What is vicar’s daughter Bess Farrar to do when the dashing new earl, the man gossip paints as a ruthless pirate, kisses her the day they meet? Why, kiss him right back, of course! Now Lord Channing vows to claim the lovely firebrand, despite interfering villagers, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises mayhem – and a lifetime of breathtaking passion
Pursued by the pirate…
Bess Farrar might be an innocent village miss, but she knows enough about the world to doubt Lord Channing’s motives when he kisses her the very day they meet. After all, local gossip insists that before this dashing rake became an earl, he sailed the Seven Seas as a ruthless pirate.
Bewitched by the vicar’s daughter…
Until he unexpectedly inherits a title, staunchly honorable Scotsman Rory Beaton has devoted his adventurous life to the Royal Navy. But he sets his course for tempestuous new waters when he meets lovely, sparkling Bess Farrar. Now this daring mariner will do whatever it takes to convince the spirited lassie to launch herself into his arms and set sail into the sunset.
A Christmas marked by mayhem.
Wooing his vivacious lady, the new Earl of Channing finds himself embroiled with matchmaking villagers, an eccentric vicar, mistaken identities, a snowstorm, scandal, and a rascally donkey. Life at sea was never this exciting. The gallant naval captain’s first landlocked Christmas promises hijinks, danger, and passion – and a breathtaking chance to win the love of a lifetime.
Dear Ms. Campbell,
I bought five of your Christmas novellas last year but only had time to read four. Now I’m catching up on the last one. To be honest, I wasn’t too sure about this title but the first sentence had me laughing.
“It all started with the donkey.”
Donkeys and pirates – okay, I’ll go with that.
Bess Farrar is the managing type but then she’s had to be. With her mother deceased and her vicar father one of those typical airhead romance fathers who wouldn’t notice a bomb if it went off under him, Bess has been in charge of the household and guiding the village. It’s time for the annual Christmas play and Penton Wyck doesn’t do things by halves. If the new Earl won’t answer Bess’s letters then Bess will hound him until he does his duty. The Earls of Channing have always hosted a village holiday party for the tenants as well as supplying the donkey for the Nativity play and the new guy isn’t wiggling out of anything as far as Bess is concerned. The dratted man hasn’t taken on any household help either and the villagers need the employment opportunity.
Rory Beaton never expected to inherit the title and was sure that his (much) older brother would have married and secured the succession. No such luck. It took the lawyers a while to track him down on his Royal Navy ship and he’s had to give up a career he loved and was good at but he intends to do his duty. If that dratted Farrar besom will only stop pestering him, he’ll get things done. Then he claps eyes on the Besom and while he isn’t struck dumb, he does realize immediately that he’s finally met the woman for him. As a ‘take no prisoners” Naval captain, Rory quickly notes that Bess is just the type of woman who suits him to a T. Now …. how to quickly court her and how soon can the banns be posted?
He immediately recognized that his destiny lay with those pure features under that severely restrained luxuriance of wheat blond hair. His future had marched into the great hall, bamboozled Ned, then turned her magic on Rory himself.
This woman was meant for him. He wasn’t sure yet what he felt about it, but the conclusion was inescapable.
Rory’s a handsome man with a quick tongue and has never had problems getting a woman’s attention. When presented with Bess’s
demands requests, he spots his chance and barters a kiss for the use of Daisy the Donkey. Well, let’s just say the results bamboozle the both of them.
But Bess is a lady and no matter how Rory’s desire is raging, he’s going to do things right. This is his future Countess after all and he wants everything just so. Luckily for him, most of the villagers immediately catch on and launch themselves into the roles of matchmakers leaving Rory and Bess alone as much as possible. Knowing he can’t risk more kisses without losing his mind, Rory keeps from following up on that first shell burst of a kiss, much to Bess’s frustration. A trip out to gather greenery for the hall leads to even more aloneness and Rory bungles things, unintentionally hurting Bess’s feelings while trying to be good. Can he fix things, remember his lines for the play and win his lady fair?
There’s a lot of humor in this novella. Well, it does start off with a quest for a donkey. And it has some secondary characters who are determined that Bess and Rory will find wedded bliss. The little bits of angst keep it from being too saccharine but don’t take over the story. There was a point where I thought the wedding night was going to be anticipated but Rory pulls determination from the depths of his soul and hangs on leading to a wedding night that is explicit but also very tender and loving. And humorous too which is not easy to manage in these scenes. The end dragged just a touch but overall this is a nice, quick holiday story of an Earl determined to win the woman of his dreams. B
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