Author: Cheryl Howe (Leisure)
Period: American-Colonial/Revolutionary (1775 South Carolina/Carribbean)
Cheryl Howe offers a standard Revolutionary pirate/privateer yarn. Sadly, the setting is the most interesting thing about The Pirate's Jewel.
Jewel is a barmaid and illegitimate daughter of a long-lost pirate. She has guarded a treasure map for him since childhood while patiently awaiting his return. When a man appears to claim the treasure map it isn't her father, but his protégé. Nolan claims her father is dead and offers to purchase the treasure map to allow her a life of ease. Jewel leverages Nolan's arrival as an opportunity to escape a life of drudgery and an arranged marriage to a ill-favored widower. She demands to accompany him on the treasure hunt. Nolan, who had organized the mutiny that he believes sentence her father to death, desperately avoids telling Jewel the truth of her father's disappearance.
Their attraction begins almost instantly and the shipboard romance and quickie wedding that follow are pretty standard. Cheery crewmates and predictable adventure abound. The crux of the conflict between Jewel and Nolan is her long-lost father. Jewel has a child's naiveté about her wastrel father that shapes her entire world view. She has imagined him as a plaster saint who is nothing like the real pirate was abandoned and used her at his convenience.
Surprise(not)! The dead father turns out to be not-so-dead. Howe couldn't have telegraphed this plot point anymore if she tried. Jewel is deeply conflicted over who to side with in the resurfaced blood feud between her allegedly beloved husband and her self-serving father who never returned for her. This isn't an easy choice for her. Huh? Not even after her father attempts to drown Nolan in cold blood. Nolan would be a doormat here if he seemed to give a damn about his wife's lack of commitment to their marriage. Loving his wife and hating her father seem to be the only emotions he is allowed.
Howell's writing is fair to good, but her character in A Pirate’s Jewel have the subtly and nuance of shadow puppets. Meh!