Heat Factor: Entry Level Hotness.
Character Chemistry: Immediate and dreamy.
Plot: Epic adventure of self-discovery… and romance… on the high seas.
Overall: True love lasts a lifetime.
Erin and Ingrid found these books at the library in 1999 or 2000. We don’t know which, but that’s the ballpark. We loved them so much we bought copies of them wherever we could find them (they’re out of print).
Erin took them to Mexico with her in 2013 and just plopped in a hammock and read them back to back. Ingrid read them in 2015 when recovering from childbirth. What we’re trying to say is–these books have legs.
So here we are–it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. AND it’s Throwback Thursday. So we’re reaching into our back pocket to pull out our favorite pirate series (although he’s not REALLY a pirate, he’s TECHNICALLY a privateer, it’s important to Erin that we get that right, and there IS actually a corsair in the mix here) and you’re gonna love it.
Let’s begin. The story starts with Rosalia Maria-Luisa Unity Fielding stuck in true drudgery working as a seamstress while her father drinks his life away in his pub in Campeche, Mexico. (Erin says that’s on the Northern coast of the Yucatan. She wanted to be sure you knew that.) Obviously, Rosie is destined for something more awesome. So when she literally runs into Raider Lyons, and then he accidentally shoots her father and burns down her home, the Pub, you know amazing things are about to happen. (Ingrid says, sidenote, Raider is a 10. Super, super cute. None of the middle school boys could ever live up to Raider Lyons. He can burn down my “house” anytime.)
Basically, Raider saves Rosie by bringing her into his misfit crew–and the thing we think makes this series so cool is that although there’s always an undercurrent of romance, Rosie really ends up going through a personal journey with this motley band of sensitive, sweet, loving, American privateers and grows into herself. And by the time Rosie decides what direction she really wants her life to go in, Raider has been kind of floating into and out of her life, sparking feelings and becoming someone she really trusts and counts on.
The books start off with just a few characters, but we’re soon introduced to the rest of our misfit band, and they grow on a person. It’s like your favorite TV show with an ensemble cast, and you get to know and come to love all the characters, not only a couple of primary ones. You miss them when they’re not there, especially when the books are over.
Raider and his right hand, Nicodemus, dump Rosie on Raider’s partner’s (Octavia’s) vessel, where Rosie has her first adventure, getting to know new people who LOOK fierce but have hearts of gold. Then because getting kidnapped once isn’t enough, she’s abducted by a dastardly English captain (whom she thought was a stand-up guy when she was living with her English father in Campeche–boy, was she wrong), held in the brig, and then re-abducted by Raider. And that’s only the first book.
Raider is terribly wounded when he rescues Rosie from the English ship, so the second book is off to an exciting start as Rosie and Nicodemus fight Raider’s fever while also trying to keep the ship upright during storms at sea. Eventually, the ship limps into the island cove hideout shared by the crews of both ships. Everyone comes together to save Raider, and then Octavia’s crew sails away (Erin and Ingrid crying along with Rosie at having to say goodbye to that crew). Never fear! We have more adventure on the horizon, because the aforementioned corsair, Jean Laffite, arrives to lighten the increasingly angsty mood and make Raider all kinds of jealous.
Raider, in a fit of jealous pique and fatalism, declares that he’s taking Rosie to England where her aunt lives. HELLO BOOK THREE. Book Three is *the hottest*. Erin and Ingrid love Book Three. Book Three contains what became Erin and Ingrid’s first steamy scene, and it happens in a cave. This was memorable. It was also interrupted by smugglers AND Nicodemus, which was hilarious. Without spoilers, we’ll just say that in Book Three Raider continues to make decisions with his “overdeveloped sense of responsibility” and Rosie fearlessly makes decisions that alter everyone’s futures. OH! By the way, they’re also looking for Raider’s lost twin brother this whole time. Oops.
If you are lucky enough to get your hands on this series, consider yourself blessed. These books presented us with characters who were imperfect, loveable, fearless, and sexy. It doesn’t even matter that it’s YA, OR that you have to read all three books to get your happily-ever-after. This series stayed with us forever, and we’re going to read our copies until they fall apart in our hands.
Jean Ferris, if you by chance ever read this, perhaps you could consider an e-book because Erin’s copies are looking a little iffy.
Rosie and Raider for ever. Love, Erin and Ingrid.
PS: Holly here. You can actually get these books, as they were re-released in 2005 (albeit with waaaaaaay lamer covers). Erin and Ingrid are being drama queens. But yes, make an e-book.