Heart and Dagger by Holland Rae

Heart and Dagger by Holland Rae
The Ships in the Night Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Full Length (174 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

Lady Charlotte Talbot hasn’t seen Armand Rajaram de Bourbon, her oldest childhood friend and once betrothed, since his family returned to India when she was fifteen. Since then, she has left a groom at the altar, changed her name to Catalina Sol, opened a house for unwed mothers and orphans, and captained a ship, the Liberté, crewed by the best fighters in the Spanish Main. She’s no longer the lady he left behind, not that she’d admit to wishing he’d return.

When Armand’s brother is kidnapped, he breaks his rule of never engaging with pirates. But desperation drives him to the Liberté and a life he thought he’d left far behind. He’d do anything to save Henri, but Armand never expected to find Charlotte here, and now that’s he’s found her, he doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.

Together, they must face kidnapping, pirate captains, blackmail, and themselves. The Liberté may sail thousands of miles from the shores of England, but that might not be far enough to escape the past.

The series was definitely launched with a substantial start. Heart and Dagger is book one in The Ships in the Night Series and introduces the heroine, Lady Charlotte Talbot, also known as Catalina Sol. Catalina took in strays and runaways while purposely forgetting her past, which became impossible when she ran into the hero, Armand Rajaram de Bourbon whom she’s known since her childhood. Armand has a story of his own and when mixed with Catalina’s it made for an interesting debut for a new series. I enjoyed getting to know several of the characters since they were well developed, relatable and likable. I am hoping there will be a story for Catalina’s sister, Eliza and Armand’s brother, Henry, in the future.

When the synopsis mentioned that Catalina captained a ship, I was intrigued. That sounded unique and like something I’d like to read in a romance book. It turned out to be a fun and entertaining read. I enjoyed Catalina’s strength and her courage to make difficult decisions, ones that maybe would endanger her or her loved ones. It was refreshing to read a leading heroine that was confident, smart and yet could be a refined lady if she needed to be. It made her irresistible in not only in Armand’s eyes but in my eyes too. I appreciated the writing attempt in using Armand to bring out the sweet and vulnerable side in Catalina. I respected Armand’s ability to trust Catalina and let her lead yet still be in protection mode. It was a fine line for him to walk and the author did a wonderful job exemplifying that fine treading. Armand and Catalina clicked together like a fine tuned piano and together they made harmony. I enjoy knowing their relationship was healthy in the chemistry department. I was secure in the knowledge that they would eventually achieve a happy ending. Armand was a dream-worthy hero.

This was a great book to escape into while I sat in the car for eleven hours traveling home for Christmas. The plot was riveting; between the kidnapping, pirates, blackmail and the budding romance, I forgot I was stuck in holiday traffic since I was too busy flipping pages to find out what was going to happen next.

Heart and Dagger was well written and its conclusion left me with a happy book glow. I especially loved the epilogue. It is my pleasure to recommend this book.

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