March 19, 2013 (Amazon says March 26)
Paperback and E-Book 336 pages
Provided by publisher via Netflix. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions herein are my own unless otherwise noted.
At Barnes and Noble
Once ignited, a witch's carnal curiosity knows no boundsOn the run from her powerful benefactor whose unscrupulous interest in her magic has forced her to flee, Margaret Taskill has never needed a hero more. In order to gain passage from England to her homeland in Dundee, she plans to win over a rugged Scottish sea captain with the only currency she has: her virginity.Sweeping up and down the coasts of England and Scotland THE JEZEBEL is a sensual ride that I had some ambivalence about. It is well researched and written with language giving a sense of atmosphere, the story is great in some areas and in others leaves a lot of loose ends. For example, the British Navy can fly up the coast and catch a ship but they won't come after you when you steal it back? Placed in 1715 it's likely the Royal Navy would have a Garrison in a Scottish port; but 1715 is also the year of the Jacobite revolution so perhaps the troops would have more on their plates than recapturing a ship. And, when someone is killed in the naval garrison I find it hard to believe nobody goes to track the killer down or that the heroine doesn't wait and explain the incident better. Yes, there are some extenuating circumstances, but still.... It's sort of a Deus Ex Machina by omission.
Maisie submits to Captain Roderick Cameron's raw sexuality in search of protection, but as their initial attraction grows into obsessive desire, devastating powers are unleashed within her. But the journey threatens to take a dangerous turn, forcing Maisie to keep close the secret truth about what she is, and keep the superstitious crew-unhappy at having a woman on board-at bay.
With Maisie's wealthy sponsor giving chase, Roderick must stay one step ahead of the British Navy before her seductive magic causes a full-scale mutiny. He may believe he has full command of his ship, but he's about to get much more than he bargained for. netgalley.com
The erotic content is really well done, in part it is because the author uses language evocative of the period to describe the intimacy between Maisie and Roderick. I am not saying it's period language but it does have the flavor of it. I did worry that Roderick, accustomed to seeking out prostitutes, might be carrying syphilis. But, in the fantasy world of the romance novel, let's pretend that wouldn't be a concern or that Maisie could heal it.
The characters are complex and mostly quite human. The villain is really nasty, bringing to my mind a preposterously bony older man with a comb-over.
So, while aspects of the plot are a bit over the top, the general quality of the writing, the atmosphere of the story and perhaps its place in the series make it easy to forgive. And, while it is the third in the series, I didn't know that until after I finished the book. There was a bit of informational overload at times but I thought it was just to get a bunch of historical context out of the way, In fact, it was pretty deftly handled recapping of the first two novels in the series and some history.
The supernatural context is lightly explained and not the most important thing; it wasn't what I had a hard time believing. The most important theme is the change love can bring to one's life. It's the kind of feeling we get from the erotic romance as a sexual relationship brings about emotional bonds which makes the individuals stronger as well. If you enjoy a mildly supernatural historic romance, THE JEZEBEL might be just the right kind of magic for you!