4 stars

Historical Romance Review: Sea Fires by Christine Dorsey

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Plot

Sea Fires, a Zebra Lovegram written by Christine Dorsey, features bookish yet feisty Miranda Chadwick as the heroine, who’s embarking on an ocean voyage home to the colonies. Her only interests are her microscope (which had specially ground lenses designed by the Leuwenhoek himself) and examining the animalcules of various flora and fauna. (If I ever have to hear that irritating word “animalcule again,” I swear I will go screaming around like a raging madwoman.)

Our dashing hero is Captain Gentleman Jack Blackstone, who has to avenge the death of his family at the hands of the evil Spanish. (Sigh, I’ve seen that plot before, many TIMES over. Why can’t other folks be the bad guys in these pirate stories? Oh, well. Que sera sera.)

Miranda’s father has some shady dealings with Jack, as he is a smuggler himself. He’s under investigation and convinces Jack to kidnap Miranda for several weeks until the magistrate leaves town. Miranda is such a do-gooder that she won’t think twice about ratting out Jack to anyone and everyone, thus exposing his—and her father’s—pirate enterprise.

But Jack’s no villain. Jack is a pirate, but he was forced into the lifestyle to seek revenge. His soul was destroyed, and he can never hope for a genuinely happy life. He never wanted to be a pirate. He says this over and over so often that… Gar! Enough! I had visions of Jerry Seinfeld in a ruffled white shirt whining repeatedly, “But I don’t wanna be a pirate!”

Miranda battles wits with Jack as they fight their attraction. Miranda spends much of her time on the ship getting to know the individual men who make up the crew: tough grizzled sailors with names like Scar, King, and Phin. But no, these aren’t rough buccaneers, just solid, salt of the earth guys who got into a bad situation and appreciate an elegant lady on board. She educates them on biology, and they are charmed by her beauty and brains.

Sea Fires, Christine Dorsey, Zebra, 1992, Franco Accornero cover art

Final Analysis of Sea Fires

Despite the well-worn setup, this romance is sweetly entertaining. The love scenes were erotic and a tart sense of humor shone throughout the book. It was funny but just a little too cutesy for me to consider it a perfect read.

I’ve read Christine Dorsey’s Sea Fires twice; the first time liked it. However, I enjoyed it more the second the around as it was just the right book at the right time. Last month was a bit crazy, and Sea Fires was a pleasant diversion from it all.

This is the first in a series of a generation of sea-faring Blackstones. I might give those a try. As far as Zebras romances go, Christine Dorsey appears to have been one of the more talented authors in their writer’s stable.

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