Title: Captain of My Heart
Author: Danelle Harmon
Publisher: Windward Press
Release Date: December 2013 (1992)
Length: 514 pages
Series?: Heroes of the Sea #2 / Officers and Gentlemen #1
Genre: Historical, Romance
Excitement heralds the arrival of Captain Brendan Jay Merrick, a dashing privateer whose daring sea battles against His Majesty’s fleet have made him a legend in the American colonies. Brendan has plans for the Ashton Shipyard to build his magnificent new schooner. But one look at the handsome Irishman, and Ashton’s daughter Mira is making plans of her own . . .
Mira Ashton – queen of schemes and mistress of spunk – disguises herself as a crew member and sneaks aboard the newly built Kestrel to become the schooner’s sharpest gunner … and the captain’s most outrageous distraction. As passions flare, desire explodes with the turbulence of an angry sea with Mira competing against Kestrel for Brendan’s love. But when tragedy strikes, Mira must join forces with her mighty rival in a daring adventure that turns the tide of battle and brings glorious victory to the colonists, the captain … and the lady who has captured his heart.
Brendan Merrick is half-Brit, half-Irish who runs a well-oiled, loyal crew for the Royal Navy. When Brendan discovers one of his own is cruelly mistreating others, he sets out to put an end to it. Richard Crichton, Merrick’s immediate subordinate, isn’t going to have everything taken from him.
He shoots Eveleen Merrick, shattering her hand. Then he turns the gun on Brendan, with the force of the blow knocking him overboard. Crichton tells the tale that Brendan was a traitor and is believed. Crichton is then promoted, effectively taking Merrick’s position.
Across the pond in America, the Revolutionary War is brewing. Mira Ashton is an zealous patriot. She dresses like a man, fights like a man, sings bawdy songs like a man, but rescues stray cats and brings them home as “rescue efforts.” Her brother is a privateer who leads his crew to rob or sink British ships. Needless to say, Mira knows her way around a ship.
Brendan eventually washes ashore in America. At first assumed to be a spy for the British, he reveals himself to be the Ashton’s newest client. Brendan has a ship design that is unlike any other. Everyone tells him it can’t work; this isn’t done. He persists, insistent it will make Mira’s father famous and wealthy. Brendan names his new ship Kestrel and it is a ship to behold.
The Ashton family in itself also provides an amusing scene whenever two or more are present in a scene. It is clear there is a great love and fondness among them, but also some rather short tempers. They are also pretty strong-willed and hard-headed.
Eveleen does reappear in the book. While she and Mira do not get on, they do eventually forge a connection and Mira helps Eveleen not only face her issues with her weight and help her in those endeavors, but she also encourages Eveleen to also face her mangled hand. To see these topics being addressed and Eveleen so developed as a secondary character were nice additions to the plot.
The romance was sweet to watch build and come to fruition. The interaction between all of the ensemble cast was excellent reading, and Crichton the villain doesn’t disappear or disappoint as a great-to-hate villain.