Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Blue Enchantress: Reviewed

Today I'm reviewing MaryLu Tyndall's new book, The Blue Enchantress. On Thursday, I'll be interviewing MaryLu, so be sure to come back!

Betrayed by the man she longed to marry, Hope Westcott finds herself on an island in the Caribbean being auctioned off as a slave to the highest bidder.

Raised in an unloving home and after enduring a difficult childhood, Hope's search for love and self-worth have led her down a very dangerous path. All she ever wanted was to find true love and to some day open an orphanage where she could raise children with all the love she never experienced as a child. But how can a woman with a sordid past ever hope to run an orphanage, let alone attract the love of an honorable man?

Determined to overcome the shame of his mother's past, Nathaniel Mason worked for many years to build his own fleet of merchant ships in an effort to finally acquire the respect of Charles Towne society. Ignoring the call of God on his life to become a preacher, he forges ahead with his plans for success at a distant port in the Caribbean, when he sees a young lady he knows from Charles Towne being sold as a slave.

In an effort to save Hope, he is forced to sell one of his two ships, only to discover that her predicament was caused by her own bad behavior. Angry and determined to rid himself of her as soon as possible, Nathaniel embarks on a journey that will change the course of his life.

If you've known me for awhile, you'll know I love a good pirate story. And since M.L. Tyndall is known for writing a great pirate story--complete with romance, swashbuckling adventures, and feisty heroines--you would think I would have gobbled up everything she's written. I'm embarrassed to say The Blue Enchantress was my first Tyndall read, but it definitely won't be my last.

The story opens up with Hope being auctioned at the slave market in St. Kitts. Of course things are looking dire. It seems pretty obvious why the lecherous old men are bidding for Hope. Apparently their plans are also obvious to Nathaniel Mason, who sees what's going on and recognizes Hope from Charles Towne. Even though he barely knew Hope back home, except for her occasional haughty snubs, he realizes he has to save her. It's his Christian duty. So Nathaniel sells his ship to raise the money to buy her, intending to escort her home to Charles Towne. That part of his plan, at least, succeeds, but it doesn't make him particularly happy.

I appreciated the fact that Nathaniel, as a sincere Christian man, consistently tried to do the right thing--and frequently hated every minute of it. I've been there myself. I want to please God and help people and make noble sacrifices. But then I find myself feeling grumpy and used and having to overcome a bad attitude in spite of my grand gestures. So Nathaniel's moods seemed quite human to me.
By no means wealthy, Nathaniel has struggled to raise himself from poverty, become a captain, and build two ships of his own. Now Hope has single-handedly wiped out half his fleet. It would be different if he could bask in her gratitude, congratulate himself that he had saved an innocent maiden from a terrible fate. But he can't help but feel that Hope has brought most of her troubles on herself by throwing herself at men--even married ones.

Even after being rescued by Nathaniel, Hope faces her own struggles. The man she thought she loved has betrayed her. In fact, he's the one who left her to be sold into slavery. The whole business has shocked her into wanting to reform her life, but that seems easier said than done. Her reputation prejudices most women against her and causes men to expect the wrong things from her. More and more, she finds that the only man she wants anything from is Nathaniel. She would like to have his good opinion, but after their bad beginning things just get worse. One misunderstanding follows another, and poor Nathaniel seems to suffer nothing but bad luck when she's around. By the time she's finished with him, well...let's just say he should have been grateful he had even one ship left.
To earn their passage to Kingstown, where his one remaining ship is waiting for him, Nathaniel hires himself out as a navigator on another vessel. But soon a freak storm causes them to be shipwrecked and stranded for a time on an island. Rescue comes in a strange form--pirates! (I had been wondering when the pirates would show up.)

My two favorite characters played a large part in the story during this period. Captain Poole, the pirate captain, was strong and menacing, but could be persuaded to do the right thing. Poole apparently had a brush with God sometime in his past that caused him to be intrigued with Abigail, a young missionary who was marooned along with Hope and Nathaniel. There was no easy, convenient conversion for Captain Poole--at least not yet. But I have hopes for his future, especially if he shows up in another Tyndall book. And let's hope he does!
The Blue Enchantress is the middle book of a three-part series. I didn't find myself at all confused by not having read book one (The Red Siren), but I was intrigued enough that I'll probably go back and read it now. Loose ends are tied up pretty well for Hope and Nathaniel by book's end, but another adventure is beginning, so if you want more, you won't be disappointed.


  1. This book sounds yummy! And I think I even have a copy around here somewhere. I want to read it!

  2. Thank you, Robin, for the wonderful review!! I'm so glad you understood what I was trying to do with my characters.
    And thanks for having me on your blog..
    Waving at Melanie!

    God Bless,

  3. Awesome! I love Pirates and romance too! Did MaryLu participate in the recent "talk like a pirate" day? I hope so!!!