Title: Revenge of the Corsairs Heart of the Corsairs
Author: Elizabeth Ellen Carter
Genre: Historical Romance
Published by: Dragonblade, Inc.; 1 edition
Published Date: January 10, 2018
Rescued after two years as a concubine in an Ottoman harem, former debutante Laura Cappleman faces a difficult journey back to normal life. As she travels to Palermo aboard Kit Hardacre’s ship, the Calliope, she is deeply traumatized – and pregnant by her kidnapper.
Laura rejects the emotional support of her long-time admirer, Calliope First Officer Elias Nash, and her cousin, Sophia, Kit’s wife. She withdraws into herself and her art. Finally, after giving birth, she decides to return to London, hoping to erase tormented memories.
Emir Selim Omar died on the day of Laura’s rescue, but his wickedness lives on in his third wife, Rabia, in whose household Laura was held. The ruthless widow may yet hold on to the power she wielded as mother to the Emir’s only male heir. However, as opportunists pick his empire apart, her child dies.
When Rabia learns Laura has given birth to a boy, the solution is obvious – the concubine is stolen property and so is the child sired by her late husband. She will take the boy and kill anyone in the way.
As Rabia’s assassins close in, Elias – both embraced and rejected by the damaged woman he loves, uncertain she will ever return, and alone in Palermo with the child he has given his name – must take the battle to the enemy. Otherwise, there may be nothing for Laura to come home to.
My Thoughts: This story is exceptionally intriguing to me. Both protagonists struggle emotionally, creating devastating consequences. They learn life lessons of grave importance. Carter develops characters of strength and honor, living in a world not so honorable.
Laura’s emotional balance is tenuous. Her friends tip-toe around her, giving her the space to heal from the emotional wounds to her spirit. But how can she when she has an unwanted babe growing within her, a constant reminder of her days in the harem?
Elias, the second protagonist, is drawn to Laura. For two years, Kit, Elias and men eager to dispel the white slaver organization have been searching for Sophia and Laura’s whereabouts ever since they were abducted. Through a cannily planned rescue the woman were taken from the harem, killing Emir Salim Omar.
Elias has a heart of compassion. He is the knight in shining armor. He proposes to Laura, to marry her and take her babe as his own. Can Elias answer the question does he love Laura? Is Laura too damaged to accept this solution? Is this what life offers her now, after being damaged? She refuses and withdraws further into her shell reliving the horrors, even unable to take solace in painting.
Then there is Samuel, Laura’s brother who wishes to turn back time, to forget what Laura has experienced. He wants her back in England without the babe. He’s a character who wants everything back the way it was—neat and tidy in his world by burying the truth. He suffers guilt for not protecting his sister. Once she returns to England, he and his wife try to convince Laura to remain with them, expecting her to graciously accept their solution to life. She still has her babe back with Elias. Can she just walk away? Are they partially successful? But life isn’t that way, is it, kind reader? What you experience can’t be tucked away, no longer a part of you. Laura realizes she is better off not forgetting, but remembering. But what of Elias?
I enjoyed two aspects of this story immeasurably. Elias is a man of God, a man who lives the tenants of his faith. Often, we hear his inner dialog, those thoughts keep him grounded. The other part is how Laura is able to reconnect to who she is and what she has become.
I’m eager to read the third of the sequel, releasing sometime this year.