Monday, January 2, 2012

Better Late Than Never: Of Noble Birth by Brenda Novak

This was the FIRST historical romance written by author Brenda Novak over twelve years ago but through a strange set of circumstances and coincidences, its publication was delayed.  Yet its story is such a feat of good writing and story development.  So I am reviewing it here in the hopes that those who really love historical romance will find it and add it to their library.  I got it through All Romance eBooks and I am so glad I did.  I immediately went back and got the next historical romance by this author and I am about half way through that one.

He Was a Man Who Took What He Wanted.
And He Wanted Her.
To escape her cruel stepfather, seamstress Alexandra Cogsworth envisioned sailing far from England . . . though not as a captive aboard a pirate's ship.  Pirate Captain Nathaniel Kent's strategy for exacting revenge on his cold-hearted father involved taking a valuable hostage . . . not a seamstress he mistakenly thinks is his half sister.
Yet fate has designs of its own, landing them both on board the Royal Vengeance. At sea, Nathaniel intercepts and plunders his father's ships, all the while tormented by his illicit hunger for the tempting prisoner he thinks is his blood relation. And although Alexandra wants no part in this terrifying voyage, to reveal her true identity to the handsome, blue-eyed Nathaniel would invite danger. Not only would she become worthless cargo, but the revelation would surely unleash what she and Nathaniel have been fiercely battling—a rising undercurrent of impossible desire that could sweep them away for good.
Some reviewers have stated that they thought there was so much in this novel because it was a first work and thus contained every thought in the author's head.  I see it differently.  I think it is one of those novels that brings the strands of several people's lives together and weaves them into a literary tapestry.  First there is the heroine--a young woman who has been abused systematically by a stepfather who is still grieving and continues to be so very angry that the woman he loved has died.  Alexandra is too great a reminder of that long departed spouse and in his alcoholic haze, his anger comes out as ever escalating abuse.  The only option is to leave and in that process she collides with the hero, a man whose agenda is very different than his.
Nathaniel Kent is the oldest son of a duke but was born with only half an arm.  Rejected as deformed, he was raised by the housekeeper until she tried to again bring into his father's household but to no avail.  Now as a grown man, Nathaniel is determined to bring his father down by pirating his father's ships.    His agenda causes him to mistake Alexandra for his half-sister, a woman who he seeks to kidnap in order to force his father to release one of his crew being held hostage.  And the story goes from there.
Add in an unexpected clash with his half-brother, a conspiracy to kill Nathaniel by his father and brother, treason, hanging, and so forth.  It is a story that is about the tangled web of hurt, anger, disappointment, and political and legal manipulation.  It's a novel that is the feast for the mind--it's for really thinking readers and those who get turned on by complicated and involved storylines and plots.
Ms Novak has written over 40 novels in the years since this novel was first written and there are a large number of those novels that have been translated into a goodly number of languages.  Suffice it to say that this is a novel well worth the time and effort to read and one that will probably become a favorite for many.   I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

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