Rating: 5 stars
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I cannot recall the last time I had so much fun reading as novel. Jez Morrow’s Scarlet Blade is an irreverent take on the old swashbuckling days of Errol Flynn and the woman he has determined to rescue. Instead, however, there is a wealthy Spanish Vaquero, Joaquin, and a humble priest, Tomas, and their adventure both at sea and on land.
The two meet on a ship bound for the new territories in America. Tomas has been caught with another priest in a less than church sanctified position and has been shipped off to America to bring salvation to the natives, i.e., the Indians. Joaquin has caused more than enough embarrassment for his family in Spain and is being shipped to his wealthy and distant father in California. The story that evolves from this point includes the two of them having a few stolen moments on board rife with one miscommunication after another.
After parting ways on shore, the two men spend desperate months apart only to discover that they are but miles from one another in the very same territory. Once again they begin their affair but this time with undeniably different results. However this is America in its infancy and Joaquin is expected to wed and nothing could be further from his true desires.
Add to this a mysterious “Robin Hood” who robs from the rich to give to the poor, an engagement between Joaquin and the Governor’s daughter Esmeralda that harbors more secrets than will ever see the light of day, and the funniest dialogue I have read in a long time, and you have a swashbuckling tale that leaves you smiling from beginning to end.
Morrow weaves a delightful tale with mystery and mayhem, hot sex, and tender love. I took such delight in getting to know her characters—and watched them as they grew and developed, becoming people who breathed life onto the page and swept me up into the stories of their lives. Her bad guys were despicable and yet never so serious as to pull down the steady pace the author set for this romantic comedy. Scarlet Blade was, in a nutshell, a delightful romp from beginning to end.
The potential for this story to get bogged down in a heavy tone, for its characters to ring false in this particular historical setting, and for the two men to never get together was fairly high. Yet because of the deft hand of the author, we find ourselves delighting in the antics of her characters and rooting for them every step of the way.
I highly recommend Scarlet Blade by Jez Morrow to you dear readers. It is a five star read!