“Love isn’t a decision. It arrives unannounced, breeds madness, and leaves a sea of ruin in its wake.”
Bennett Sharp rebelled against the “proper upbringing” her mother forced on her and wanted to live at sea with her pirate father. While that dream never happened, Bennett is now a pirate captain commanding her own ship. She knows she’s wanted for her piracy crimes, but she does not live in fear of most men. Priest Farrell is another story though. The man will stop at nothing to win Bennett back, but Bennett isn’t interested in Priest’s cheating ways and his betrayal of her heart, and Priest won’t even tell her the full story.
When Bennett is captured by the pirate hunter, Lord Ashley Cutler, Bennett has to constantly think of an escape plan, but Ashley doesn’t know that Priest will hunt Bennett to the end of the world if needed. Bennett also doesn’t understand her attraction to the gorgeous but cold pirate hunter and while her mind might tell her no, her body doesn’t exactly want to listen. There are also others that are hunting them and life on the open sea brings violence and terror. But Bennett is also caught between two men that should be enemies, and when secrets are revealed, no one’s heart will be safe.
When I saw the description for Sea of Ruin, I had the strong feeling it would be a great book for me. Bennett Sharp is a strong heroine living in a time long ago in a distinctly man’s world. The book takes place in the earlier 1700s in a time where women were seen as property and often something to be violated. They certainly weren’t pirate captains of their own ship.
The writing here is sharp and quick and there is high adventure and a cascade of movement throughout the entire book. The book opens when Bennet is 14 years old and then jumps to when she is 21 and stays there for the remainder of the book. There is little down time in this story and Bennett has much to live through, as well as overcome.
Bennett is shown at first as a hard-hitting pirate captain, but as the story progressed, with her being female and 21, it was clear to see how in over her head she was when up against older, harder, stronger men. Priest is also a pirate and we get caught up on their history quickly and these two can toy with each other in the best of ways. Priest is introduced at a time when he and Bennett are estranged. It was a smart move to introduce him in this manner because there isn’t enough time to become too attached to him and his relationship with Bennett before Bennett is taken prisoner by Ashley. And Ashley is the opposite of Priest and the opposite of Bennett. Bennett falls for her captor, even though her heart also still belongs to Priest, but they haven’t had any time to work their stuff out. She does fall a little fast for my tastes, as Ashley is not exactly kind to her, but you have to go with the trope that Bennett can see beneath Ashley’s cruel exterior.
There is a set up for what is supposedly a twist in the plot here, but there are enough clues that I figured it out early on and it wasn’t exactly the jaw dropping bombshell I think the author might have been going for. The author writes predominantly m/f books and, while this book is mostly that on the surface, there’s another story beneath that surface that causes some truly interesting ripples.
The book is told from Bennett’s first person POV, but despite that, there was a distance to some of the scenes that left me feeling removed. While it lessened some of the violence and trauma, it made some areas come off more watered down. The ending, for all that happens in this book, and for how hard they had to fight for that ending, was a little too easy for me as some things fell into place quickly and others happened off page.
This book is close to 500 pages and is a gripping adventure that will hook you quickly from the cover and aims to not let up until the last page. I have already looked into other books from this author and Sea of Ruin will sit high on my 2020 shelf.