Lady Charlotte Talbot hasn’t seen Armand Rajaram de Bourbon, her oldest childhood friend and once betrothed, since his family returned to India when she was fifteen. Since then, she has left a groom at the altar, changed her name to Catalina Sol, opened a house for unwed mothers and orphans, and captained a ship, the Liberté, crewed by the best fighters in the Spanish Main. She’s no longer the lady he left behind, not that she’d admit to wishing he’d return.
When Armand’s brother is kidnapped, he breaks his rule of never engaging with pirates. But desperation drives him to the Liberté and a life he thought he’d left far behind. He’d do anything to save Henri, but Armand never expected to find Charlotte here, and now that’s he’s found her, he doesn’t have a clue what to do about it.
Together, they must face kidnapping, pirate captains, blackmail, and themselves. The Liberté may sail thousands of miles from the shores of England, but that might not be far enough to escape the past.
Review: Heart and Dagger was not at all what I expected especially since the book takes place in the late 1700’s and early 1800’s both in London and at sea. It has childhood friends who drift apart when they are young and their lives are not what they anticipated while growing up. Although Armand and Charlotte grew up in London society together with their siblings, Henri and Eliza respectively, she runs away to sea to prevent an arranged marriage from taking place and he becomes a magistrate on a small island so as not to follow in his father’s footsteps. How might their lives have been changed if Armand and his family didn’t sail back to India so his dying mom could say goodbye to her family and if Armand continued to keep in touch with Charlotte? How different might their siblings lives have turned out as well?
As captain of her own ship, Charlotte now feared as Catalina Sol, has a reputation but not all of it is true. She does kind acts for those less fortunate but that isn’t something others know about her. When she and Armand cross paths again it’s because he needs to hire Catalina to rescue his kidnapped brother from a band of pirates. Imagine his shock when he finds out who Catalina really is. As they get reacquainted it’s not all good but they do still have chemistry and it was fun to watch as they got to know each other again and didn’t know where each of them stood with the other. The characters are complex and we get to know them a little at a time. There are family and friends, London society, pirates, weapons, the less fortunate, tears, anger, fear, hurt, sadness, injuries, loving and love. There are vivid descriptions throughout of the land, the sea, the ship, the businesses, the homes and the friendships. The story flowed smoothly and gave some closure with the epilogue. There were enough loose ends to bring us to the next book in the series which I look forward to reading.
Rae is a new to me author and I look forward to reading more of her books. This book was reminiscent to me of the Malory series by Johanna Lindsey and also the Heiresses in Love series by Marie Lavender.
Favorite Quote: The Dirty Hog lived up to its name. A solid inch of grease and mud lined the wooden floors, and Catalina could swear, with unflagging certainty that the large walrus of a bartender who was now wiping down steins for ale had taken that rag to the privy with him. She didn’t flinch. Seafaring pubs were not, on the whole, places for those with delicate constitutions.