Thursday, November 4, 2010

Rules of an Engagement

Rules of an Engagement by Suzanne Enoch 1103

Captain Bradshaw Carroway has always liked sea travel in being in charge of his own naval ship but with the war over things have slowed down and there aren't as many pirates to hunt. Spending time with his family makes him think there may be something in life that he's missing and that settling down may not be so bad. The Duke of Sommerset invites him to join the Adventurers Club and then enlists him to deliver a mirror to a man he met while in Tahiti. Bradshaw starts the mission but does not get far before the truth behind his excursion is made clear. He is to escort renowned botanist Joseph Ponsey and his daughter Zephyr as they go about collecting flora and fauna specimens for the Royal Society. Zephyr is not impressed with the Captain as he immediately comes across as a rogue who wants nothing more but to engage in big sea battles with no interest in reading or science.

They both get under each other's skin and although she drives him insane Shaw wants Zephyr and Zephyr admires Shaw's ability to circumvent fights rather than start them. Traveling gives them plenty of opportunities to observe how the other handles difficult situations and how caring and dedicated they each are. They get to explore several islands including one where Shaw manages to maneuver them out of a precarious situation and saves their lives. The expedition also gives Zephyr time to rethink her own path in life and she wonders if she really wants to spend the rest of her life as her father's assistant traveling around the world. A stop at the friendly island of the Tahiti with a French war ship in the next harbor forces them both to look at what they want and make some momentous decisions and take a chance on something unexpectedly amazing.

Shaw was wonderful as the caring, sensitive and commanding captain and it was clear why Zephyr fell in love with him. However Zephyr was a little hard to crack as she was rude and all he could really find to say about her was that she was so different from society misses. This was reiterated multiple times throughout the book and as it got old I wondered if there was another reason why she should be admired or loved. It quickly became apparent that these two were going to have an argue until we fall in love type relationship. This is something that's been done in lots of romance novels and I really do not get it as arguing and really not particularly liking someone does not make a good relationship and I don't see how two people fall in love like that. I think it's fine if they don't like each other and eventually get to know each other and fall in love but this was not how it occurred here.

Their mutual dislike of each other dissolved rather slowly which left only the last half of the book for any real steam to happen. There were a couple steamy scenes but nothing particularly exciting or hot although there was one fun scene where she incorporated some of the native customs. Really my favorite part of this book was Zephyr's relationship was her father and how her feelings about being his assistant for the rest of her life changed. Her love for Shaw gave her the courage to take a chance and do something new and completely different than what she had expected. I was almost completely uninterested in the expedition itself and did not feel as though the traveling through the seas and exploring the different islands really added much to the story. What was more important was his dealings with enemies and other ships and how he was more respectful of different cultures and avoided fighting.

Rating: I felt like there was not at all enough time spent on the relationship between Zephyr and Shaw, especially time with them getting along and being happy.

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