‘A Pirate’s Charm’ falls flat on its face

Written by Grace Robinson

LSM received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When she flees to Barbados in the late 1780s, the last thing Molly Bishop expects is to begin her life anew with a criminal—much less the infamous Captain Thomas Crowe. On the high seas, far from her old life and even farther from England and her uncle Samuel’s farm, Molly learns more than just the way of the outcast. Captain Crowe keeps secrets – many secrets – and possesses an extraordinary ring crafted by Molly’s father – a man she thought to be long gone.

This book was not to my liking at all. I had a lot of difficulty with following a confused plot and relating to the one-dimensional characters. Molly’s description especially irked me. As a  main character, she is very boring and essentially does nothing but scream and cry and cook for the men on the ship, while the love interest, Captain Thomas Crowe, reads like a carbon copy of most YA fiction love interests. It’s also a very white book which, in 2021, feels quite out of place when we’re trying to decolonise out bookshelves.

If you wish to read my full review containing spoilers, continue reading.

My Rating: Don’t read this book unless you want to be miserable for a week.

So, the book begins with Molly running from some men in Barbados and gets on the supposedly ‘swoon worthy’ Captain Thomas Crowe’s ship. From here they talk to each other like they’ve known each other for years, the unrealistic immediacy of their ‘chemistry’ undermining any chance of me sympathising with them as a couple.

The thing about this book is that it’s pirates and werewolves. Except nothing particularly pirate happens, apart from being set on a ship every now and then and there’s only one werewolf. There’s meant to be a mystery about who the werewolf is but Molly figures it out almost straight away, with no second guessing. Spoiler: it’s Tom. Big surprise, I know. How am I meant to relate to a character who just believes everything? If someone told me they were a werewolf or vampire I would tell them to stop being stupid and go about my day.

Both go from one place to another, where Tom gets attacked by the British Navy and Molly does nothing and stands there, a theme that continues for the rest of the book. Whilst in London where they spend a couple of months, Molly just stays inside and reads, whilst Tom galivants and London being werewolf-y.

And don’t get me started on the naff ending. Tom has this big boss fight with his brother because he’s also a werewolf and he asks Molly to kill him, which she does. Hurray. But what happens? He magically comes back to life. There’s no real sense of danger or tragedy because everything is so easily resolved. I want a book to make me weep and crush my heart, not laugh at how unrealistic it is.

As for the characters in general, like I said earlier, Molly’s portrayal feels very sexist. In order for her to allows on Captain Tom Crowe’s ship, she has to repay him in some way. And what does she do? She cooks. The one job she could’ve done and that’s cook. I want to read about a badass female protagonist who fights the British Navy, not one that cook for the people who do.

I can’t quite put into words how I feel about Molly’s physical description so here are just a few gems for you to make up your own mind up: 

“Her unrestrained breasts swung at Thomas like a pair of medieval flails.”

“His eyes wondered down her red skirt, which spilled over her backside like melted candle wax over a ripe round peach.”

“White puffy sleeves left her shoulders bare, and a tight red bodice showed her tiny waist. Molly looked like a sweet treat, perhaps a little strawberry and cream torte.”

“Tom traced the contours with his eyes and tried to imagine the smooth legs beneath her skirt. Thick, toned and glossy, they peeked at him every now and then.”

“Molly answered, inflating her chest.”

There’s also some questionable statements about consent:

This is Tom: “When you love someone, permission is completely unnecessary.”

“Molly felt attracted to him despite being repulsed by his intentions.”

Other characters in this book are so underdeveloped they hardly warrant a mention, whilst Tom, aforementioned not-so-secret werewolf, is, well, he’s just too similar to other characters I’ve read before to be interesting.

The book’s pacing is also a bit all over the place, thanks to the fact there are no chapters, just three parts. What book doesn’t have chapters? It’s something every book has and needs. The setting was never well described either, at the start I didn’t even realise that we were in meant to be in Barbados until it was mentioned later. There was also a lot of switching between perspectives that would happen to quickly and confuse me. Now if there were chapters this wouldn’t be an issues.

Overall, this book had potential but it just fell flat on its face.

Grace Robinson is a first-year English Student. She is passionate about feminism, politics and society. You can find her on instagram: @grace.lizz12

+ posts
%d bloggers like this: