Hawkins, Karen. Catherine and the Pirate. Avon, 2002. ISBN 978-0064473460 264 pp. $
Feisty Catherine embarks on an adventure to rescue her brother, who has not been lost at sea as presumed but kidnapped. When his pirate friend Derrick comes to her aid, it is inevitable that the two fall in love with the typical song and dance: she likes him, but doesn’t think he sees her as a woman, he agonizes over not being good enough, they argue, they make up, they kiss and are excited and regretful, yadda, yadda, yadda, etc, etc, etc.
The romance itself is too tame to be believable; in spite of all the desperate longing, the momentous first kiss is the only racy moment. Chastity and virtue until marriage are all well and good, but not necessarily historically accurate any more so than today. And let’s face it: the real reason teen girls read Harlequins and the like is for the racy moments! This tale fails to deliver.
The local Boston setting may have some appeal. What makes the book a mild success are the historical details and happy ending. Cover art that imitates Avon’s line of romance for adult readers doesn’t quite work for the teen crowd; marketers would do better to find a more unique style for their younger audience.
The series has been uneven so far. The ones written by young adult authors tend to be better than the ones written by romance authors, and this title is no the best in this new series of bodice rippers geared towards teens. Stock characters, over dramatization, and simplification of attraction and love may insult some teen readers. A good addition if your romance collection needs beefing up, but add balance with books like Kate Cann’s Coll & Art quartet and Louise Plummer’s The Unlikely Romance of Kate Bjorkman (Laureleaf, 1997).