England and France 1784
Cast out by his noble father for marrying the woman he loved, Jean Donet took to the sea, becoming a smuggler, delivering French brandy and tea to the south coast of England. When his young wife died, he nearly lost his sanity. In time, he became a pirate and then a privateer, vowing to never again risk his heart.
As Donet’s wealth grew, so grew his fame as a daring ship’s captain, the terror of the English Channel in the American War. When his father and older brother die in a carriage accident in France, Jean becomes the Comte de Saintonge, a title he never wanted.
Lady Joanna West cares little for London Society, which considers her it’s darling. Marriage in the ton is either dull or disastrous. She wants no part of it. To help the poor in Sussex, she joins in their smuggling. Now she is the master of the beach, risking her reputation and her life. One night off the coast of Bognor, Joanna encounters the menacing captain of a smuggling ship, never realizing he is the mysterious Comte de Saintonge.
Can Donet resist the English vixen who entices him as no other woman? Will Lady Joanna risk all for an uncertain chance at love in the arms of the dashing Jean Donate?
Because of his turbulent relationship with his father; basically, Jean’s father didn’t approve of Jean’s lifestyle or of Jean’s marriage, and soon he was cast out of the family. At first, everything was fine until his beloved wife passed away, losing his wife and being turfed out of the family did have a huge effect on the enigmatic Jean, he completely ditched everything to do with his aristocratic roots and set sail.
He becomes a legendary pirate and then privateer, never wanting to become close to another woman and risk losing it all yet again, vowing to only open his heart to the sea. That is until he glimpses a vivacious, beauty with a temper as fiery as her hair. But can the Lady smuggler lure the pirate into opening his heart?
Lady Joanna is just as reluctant at risking her heart as Jean, she has vowed she will never be shackled to a man in wedlock, and she won’t have her every move governed to her by a man. She has her own mind and she knows exactly what she wants to do with her life, and that is to build up her smuggling ring to further help the less fortunate people in her village everything is going exactly to plan until two things happen. One, she gets her first look at the notorious Captain of the black smuggling ship; La Reine Noire. Secondly, she meets the elusive and mysterious Comte De Saintonge. Both the Captain and the Comte capture and intrigue her, but what she doesn’t realise is that both are the same man and more importantly will she take a chance?
Oh, my word!! How much do I love this? I cannot say enough good things about it, Echo in the Wind is a beautifully written story, it’s thrilling and exciting but yet the love story is so tender. Our lead man really steals every scene he is featured in, there isn’t anything about this that I don’t like!
Jean is a proud man, a strong man who has worked hard to gain absolute respect and trust from his crew of pirates. The relationship between him and his crew is rock solid there are equal amounts of respect between them and their Captain, and he treats his men properly. I have always believed that you can very easily judge a man’s character on how he treats their staff/crew and going by that alone you know that Jean is a kind but forceful leader, he treats them with the respect they deserve and he is the kind of leader that won’t have a member of his crew do something if he isn’t willing to do it himself. He doesn’t lord it over them his crew are his equals, he is a brilliant Captain who knows the seas and his ship like the back of his hand.
Jean is a very distinguished man, a man in the prime of his life he is a robust commanding and enthusiastic Captain who knows what he wants and will do anything he can to get it.
“If a tiger can don the disguise of a kitten and be convincing. But I know ye well, Capitaine, and no matter what clothes ye wear today, I see ye all in black standing on the prow of yer ship, yer eyes full of menace, a sword and knife dangling from yer waist and pistols shoved into yer belt.”
Because of his estrangement from his family, Jean finds it difficult to act like the Comte once he has gained the title after the deaths of both his father and his brother. He doesn’t like all pomp that goes with the title, such as dressing up to the nines and having to make polite conversation with bigoted, high and mighty spoilt people of the ton, he is so much more comfortable in his black pirate’s clothes bellowing orders while steering his ship through a storm. But he does his duty and that’s when he spot’s a beautiful woman who has a fiery personality that matches her hair.
Now I do like a heroine that knows her own mind and Lady Joanna is just that, she is spunky, intelligent and she has got this incredible kind heart.
She has got more courage than your average man, she is bold and brassy and immensely headstrong and she genuinely cares for the people of her little village. The reason why she started smuggling in the place is that the people from her village were starving, so she started smuggling in food eventually her little enterprise got bigger and bolder and she now smuggles in tea and brandy from France.
It is during one of these times that she gets her first glimpse of the pirate Jean Donate. That first sighting of him standing aboard his black smuggler’s ship, with a pistol and sword strapped to his lean waist that intrigued her. And I’m not surprised!
‘Donet appeared like a black panther that had crept in amongst the sheep….’
She is such a little firecracker with a fiery personality that is nearly as fiery as her vivid hair, she is like a caged fox just wanting to break free of the constraints of society and her brother’s matchmaking.
This is just so unbelievably good! It is an exciting tale, the relationship between Jean and Joanna is steamy and tender. They are a sensual and seductive couple, who you like instantly. It has everything you would ever want in a Historical Romance, intelligently written, atmospheric and engrossing.
A hero who can make any woman swoon with just a smouldering look, he is an enigmatic and suave individual who has breath-taking Gaelic confidence and charisma. A heroine, who is not a wilting wallflower she is a vibrant and strong-willed, independent woman who has her own beliefs and views on the world and she isn’t afraid of voicing them. Together these two are a force to be reckoned with, but they complement each other too.
‘Joanna wondered if so elegant a man could, in truth, be a pirate.
Still, she could not deny the air of mystery about him or the intense fire in his dark eyes.
’Twas as if Lucifer himself had paid them a visit.’
The plot is the pièce de résistance of this, it is a resounding success. You have smuggling, pirating, shootings and emergency surgery at sea, done by the Captain no less. It is action-packed from the very start and all wrapped up with some incredible Historical facts.
I just love it!
I have been hooked with Walker’s work since reading the amazing Viking Warrior’s she draws you in with her skill and knowledge, she ignites a fire in your imagination that makes you believe that you have left your comfy chair and you are in another time and place and this is no different. In fact, this is something special. Echo in the Wind is flawless, it flows seamlessly it takes you on an exhilarating adventure through a dark and dangerous time, you become absorbed into the era and you never want to leave.
I cannot recommend this enough, this is a complete and utter triumphant Historical Romance.
This was an ARC via the author in return for an honest review.
Echo in the Wind is released on 23rd May and can be purchased on Amazon.