Title: The Raven and the Banshee
Author: Carolyn Elizabeth
Publisher: Bella Books
Length: 250 Pages
Category: Historical Romance, Lesbian Romance
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: Strong characters and exciting action sequences are highlights of this swashbuckling adventure, along with the beautiful descriptions of the open ocean, wind in the sails, warm tropical nights, and an 18th century Nassau teeming with pirates and outcasts and renegades. But, of course, the star of this novel is the rebuilding of the relationship between Branna Kelly and her lost love, Julia Farrow.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: It’s the early 1700s and sixteen-year-old Julia Farrow, spirited daughter of a shipping company owner, lives and loves on her own terms. With a sharp mind and sharper tongue, she constantly defies family and society expectations with no regard for the consequences.
Branna Kelly, only child of an Irish immigrant sailor, is hopelessly in love with Julia and imagines their life together as captains of their own fate. Left brokenhearted after Julia’s rejection, she embarks on a journey to chart a new shipping route to the Caribbean. Before Julia can explain her decision, Branna’s ship is overrun by merciless pirates. All hands are presumed lost.
Fifteen years later, Julia is running the Farrow Company and sailing with the crew on her newest ship when an encounter with pirates leaves her the lone survivor to be rescued by the infamous Raven, hard-hearted captain of the mercenary ship Banshee. Julia is shocked to discover her rescuer wears a familiar face.
Content note: the book contains one brief scene of sexual assault and one mention of rape.
Review: “Empathy, compassion, warmth, tenderness and kindness were not words usually associated with Captain Kelly—the Raven—the person she had become. More often than not she heard herself described as cold, ruthless, savage and heartless.”
Danger and romance on the high seas is the hallmark of author Carolyn Elizabeth’s The Raven and the Banshee, the story of two young women deeply in love who are torn apart by a lie, kept apart by a presumed death, but then are miraculously offered a second chance to rekindle that lost love—if it’s not too late, if Branna Kelly hasn’t changed too much to go back, if it’s not impossible to reclaim and hold on to what they felt for each other all those years ago.
Revenge is the mainstay of Captain Kelly’s life; her every thought and action have never strayed from that singular goal since the day the ship she and her parents were aboard was attacked by pirates, and everyone except for Branna herself was lost to one man’s relentless brutality. Now known far and wide as the Raven, Branna has made a fierce and coldhearted reputation for herself, along with a crew of men who, save for a few whose loyalty is unwavering, she must constantly be vigilant of because “Mutiny was always only one mistake away.” She mustn’t show weakness, she mustn’t show mercy, she must be inexorable and unwavering. She has sworn retribution on the pirate who attacked the ship Rebellion and murdered her parents; nothing less than his destruction will satisfy.
Then the Banshee happens upon a ship that appears to be adrift and abandoned. When Captain Kelly and a few crewmen board the vessel, they witness the sort of mass carnage that only one pirate could be responsible for. And they find one lone woman shackled in the hold, filthy, nearly out of her mind with fear and grief, but miraculously still alive amongst the filth and putrescence of the long-dead crew. Left as a cruel and unusual ‘gift’ for Brenna to find.
Strong characters and exciting action sequences are highlights of this swashbuckling adventure, along with the beautiful descriptions of the open ocean, wind in the sails, warm tropical nights, and an 18th century Nassau teeming with pirates and outcasts and renegades. But, of course, the star of this novel is the rebuilding of the relationship between Branna and her lost love, Julia Farrow. Two women, one ship, a world of hurt, lust, healing, forgiveness, and reconnection are intertwined with the dangerous nature inherent to the world in which Branna lives—one where violence is guaranteed and death is a constant and credible threat.
Breaking through the hardened exterior Branna has constructed over the fifteen years since she left Charlestown, brokenhearted, is Julia’s fight, one she does not back down from easily, but one she fears she may not win. Branna is an enigma of mixed signals, still wanting Julia fiercely but believing there’s no hope for a future for them. There are more than a few stops and starts, ups and downs, before they claim each other for good, and each moment is captured in sweeping bouts of longing and frustration.
The Raven and the Banshee is a captivating book in which strong, bold, and capable women fight for what they want, face down heinous foes, conquer their challenges, and earn the respect and loyalty of the men who sign on to serve for and with them. A romance between a lady pirate and her long-lost love is not one I’ve run across often, and I adored it.
You can buy The Raven and the Banshee here:
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