Come then, and I’ll tell you the tale of the Gypsy Hawk and her wily captain – the infamous Zachary Hazard …’
To Amelia Dauphin, freedom is her most prized possession and she will stop at nothing to keep it. Daughter of a Pirate King and the youngest captain in her father’s fleet, she lives on the island of Ile Saint Anne, where pirates roam free and liberty reigns.
Zachary Hazard, captain of the Gypsy Hawk, hasn’t been seen on Ile Saint Anne for six years but his reputation precedes him. To Zach, liberty is the open water and he has little time for the land-bound pirate island.
But when he hears that Amelia’s people could be in danger, he has no choice but to return. And what begins then is a desperate fight for freedom and a legend in the making…
Publisher and Release Date: Choc Lit, February 2015
RHR Classifications: Time and Setting: 1716, 1720 on the high seas, Ile Sainte Anne, and England, told in flashback from 1848 Genre: Historical romance adventure Heat Level: 1.5 Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Maria Almaguer
This thrilling adventure tale, the first historical romance by Sally Malcolm, opens in 1848 and is told in flashback about the legend of an infamous ship, The Gypsy Hawk, and its equally infamous captain, Zachary Hazard.
This is a gritty, raw, and real love story but the hero and heroine, Amelia (Amy) and Zach, hold their passion close to their hearts for almost the entire novel, and is only revealed by Ms. Malcolm in teasing bits and pieces. There’s a constant push and pull where both are fighting their feelings as both are stubborn and cling to their principles and pride. But it also sometimes makes for a frustrating and angsty read. I often wondered when they would ever admit their feelings and finally get together which had me quickly turning the pages, hanging on to every word and action.
Amy Dauphin is a rather spoiled and unsullied young woman who exudes a tough girl attitude while viewing the world through rose-colored glasses. She’s the privileged and only daughter of James Dauphin, a man with idealized dreams and who has built a sort of utopian world on Ile Sainte Anne, an island along the west coast of Africa. The island is a safe haven for pirates and Amy runs free in the sun and the sand, is captain of her own ship, and is unafraid to stand up to any man, especially Zach Hazard.
Amy and Zach, whose fathers are old friends, have long been attracted to one another, yet they have also long denied it; pride, willfulness, and stubbornness often get in the way. Amy knows all too well that Zach is very well-liked by the ladies and she doesn’t wish to succumb to his charms like all the rest. But one magical night, under the stars on the beach, she comes very close. But she is also true to her father’s dreams, even if that means sacrificing Zach, something that cuts to his core.
This part of the story is a bit hard to swallow. The decisions that Amy makes regarding Zach are ruthless and often painful to read, yet he continues to love her no matter what. To his credit, he tries to distance himself from her, both physically and emotionally, but she always somehow draws him back. In short, she’s dangerous not only to his heart but also to his life. Zach always saves Amy because he loves her and he never, ever stops. His love is obvious in actions rather than in pretty words, typical of most men.
Ile Sainte Anne’s idyllic paradise doesn’t last forever, however, as the outside world turns its greedy eyes to their special place. Zach has returned to the island after six years away to warn his father and James Dauphin of the dangers that threaten them and their lifestyle. But they refuse to listen until it’s too late.
Zach loves the sea more than anything else and thinks Amy and the island’s inhabitants live in a dream world. Freedom to him means the ability to sail the high seas; it’s definitely not the beloved Articles his and Amy’s father hold dear, especially Amy. To her it means everyone living equally, from the poorest man to the richest, yet she herself lives a privileged life so I had a hard time believing her rationale and firmly held beliefs.
There is a lot of hardship and sadness in this book; and agonizing choices, torture, and the brutal consequences of betrayal infuse the pages. But thankfully it’s not gratuitously graphic; it’s more implied than blatantly depicted.
Amy was born in England but left as an infant so she has no ties to England. But Zach remembers harsher times, and England is a place he’d rather forget.
There are tantalizing hints of a story to come about the complex and multifaceted Luc Geroux in the second book in the Pirates of Ile Sainte Anne series. In The Legend of the Gypsy Hawk, we learn the reasons for Luc’s actions and are kept guessing about him until the very end.
Ms. Malcolm writes an exciting novel with plenty of action, adventure, and danger. If you like strong and fearless female heroines, devoted and protective heroes and high sea settings, you will enjoy this book.