Julie Anne Long continues to captivate me with her ability to make her romance novels both sexy and so very funny. Not in the same moments, of course, but I think it's her fantastic sense of humor that helps set the Pennyroyal Green series apart from so many of its Historical Romance contemporaries.
This fourth installment focuses on Violet Redmond, the shocking young darling of the ton. She is beautiful and every bit a lady, until she gives into her boredom and impetuousness by doing something completely over the top. At one of her many balls, she meets Flint, who is both the captain of a ship and a newly minted earl. He's been dispatched by the crown to track down a mysterious pirate and bring him to justice. A series of clues lead Violet to believe the pirate may be her missing brother Lyon... and she decides to go on a quest to save him.
Violet stows away on Flints ship, hoping to thwart his capture of Lyon. (Though this didn't entirely make sense, since he didn't even know her brother's identity until she told him.) Their interaction aboard the ship is much as you would expect: hardened sea captain versus a lady unaccustomed to hard living. Each really wants to find Lyon for their own reason, forcing them to work together in close quarters, and... well, you know how these things go.
Violet is brave and book smart, but she makes some really stupid decisions. Her intentions are good, but at times she borders on TSTL. Flint is stalwart and strong, while a little rough around the edges and requisitely wounded by a hard life. It all felt kind of familiar and the story behind Lyon's hand in the piracy was easy to figure out. But the sex is hot. And there were times I laughed heartily out loud (especially in a great narrative about a flying marble penis.)
It's not perfect. It's predictable at times and it references prior events more than most of the installments do. But it was a fun read. Almost 4 stars.