2 Rated Books Book Reviews

Book Review: What a Pirate Desires by Michelle Beattie

Title: What a Pirate Desires

Author: Michelle Beattie

Genre: Historical Romance

what a pirate desires

Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Publication Date: December 2008
Paperback: 304 pages

Stand Alone/Series: Stand alone

Summary: When her family was murdered by the brigand named Dervish, all that Samantha Fine cherished was swept away in the churning waters of the Caribbean. Driven by revenge, she masquerades as Sam Steele, the most cunning pirate of the seas, striking terror in the hearts of every merchant who dares to cross her path. If only they knew the legendary buccaneer’s extraordinary secret… A MAN IN NEED

One man has discovered that a fiery female spirit wrestles beneath Sam’s fearsome exterior: the pirate, Luke Bradley. He once sailed with the vile Dervish, and now has a score of his own to settle. But as he joins Sam on her journey across the unpredictable Caribbean Sea, Luke is drawn to her loyal heart and courageous strength. Now, making Dervish pay for his sins is second to the quest to win Sam’s heart…


Why did I read the book: We received a review copy of the book. I liked the cover and the premise so I decided to give this a go.


Warning: there will be spoilers.

Samantha Fine is a survivor. 5 years before the book starts, the ship she was travelling in with her family was attacked by the dreaded Pirate Dervish, her parents and younger sister killed. She was saved from being killed by her friend Joe – a father figure – who jumped off the ship with her. They were later rescued and taken to a plantation in the Caribbean where they became slaves. Samantha was even raped by the EVIIIIL plantation owner. Before he could repeat the experience though, Samantha fought back, killed him (or so she thought), freed all of the other slaves and with a group of 5 of them, stole the plantation owner’s ship and this ragtag bunch soon become pirates themselves – Samantha takes the name of Sam Steele and they brave the seven seas in search of Dervish. The revenge will be hers. One day.

Cue to the first chapter in which our heroine bravely walks into a prison somewhere in the Caribbean to visit the also infamous pirate Luke Bradley who is set to hang. She makes him an offer he can’t refuse: to break him out and in return he will take her to Dervish. Luke used to be a member of Dervish’s crew but was betrayed by him and he is too, in search of revenge. Luke has connections and these connections point them the way of Dervish and off they go.

Where can I start? Perhaps with my own expectations. The cover, the blurb and the premise were so very promising: both the cover and blurb tell me the heroine was going to be a kick-ass heroine who was a pirate herself, therefore I was expecting her to be strong, capable. The premise tells me of high sea adventures, of two pirates Swashbuckling their way around , falling in love along the way. Instead what do I get?

A Woe-is-me heroine who spends the entire book moaning about how she hates pirates, how she hates pirating. Who is constantly whining and crying. Who runs a bunch of ragged escapees, whose cunning plan to pirating was to accost ships and then have Samantha pretend to have been attacked by pirates to inspire….pitty on the other ship’s crew. And I am supposed to believe that she is the GREATEST pirate the Caribbean has ever seen. Everyone fears Sam Steele and I spent the whole book wondering why.


The true pirates of the Caribbean called. They want their dignity back.

In the same fashion, she is attracted to Luke but she fights it because he is OMG, a pirate.

“Luke was a pirate. He, like Dervish, lived to take from other people, to pillage and destroy. Hadn’t she seen today, on her own ship, the damage that pirates wreaked? “

Yes, today and every day for the past 5 years as well, Samantha – are you not a pirate yourself??? And this bipolar mantra is repeated ad nauseam throughout the book,

No, he is a pirate I cannot love him. But wait, he is actually an honourable pirate. No, he LIES. Yes, he is hot.

There is simply no consistency to her character. She CHOSE to be a pirate. She has hated every single minute of it for the past 5 years just so that she can exact revenge. And when it finally comes the time for the confrontation? This example of intelligence walks into the pirate’s den, still trying to keep her undercover status and then Luke who is in his role (as he is supposed to) plays around talking about wenching and she gets all pissy and says to all “I am Sam Steele.” And like that, 5 years of secret are blown away because she is upset. And when she finally finds Dervish, what does she do? She walks away. Because she is the better person. Can you hear that sound? That is Ana’s wail of frustration.

Similarly, Luke is a character that had a lot of potential – someone who at first seems unapologetic about his living: who liked his rum, his wenching, his pirating and fighting. From the get go, Luke seems to be the (stereo)typical pirate from the use of “luv” in almost every sentence to his physical description: Open shirt, chains around his neck, gold sash around his waist , eye patch. I am a-okay with stereotypical as long as it is well executed. But as with everything in this book, Luke is a shallow excuse for a pirate and his dedication to the pirating cause is only superficial. You see, Luke has daddy issues: he is a bastard hated by the step-father who kept saying he was unworthy. According to his sister he is a pirate because that “it is all he thinks he can be” . And the love of a good woman is the only thing that will make him believe he is worthy. But he struggles. I found it hilarious when Luke decided to remind Samantha who he really was (repeat the mantra: an unworthy pirate ) by wearing: “a shirt gaping open”.

Behold the pirate! His shirt is open! He must be FEARLESS.

Before they can be together for reals though there is more stupidity coming from Samantha and the return of the Plantation Villain and his rapists ways. He too, has been looking for Samantha for 5 years to exact revenge and get into her tight hole one more time. *rolls eyes* What is up with these villains and their obsession with tiny tight holes anyway?

With the characters being completely inconsistent and the implausible plot, the fact that everyone thinks they are the two greatest pirates *snorts* the world have ever seen, the complete lack of chemistry between Luke and Samantha – there is no salvage here. This could have been a hit but it failed miserably in all aspects. The premise was there, the characters could have been so much more, and the prose itself is not even that bad. But alas…this book is sailing straight into the Land of Wasted Opportunity.

Notable Quotes/ Parts: *Laughs hysterically*

Additional Thoughts: So far, I have been unlucky with pirate books. So what Ana desires: a pirate book where the pirates are REAL Pirates and not any of the above:

– A peer of the Reign in disguise
– A person who has no alternative
– A man with daddy issues

I want high seas adventures and of course, I would prefer my pirates not to be of the murdering/sociopath kind – there can be honour amongst thieves, right? Something like…the Black Sawn with the awesome Tyrone Power – can we say oh, “Jamie boy” .


Can someone point me to the X?

Verdict: This one should be walking the plank.

Rating: 2 – Complete waste of time.

Reading next: the Manga Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino

You Might Also Like


  • Stacy ~
    January 9, 2009 at 6:24 am

    Sorry the book was such a disappointment. I LOVE “The Black Swan” btw. Now that’s my kinda pirate movie.

    The blog looks fabulous 🙂

  • Ana
    January 9, 2009 at 6:32 am

    Hey Stacy, thanks! 🙂

    Yes it was a MAJOR disappointment but it made me think about the Black Swan and I went to Amazon looking for it and it’s like £3 for the DVD. I am buying it!
    Tyrone Power is swoonworthy on that one….

  • Lisa Shearin
    January 9, 2009 at 6:59 am

    Ana & Thea, I just had to post to tell you that I absolutely LOVE the new look of your site! Well done!


  • Maya M.
    January 9, 2009 at 7:43 am

    Yowza. I have not read this book so I have no way of knowing whether I’d agree, but this much is clear – the smugglers have no fear of saying so when aspects of a book don’t appeal to them. Which means when they shower praise,they must really mean it.

  • carolyn jean
    January 9, 2009 at 8:04 am

    this is a fantastic review, very entertaining. A pirate not dedicated enough to being a pirate! Maybe he needs to sign up for an online motivation seminar. You know, I understand that you just desperately miss Mr. Windflower. You don’t have to hide your love for him under a barrel.

    hey, I love the new look. I think it fits you two more than the old.

  • katayoun
    January 9, 2009 at 9:15 am

    sorry to hear about the bad book, but this was a great review, so much laughter and also good to know that how lucky we are when we get to read a very good books and have escaped the pirates!! 🙂
    i especially loved the “Notable Quotes/ Parts” of this review, LOL!!

  • Thea
    January 9, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Ana *snorts* sorry the book was such a dud (really it sounds terrible, like Gena Davis in Cutthroat Island terrible…wait I actually kinda like that movie *ducks*), but the hilarious review is totally worth it. For me anyways 😈

    To Stacy, Lisa and CJ–thanks for the kind words on the new look! We’re so glad you love it too!

  • KMont
    January 9, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Whiny pirate babe bemoans the pirate life? Give me a break. From this book. I didn’t need to read any further to know this book is a no no.

  • KMont
    January 9, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Maybe someone should’ve told her, “Yo, Ho. A pirate’s life is NOT for you.”

  • Thea
    January 9, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    [i]Maybe someone should’ve told her, “Yo, Ho. A pirate’s life is NOT for you.”[/i]
    😆 Bwahahahahaha! I love it.

  • Zeek
    January 9, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I’m so tired of the “i want him, but I shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself, *pout**whine*” plot device.

    Someone really needs to find a new way of keeping the sexual tension high without it!

    Thanks for the warning on this one! 😉

  • Ana
    January 9, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    LOL you guys crack me up!

    This should have been a DNF but it seems I am a glutton for punishment. 😆
    Zeek, I am tired of this plot device as well. 🙄

  • Meljean
    January 9, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    Mmmm, pirates. They are close to my heart of late.

    Did I already say that I love the new site design? *scratches head* If not, I do.

  • Ana
    January 9, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    LOL, Yes you did Meljean. But we so do not mind hearing it again :mrgreen:

  • Bridget Locke
    January 14, 2009 at 10:44 pm

    Hi, ladies! Just wanted to say how much I LOVE your new design. 🙂 So you! 🙂

    And I’m not a big pirate romance person. The one I can think of off the top of my head is Desire in Disguise by Rebecca Brandewyne. When i was 14, the book was awesome (esp. the scene with the scarves…mrowr), but now as an adult? Not so much.

    Broken Wing by Judith James is kind of a pirate book and I liked it, but it was very different. I got it from you guys, so I’m not complaining. 😀

  • Darlene Marshall
    January 15, 2009 at 2:52 pm

    Shameless self promotion: You might enjoy my pirate books _Pirate’s Price_ and _Captain Sinister’s Lady_. The first is about a woman who flees her husband after he married her against her will, so she starts robbing his ships. The second is about an aging privateer (though most term him “pirate”) who’d like to settle down and get married.

    Both won the 2007 Eppie awards for Historical Romance.

  • Ana
    January 15, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    Darlene, Thanks for commenting.

    I was just checking your website and you know what? I am so getting your books. They sound like they are a lot of fun!

  • Darlene Marshall
    January 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm

    Ana–Hope you enjoy them. I’ve now got The Book Smugglers on my daily feed. I’m always looking for more sites that review SF and romance, reviews beyond the “it sukked!1!!” literacy level.[g]

  • We’re All Mean Girls Now « Read React Review
    September 9, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    […] Book Smugglers on What a Pirate Desires: Before they can be together for reals though there is more stupidity coming from Samantha and the […]

  • Anonymous
    January 23, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Do you ever have a GOOD review to give?

Leave a Reply