Amortentia Review: The Bastard by Brenda Novak

THE BASTARD by Brenda Novak
Publication Date: October 23rd 2011

Summary: To some men honor is just a word….

Jeannette Boucher, a young French beauty from a family left penniless by the revolution, must marry against her will to save them all from ruin. But almost immediately after the vows are spoken, she learns that her old English husband is impotent—and in his desire for an heir, he plans to compromise her in the worst way.

Determined to escape such a fate, she stows away on one of His Majesty’s frigates. But a woman alone is in constant danger.

To Lieutenant Treynor, honor means everything….

Born a bastard to a wayward marquise, Lieutenant Crawford Treynor was given to a poor farmer to raise and was maltreated until he ran away to join the Royal Navy. Treynor is determined to prove he’s as good as any other man and rise to captain his own frigate. But once he finds Jeannette aboard The Tempest he must decide whether to return her to the man he knows would abuse her—or risk everything, even his life, to keep her safe.

Heroine: Jeanette is a feisty French woman who keeps her familial duties first. She’s kindhearted and compassionate and she does things for the good of others. I like that Novak chose to write her character’s dialogue without the accent spelled out. Sometimes, I do find it very distracting when authors write in an accent. I think that a constant reminder of Jeanette’s nationality was enough to make a point.

Hero: I love that Treynor is honorable right down to his actions. There were so many times that he could easily have taken advantage of Jeanette, but he did not. Reading his childhood struggle as an illegitimate child was really interesting and I liked seeing him grow as a character. On a side note, I wish that the book wasn’t named The Bastard. It’s an eye-catching title, but it is so unromantic.

Supporting Cast: I think that the book was lacking most in strong secondary characters. I liked Mr. and Mrs. Hawker but after the beginning, you really don’t read much of them and I felt that their characters fell flat as a resort.

Plot: I’m a complete sucker for pirate/shipsman novels, and THE BASTARD did not disappoint. Stowaways, battle, life on a ship, etc. This one had everything that I typically look for in this kind of novel.

Romance: Novak kept up the tension between the characters all way to the end. It was very satisfying as a reader. Also, for those concerned, this one is definitely more of a cleaner romance than others.

Love Potion Strength:


I’ll definitely keep an eye out for Novak’s historical romances in the future.

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