If you want a light read that involves a sweet romance, some adventure, and a couple of pirates, By Love or By Sea, by Rachel Rager is the novel for you.
Her characters are well written and believable and I was hooked right away. After all, who can resist a story about a sweet yet naïve red head with two totally different yet handsome men chasing after her? Alice Lind Frank is the red head.
The first young man—Clarence Hielott, is the son of a wealthy shipyard owner. He dotes over Alice and flatters her continually. He has a scar across his face from a childhood accident, but time has diminished it, and the local girls no longer see it.
The second—Caleb Newman is all muscles thanks to the years he spent at sea, not counting he’s handsome, and he’s been in love with Alice for thirteen years.
Did I mention that Alice has loved Caleb for thirteen years as well? It sounds like a no-brainer. Yet, because of an overheard remark, and the fact that Caleb’s ship was wrecked and he was presumed dead—the two haven’t spoken for a good part of that time.
She was a beautiful little girl of ten the last time Caleb saw Alice, and he was counting the days when she would be old enough to court. He signed aboard a ship to keep his mind off of her and allow her to mature. Unfortunately the ship sank in a storm, he developed amnesia, and signed on as a pirate. Crazier things have happened—in real life, not the novel.
Caleb is a good man, but he now has secrets in his past that he doesn’t want everyone to know. Alice wants to give her heart to Caleb, but she’s afraid—he broke her heart when she was little and she worries that if she loves him, he’ll do it again.
Afraid she will never have Caleb’s full love, and afraid she can’t give her whole heart to someone, she settles for Clarence. He seems like a good choice and no one tells her any different until after they’re engaged. However, things aren’t always as they seem, and neither is Clarence. He’s got some pretty dark secrets of his own.
I wish that Rachel would have added another hundred pages to the book—so that I wouldn’t have finished it so quickly.