The sole advantage of reading a badly done romance (about which more
later) is that you enjoy a well done story all the more. I am sure I
would have enjoyed Patricia Potter’s new Americana romance in any event,
but I was so happy to be reading a good book, that I devoured Star
Keeper with relish.
This is the third book in Potter’s trilogy about the Sutherland family,
once of Scotland but now of America. The hero, John Patrick, visited
Britain after he completed his legal studies in the hopes of restoring
the lands and title his father lost at Culloden. Instead, he is drugged
and impressed into the British navy.
Chapter 1 starts eight years later, in 1777. Annette Carey and her
father Hugh live outside of Philadelphia. Hugh has refused to sign the
oath of loyalty to the new American republic. As a result, a mob
attacks and burns the Carey home and tars and feathers Hugh. Annette is
forced to watch this horror, helpless to halt the atrocity.
Six months later, the privateer Star Finder is trapped by British ships
after a daring raid up the Delaware. The captain, our John Patrick
Sutherland, buys time so that his crew can escape and then, gravely
wounded, is himself rescued by his first mate, Ivy. The two make it to
shore but John Patrick needs medical attention. Reluctantly, he sends
Ivy into Philadelphia where his half-brother, Noel Marsh is a doctor.
John Patrick is reluctant because Noel is a Tory and a confidant of the
British commander in the city. The Sutherland family is distressed at
Noel immediately comes to John Patrick’s assistance, but he knows the
search for the notorious “Star Finder” will be intense and his brother
needs good nursing. So he takes John Patrick to the hospital for
British officers that Annette has established in her aunt’s house in
Annette feels an immediate attraction for the handsome “Scots”
lieutenant while John Patrick is much taken by his lovely nurse. But
talk about conflict! Here we have a heroine who has every reason to
hate the American patriots who so mistreated her beloved father that he
has retreated into a world of silence. And we have a hero who has every
reason to hate the British who treated him so vilely, as the scars on
his back attest.
Star Keeper should appeal to readers who like action-packed
stories. There are daring prison rescues, tense encounters with the
enemy, and all sorts of derring-do. But there is primarily a tender
romance between two people who face seemingly insurmountable barriers to
their happy ending.
Annette is appalled when she discovers her patient’s true identity. How
can she ever trust a man who has so deceived her? And how can she give
her heart to a man who supports a cause she has good reason to despise?
Yet, how can she ignore the new worlds of adventure and feeling that
John Patrick opens up to her?
John Patrick knows he has grievously hurt the woman he has come to
love. But he knows he needs Annette. His years before the mast and his
subsequent enforced career as a pirate had almost destroyed his
humanity. Now, he once again feels stirrings of warmth and love. But
can she forgive him for both his politics and his acts borne of
Potter’s secondary characters are as richly drawn as her hero and
heroine. Noel Marsh is a man whose actions have lost him the respect of
his family and of the woman he loves, but he must do what he thinks is
right. Hugh Carey is a man almost betrayed by those he thought were
friends and neighbors and must find his way back to the world. And
there is a nice secondary romance as well.
While Star Keeper is part of a series, it stands very nicely on
its own. I know, because I haven’t read the previous books. But I am
going to pluck Starfinder off of my shelf at the first
opportunity. Potter skillfully included enough backstory to make me
want to read the previous book without giving everything away.
I have always wondered why the American Revolution doesn’t figure in
more romances. It’s an exciting and colorful time and Potter brings it
well and truly to life. Star Keeper kept me entertained and I
think you will have the same response.
Note: Potter does very well with the historical background in Star
Keeper. However, I really wish she hadn't used the term "Brits" when
referring to the you-know-whos. This usage is really very contemporary
and I've never seen it used by 18th century sources. A small matter,
but it did jar a bit.