In Minerva Spencer’s Scandalous, missionary Sarah Fisher is rescued by dashing, sensual privateer Martín Bouchard, a former slave who uses his position to liberate other African captives. Here, Spencer shares why the pirate life is so appealing—and lists her five favorite pirate romances.
I have a knack for doing things backward, and writing my first pirate romance novel is a case in point. Instead of doing some reconnaissance to see what kind of pirate books were already out in the world, I just sat down and started writing.
I’d read the most well known of the pirate tales when I was a kid—Treasure Island, Peter Pan and Captain Blood, for example—but I’d never read a pirate romance. I never even knew such a subgenre of romance existed.
It wasn’t until I’d sold my first three books, the beginning of my Outcasts series, that I discovered I’d inadvertently fallen into a sister/brotherhood of sorts: pirate fanatics.
Now, when I say pirates, I’m also including privateers—those ships that sailed under the authority of a government. Martín Bouchard, the hero in my new novel Scandalous, sails under a letter of marque granted by the king of England. Since most privateers operated during a time of war, it’s easy to see how one nation’s privateers were often another country’s pirates.
Pirates and privateers weren’t the only ones who engaged in capturing ships for prize money. The navies of the world also seized enemy vessels and divided the bounty among the crew—sharing out the profits from the captain all the way down to the lowest scrub boy.
Selling a captured ship wasn’t easy. Privateers couldn’t just nail a “Garage Sale” sign on the ship and start selling parts. They had to take their claims before special courts set up for that purpose.
Incidentally, the practice of rewarding a crew with prize money continued well into the 20th century. The last U.S. naval vessel to seize an enemy ship and distribute the bounty among its crew was in 1941!
Whether you like bad boy pirates or you just enjoy nautical tales in general, there are lots of great stories. Since discovering pirate romance, I’ve read every book I could get my hands on.
I’d like to share a list of my favorite novels—just a few I recommend if you are a novice when it comes to romance on the high seas. (It would be difficult to pick a favorite, so I’ll just list them alphabetically by author.) I warn you—once you begin reading pirate romances, it’s hard to stop!
The Rogue Pirate’s Bride by Shana Galen
This pirate romance has the added bonus of the heroine masquerading as a boy.
Beauvallet by Georgette Heyer
This is Heyer’s only pirate novel, and it has a distinct nautical feel while having that same great Heyer banter.
Scandalous Desires by Elizabeth Hoyt
Charming Mickey O’Connor is a pirate to die for. This story packs so much emotional punch, you won’t care that the story never leaves dry land.
The Pirate Lord by Sabrina Jeffries
This is another one-of-a-kind romance—a pirate and his crew capture a ship full of female prisoners bound for New South Wales.
Captured by Beverly Jenkins
I have to admit Dominic is my favorite sort of hero—on land or sea—an intelligent alpha with a mission.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our review of Scandalous.