First Glance: Clearly, our fella is the centerpiece of this cover and I'll get to him in a minute, but first, let's talk about his lady. It's rare that the heroine appears on the cover - even more rare that you can see her full face. Of course, the purpose of the lady in these novels is to be a surrogate for the reader - often you'll find that while her clothing enjoys rich descriptions, her actual features do not. Which is why our girl on the cover deserves some notice: were I to read this book, I would not be able to place myself in her role, as I do not have dark, curly hair nor do I have a lobotomized stare.
Now, on to our hero . . . LOVE HIM! When this book came through, I immediately fell for those well-defined features, accented with the world's best mustache (perhaps those who make it a life pursuit to study mustaches can tell me what this one is called). Not only does his facial hair recommend him, but that hair: falling in dark, sculpted waves past his collar. Clearly, this is a romantic hero for the ages. Score: 4 out of 5
Title: Jamaican Sunset! Such a romantic sounding title: obviously sunsets are one of those natural wonders that one wishes to enjoy with a true love. However, sunsets signal the end of a day, which could have deeper connotations for our curly-haired heroine and her mustachioed lover - does the Jamaican sunset signal the end of their love? Or does it get darker and signal the end of a life? Let's find out. Score: 3.5 out of 5
Back of the Book: Prepare yourself for some most excellent romance novel names.
"Publicly betrothed to Baret Buckington, her handsome sea captain, Emerald Harwick can scarcely contain her joy. She will manage her plantation's Great House on Jamaica until his return from sailing with buccaneer Henry Morgan, and then they will marry."Already, I'm sensing that this marriage will never take place. I also suspect that mustache man is not Baret Buckington, but someone else entirely.
"But then problems out of the past put in an unexpected appearance."Told you.
"Emerald is abducted and finds herself on an unscheduled sea voyage.". . . Wherein she bickers with her abductor, though their fights are underscored with romantic tension. Eventually, her beauty and feminine willfulness change her abductor, who becomes protective and loving toward her. Soon, she finds that she never wants this unscheduled sea voyage to end. At least, that's what I've come to expect from reading the back of these books.
"That long-ago stolen treasure from the Prince Philip comes into play once more. Baret hopes to free her imprisoned father and unearth the treasure."Huh? Why is this not mentioned before? And why isn't Baret rushing to save his lady love who has been abducted by sea pirates?
"But Baret's enemy - pirate Rafael Levasseur - emerges as a final threat to Emerald's cherished hopes."What? Please explain. How is pirate Rafael Levasseur the final threat? Is he the one who abducted Emerald? Has he commandeered Baret Buckington's ship and left Baret in the middle of the ocean with only an empty barrel as a raft? Is he forcing Emerald to marry him? Is he the mustache man on the cover? Is he the cause of Emerald's lobotomized gaze? Will I have to actually read this book to make sense of this disjointed blurb? Score: 3 out of 5 (would have been 2, but the names get an extra point)
Final Score: 10.5 out of 15, meaning the Bronze Feather. While this book excelled in creating a cover hero for the ages, the back of the book fails to identify man: is it Baret Buckington and are we to be impressed by his seeming protectiveness? Or is it Rafael Levasseur and is the grip on her arm indicative of his sinister plans to control Emerald? We may never know.