Uncovering the Merchant’s Secret (Harlequin Historical)

Written by Elisabeth Hobbes
Review by Misty Urban

In 1346, in the midst of Brittany’s war of succession, Jack Sutton, English wine merchant and spy, washes up on the rocky coastline beneath the tower of Breton widow Blanche Tanet. Jack’s injuries have erased his memory, and as Blanche tends the handsome stranger, their guarded secrets complicate their powerful attraction. Jack senses another woman in his past, and Blanche is the fearsome Bleiz Mor, the Sea Wolf; she turned to piracy to avenge the death of her husband and is loath to surrender her dearly bought independence. The story dwells at length on the slow-burning chemistry between the leads, both well-developed characters struggling with grief and longing, until an exciting Act V erupts in betrayals, discoveries, sea battles, kidnapping, and a dramatic trial scene when both Jack and Blanche’s secret identities are revealed. With an interesting era as backdrop and stately prose that deeply explores her characters’ inner lives, Hobbes offers an enjoyable read consistent with the style and tone of a Harlequin Historical, this one inspired by a real Breton female pirate, Jeanne de Clisson.