Review: Bound by Decency by Claire Ashgrove

Posted August 17, 2012 by Una in 3 stars, Historical Romance, Rating B Tags: , , ,

Bound by Decency
Author: Claire Ashgrove 
Release Date: Aug. 1, 2012
Publisher: Self-published
The Flying Gang Legacy #1
ISBN: #978-1477535820
Genre: Historical Romance
Format(s): Paperback (424 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Author
About the book:
Once, Cain sailed with the cutthroats of The Flying Gang, fearless Captain of The Kraken, bound to no one save the sea.  After inheriting a portion of Spain’s Royal Inheritance, he resigned the life of brigands for a chance at honest wealth.  With the secrets of his piracy tucked away, he achieved his lofty aspirations.  But when his partner and best friend betrays him to the Royal Navy, Cain’s dreams are ripped to shreds.  He’s left with his ship, the tattered remnants of a stolen future, and a piece of Spanish mystery.  Wanted by three nations and destined for the gallows, he returns to the legendary band of buccaneers for one purpose—vengeance.
Kidnapped by the formidable Cain, India Prescott discovers he intends to kill the man she’s to marry, Richard Grey.  Cain’s story reveals betrayal.  Treachery that extends to her as well.  Although she holds the key to retribution, India refuses to become another man’s pawn.  Freedom lies before her, the liberty to shrug off propriety, make her own decisions, and claim her destiny.  But when she uncovers goodness in Cain’s soul and he awakens passion in her heart, she must combat the chains of convention once more.
Only this time India’s not fighting society.  She’s battling a pirate bent on keeping her decency intact. 
What Una is talking about:
After reading about Andrea’s (the lead character in Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews) addiction to pirate romance novels, I thought I’d give one a try.  I have never read a pirate romance novel, and when Bound by Decency came up, the first book in the Flying Gang Legacy, I jumped at the chance and told Twimom to send it to me.  I enjoy historical romances (although, truth be told, I can be quite picky) and thought why not pirates.  I must say I did not dislike the novel, however I wouldn’t say I liked it, but I did enjoy it.  This was a difficult rating for me to give.  Here is why…
India was a fascinating woman.  I enjoyed her spirit and the fact that although she is confined by the norms of society, she strives to be her own person.  Despite having to be under the guise of secrecy, she works hard at her endeavors.  She is relieved by the prospect of being a spinster, even if she will never physically know the pleasures to be found between a man and woman.  Her unfailing loyalty to her father is touching and gives her a foundation and pride during the course of Bound by Decency. Although it is not what she wishes, she agrees to honor her father’s desires for her marry.  Even knowing that she is simply a means to an end for her intended, she decides to see it through.  Her intended may see her as the means for securing his fortune by merging his shipping business with her father’s, but Mr. Grey has assured her that she may continue to oversee her particular venture.  India therefore places her loyalty in Mr. Grey and tries to protect him, although this reason for protecting him changes through the course of her time on The Kracken.
Cain was an enigma throughout most of Bound by Decency.  He is a ruthless pirate but one that was honed unwillingly.  Cain has the opportunity to remake his character and takes it…only to be betrayed by the very friend who helped him accomplishment it.  Though circumstances deliver him from the gallows, the betrayal of his best friend condemns Cain to the life he had hoped to leave behind.  Although Cain has no qualms about doing what is necessary as a pirate, he has a core of decency about him.  Even as a pirate, he is honorable and fair.  An interesting juxtaposition considering he is one of the Flying Gang – the most notorious group of pirate captains.  As the novel progresses, there is a strong sense of brotherhood between the members of the Flying Gang.  Again, it feels as if it defies the very nature of pirates.  
Something I have come to expect in historical novels is the difference in the language.  I have heard it described as “flowery” or, for some, “do they ever shut up?”  I am used to the longer sentences and the more mature vocabulary, and Bound by Decency is full of it.  I enjoy it and it is currently coloring my writing of this review.  It helps to place you in the time period and lose yourself in the setting.  However, I also enjoy action and the thrill of moving through the plot sequence.  Not that the language bogs me down, but sometimes the conversations solely for the setting’s sake can stunt the flow of the book.  When they have no purpose apart from just setting the scene, I can get a little bored by them.
The plot moved sluggishly in Bound by Decency.  The relationship between Cain and India built slowly and at times it was a bit too leisurely.  However, the lengthy build, as excruciating as it was, at the end seemed valid.  I was able to see where the next book introduction occurred, but only because I know this is the first book in the series and I kept an eye out for it.  However, as I was reading this on my kindle, I kept thinking the end was certainly near and then something else would occur.  This is what made me realize that although I was enjoying Bound by Decency I was also anticipating the ending.  Whether it is because I wanted to see a “Happily Ever After” or to confirm how I thought it would all turn out, I don’t know for sure.  Did it end as I thought it would?  Yes and no.  But I will say that the ending was satisfying.  
All in all, Bound by Decency is an enjoyable read.  I found the escape in it wonderful and relaxing.  There is nothing more restful than the thoughts of watching the moonlight move across the waves as a mighty pirate ship sails.  If you enjoy Jane Austin and want a little swashbuckling and romanticized sailing, I think, not only would you enjoy Bound by Decency, but you might as well catch the first cruise of The Flying Gang Legacy.  However, if you prefer more action like “Dread Pirate Roberts” or “Captain Jack Sparrow” this might not be for you.  I will say I do look forward in not only finding out who the next novel, Captured by Freedom, will be about but also what happens to Drake and Nightshade – two of the Flying Gang members you meet in this novel.
Unas Rating:
Liked it, but I had some issues – recommend (B)

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