|If I Wait for You by Jane Goodger|
Everyone in New Bedford, Massachusetts believes Sara Dawes murdered her own parents. A price is on her head and someone has tried to kill her—not for revenge but to keep her quiet. Fearing for her life, Sara begs the stern and too-handsome-for-his-own-good Captain West Mitchell to allow her to go with him when he leaves port. She wants only to be safe.I originally picked up If I Wait For You by Jane Goodger because the settings looked particularly interesting. Part of the story takes place in a whaling ship and the other in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and of course that made this historical romance different enough to draw me like a magnet.
West Mitchell wants nothing to do with Sara, but when she nearly dies in his arms, he has no choice but to take her aboard his ship. He quickly realizes he’s made a terrible mistake. The girl he thought would be a hindrance is finding a way into his heart—a heart he’d already promised to another.
When West finally realizes he cannot live without Sara, it may already be too late…
Captain West Mitchell takes Sara Dawes aboard his ship as his make-believe wife after she almost dies in his arms. She's sister to his third mate and has been forced to flee New Bedford, Massachusetts after having been wrongly accused of murdering her parents and setting fire to their home. Since West is already engaged and an honorable man, he figures sharing his cabin with Sara won't be a hardship. That changes quickly when sharing close quarters and Sara’s beauty unexpectedly trigger dishonorable thoughts. In the meantime, Sara can't believe that she's sharing space with a man she has admired for years, but no matter all the day dreaming, she knows that he's only keeping her aboard his ship on sufferance, and that his heart will never belong to her. Or will it?
This is one of those romances that takes years to reach the happy ever after and a final resolution to all the different threads -- a whole three years. I love the sexual tension that Goodger uses to build up the relationship between Sara and West while they are on the whaling ship. Sara's relationship with the crew, the whaling details, and the adventures they all share are part of what makes this a wonderful read. Later, the story moves to New Bedford where we meet Sara again after she has become part of society, and where the mystery of her parent's murders are finally solved.
The romance and main characters did not quite win me over, though. There's a push and pull that, although great at the beginning, goes on for way too long. West and Sara both play a game where neither will admit to themselves, never mind to each other, that they love the other when it's plainly obvious that they do. West becomes frustrating during their shared voyage, while Sara is frustrating in the extreme once West returns to New Bedford and the two are reunited after a few years apart. During those years apart Sara supposedly grew up, unfortunately her actions rarely show maturity and she uses West's younger brother in a way that was tough to appreciate.
If I Wait For You by Jane Goodger is an enjoyable historical romance with an excellent setting. It also has that 'old style' historical atmosphere with wonderful details that I so enjoy (particular to this story: the whaling and seafaring life details), a sea voyage with a great crew as secondary characters, and excellent sexual tension that is used to build up intimacy between the protagonists. However, at times the main characters are not necessarily sympathetic and the plot devices utilized to drive the romance somewhat overdone, making this a mixed bag read for me.
As a side note, If I Wait For You is self-published, so expect a few of those pesky editing errors along the way. It is also the prequel to Jared's romance, *Gifts from the Sea, a backlist release by Goodger that is currently out of print. However, per the author, look for a release in ebook format in the future. Jared is West's older brother and one of the most intriguing secondary characters appearing in this book. I’m looking forward to reading his romance.
Category: Historical Romance
Series: None (related books)*
Publisher/Release Date: Self-published/July 26, 2011
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