The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate

Kay Berrisford
The Merman and the Barbarian Pirate
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Less Than Three Press LLC
Release Date
July 2014
Fantasy Romance, Historical Romance, LGBTQ

Raef, a lonely merman, spends his days watching the dashing Lord Haverford from afar and dreaming of love. When Haverford is robbed by a pirate, Raef vows to reclaim the stolen goods, hoping his victory will buy him the happiness he yearns for with Haverford.

But Jon Kemp does not match what Raef knows about pirates, and the simple quest Raef anticipated turns out to be an epic journey. For while Jon might be a nobler man than Raef believed, he's still a pirate. Love and loyalty are not on Jon's agenda, and he certainly has no plans to love someone not entirely human ...

Book Review by Annette Gisby (author,reviewer)
Sep 16, 2014   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
236 people found the following review helpful
An enchanting tale with two endearing leads and a romance that will melt your heart.

While his mother was still alive, child merman Raef listened enraptured to her many tales of mermaids and mermen falling for human princesses, and most of the tales seem to involve daring rescues from pirates. He wants to find his human prince, his one true love, too. His mother is surprised that he seems to want a prince rather than a princess, but she does not censure him for it, instead only insists that he be happy.

Years later, with his mother dead, the new leader of the mer tribe is a grizzled warrior called Galyna, who doesn't think the merfolk should have any dealings with humans at all and forbids them from going to the surface to seek them out. This is torture for romantic Raef. How is he going to find his true love human prince if he can't even get to the surface?

Raef sneaks off without permission and sees handsome Lord Haverford on the beach and is instantly smitten. Is he his true love? Once back with the tribe, though, things go from bad to worse. Everyone knows Raef has been sneaking off to see humans and Galyna insists that Raef stop all this nonsense and get married to a nice mermaid and settle down; he's arranged for Raef to marry his ward. Raef leaves the tribe, knowing he will never be happy in an arranged marriage.

When Lord Haverford is robbed by the dreaded pirate, Jon Kemp, Raef vows to recover his love's stolen property, even though he hasn't even met Haverford yet. And as Raef follows the pirate, even becoming his prisoner for a while, he comes to the conclusion that not everything he hears is the truth. But how will he know which is which?

The story is part romance, part adventure tale and both worked really well here. I think the reader will guess fairly early on that Raef's true love isn't Lord Haverford, but Raef takes a long time to realise it. The world building is good, with enough detail about the merfolk society and their sunken city to whet your appetite but still leave you wanting a bit more.

Jon Kemp is an intriguing character, and I think it worked brilliantly that we only got to see him from Raef's point of view, and those people Raef interacted with who knew Jon. It made him seem that bit more mysterious and alluring, as it did for Raef. You were almost falling in love with Jon along with Raef. There were a couple of love scenes near the end, before that it was a lot of yearning from afar, particularly from Raef as he was saving himself for his one true love. You wanted to scream at him that his one true love was there in front of him, not the romantic ideal he had in his head.

There's a bit of mystery and adventure with a missing will, and despite knowing this was a romance, there were a few scenes in the book where my heart was in my throat as I wondered if things were going to go right for our two heroes. The suspense near the end had me shaking and I really was unsure whether or not we would get a happy ending.

It was a romantic, sweet adventure with two characters you come to care deeply about and of course a villain you'll love to hate. I adored it.
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