Title: Swift for the Sun
Author: Karen Bovenmyer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 27th Mar, 2017
Page Count: 230
Genre(s): Historical, Adventure
Reviewed by: PIU
Heat Level: 2.5 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5
Benjamin Lector imagines himself a smuggler, a gunrunner, and an all-around scoundrel. A preacher’s son turned criminal, first and foremost he is a survivor.
When Benjamin is shipwrecked on Dread Island, fortune sends an unlikely savior—a blond savage who is everything Benjamin didn’t know he needed. Falling in love with Sun is easy. But pirates have come looking for the remains of Benjamin’s cargo, and they find their former slave Sun instead.
Held captive by the pirates, Benjamin learns the depths of Sun’s past and the horrors he endured and was forced to perpetrate. Together, they must not only escape, but prevent a shipment of weapons from making its way to rebellious colonists. Benjamin is determined to save the man he loves and ensure that a peaceful future together is never threatened again. To succeed might require the unthinkable—an altruistic sacrifice.
‘Swift for the Sun’ is a historical gay romance set in the treacherous waters of the Caribbean. It starts out as ‘stranded in an island’ trope but quickly develops into a much bigger and dangerous adventure as ruthless pirates gets involved and the MCs try to fight and survive while also preserving their love for one another.
The writing gives a vivid feel of the setting and the tumultuous times when Brazil was trying to break free from its parent country, Portugal. So along with the romance there are various other elements to look forward to in this book.
Benjamin Lector is a preacher’s son turned criminal from North Carolina. His first undertaking as a smuggler and gunrunner ends in a tragedy as he is ship wrecked losing all his crew as well as cargo. Benjamin finds himself stranded at the infamous ‘Dread Islands’. Trying to survive the elements and mostly failing, Benjamin loses all hope of surviving until he gets rescued by a man who seems to be the only resident of the island.
Sun is a man of few words. He cares for Benjamin and steadily revives him. As the two men spend practically all the time together, Benjamin falls for his savior and vice versa. They settle into a comfortable routine of foraging, hunting and loving each other but as all good things come to an end, Benjamin and Sun’s haven gets invaded as pirates arrive at their island. They are here for Benjamin, especially for his cargo which he lost to the ocean.
As they are carted away by the pirates as their captives, Benjamin learns more about Sun’s past as a slave and what horrendous things he had to do to survive. With the help of a few powerful characters who comes to their aid, Benjamin and Sun escapes while helping their newly minted friends to stop the rebellious colonists of Brazil. Benjamin gets his adventure living his life on the ocean whereas Sun finally sheds his past life for a brand new one with the love of his life.
“I’ve seen how you are with the others on this ship. How you make them… happy. Like you make me happy. I did not think I would ever be happy again, nor that anyone would wish for me to be with them, but…. Benjamin. You make people belong. You make me want… to belong again. You freed me. Saved me.” ~ Sun
This story had a lot of twists which continuously kept me on the edge of my seat. The MCs meet and then there is a lull in action as the lovers fall in love and establish a profound connection. And then when the pirates arrive, the story takes a more violent turn as they are tortured and humiliated as captives. Then the story again changes track as the MCs are rescued and become valuable members of the crew.
We get the story from Benjamin’s POV entirely but it does not diminishes the presence and feelings of Sun. Sun is a tortured soul who did what he did just to survive. His actions were wrong but he did them to stay alive and I could not fault him for that. I could not help but sympathize with his plight and trauma and continuously prayed that he finally get his peace. He does get his HEA with his Benjamin as well as acceptance for their relationship at a time when homophobia was rampant. It was a fitting HEA for both Benjamin and Sun.
“There was no safe place in this world for Sun and me, but there were safe people, and we had found them, and they knew us, and we knew them, and together there was hope for something better for all of us.”
What I liked most about this story was an MC in a pirate/high-seas smuggling story, who is not a very shrewd character or an accomplished criminal. Benjamin had a good heart with a huge capacity of forgiveness and compassion. He was naïve in most ways criminal with a strong moral code which you don’t generally expect in a character involved in gunrunning or smuggling. His love and affection for Sun was exemplary as he risks his neck time and again for his ‘matelot’. I admired his selfless love for Sun, his pure soul and his innate sense of doing the right thing.
The heat level in this story is not too high but felt fitting for the situations the MCs always found themselves in. There are no graphic sex scenes but the intimate scenes were passionate enough to beautifully portray their deep-seated feelings for each other. I for one enjoyed their entire journey from an unconventional meeting to being ‘matelots’.
This story is quite heavy in the politics of the time when the story is set. It had a lot of action, mutiny, swashbuckling sailors and a surprising ‘female’ character who was as fearless as she was efficient in dispatching her enemies.
Historical romance lovers will enjoy this book very much. I had an exciting time reading this novel.