CAPTAIN’S WOMAN by Saliee O’Brien with author photo

Publication Info: Pocket Books, December 1979
Setting: 1714 England/Bahamas/Cuba
Timespan: Six years
Narration: First Person
Heroine: Mary Read
Hero: Captain Roger Courtney
Bodice Ripper: Yes
Raped Heroine? Yes
My Grade: B-

 

FROM PUBLISHER:

SHE WAS DISGUISED AS A BOY- Forced to flee England to escape her lecherous kinsmen, she was a stowaway on a pirate ship, with a secret as dangerous as her life.

BUT SHE WAS ALWAYS A WOMAN!- She served her Captain, a man cold as ice. But her love couldn’t touch him, for he had a secret as mysterious as his stormy past.

CAPTAIN’S WOMAN- A novel of flaming passion, a woman’s enduring love and the storms that beset it.

MY THOUGHTS: This is one crazy story. The heroine, Mary, is nineteen and living at her deceased grandmother’s home, which is now being run by the grandmother’s male relative. Mary is using the name George Read because she’s been living the last five years of her life as a boy. Her mother died and she went to live with the grandmother….who really believes she’s male. When she was little, her mother dressed her as a boy and took her to visit her grandmother. The grandmother didn’t like boys so that’s the reason for the disguise.

Sir Cecil, who’s thirty and married, is bisexual. He’s been at Hunter House since the grandmother died two months before. He takes a liking to ‘George’, who is not a blood relative. He catches him undressing one day and discovers that George is really a woman. He rapes Mary and tells her she’s to be his secretary and that they’re to continue their sexual relationship. She told him no and told his wife that she was really a woman. Cecil had Mary arrested for being an imposter and she was taken away by two men. On the way to Newgate Prison, they raped her outside of the carriage. She got away from them, naked, hid and then returned to the spot she was raped and put all her clothes, and wig, on. She found a ship called The Hague and snuck onto it and hid.

A guy named Karl van Buskirk found her and believed her to be male due to her disguise. Somehow he found she was female and she agreed to have sex with him if he kept her secret and tried to find her a job on the ship. He introduced her to Captain Roger Courtney, who’s got auburn hair and blue eyes. She, disguised as George, became his cabin boy. A crewman came into the room once and saw that she was a woman and agreed to keep it secret. Word got out to some that she was female and she got raped by a crewman. Soon after, the same day, she and Captain Roger where in his cabin. He raped her. When the penetration began she actually held him tighter to her. She thought this about the incident, “He held me tightly, shuddering and I knew that, though he had raped me, it was actually I who had conquered him.”

All sorts of crazy nonsense takes place for the rest of the novel, far too much to get into. I got real bored after about a third of the way through it and couldn’t wait to finish it. Way too much manly sea stuff and fighting for my liking.

Karl is thrown overboard and is presumed dead until he shows up years later. Mary ends up in Cuba married to a Cuban man named Pablo Gómez. She’d met him previously. She finds out from her maid that he’s been raping and beating her. The maid takes her to a dungeon where Pablo currently has four girls chained up and hanging from the ceiling. During this time, Captain Roger Courtney shows up. She still loves him and agrees to sail away with him, even though the’s still married to Pablo, to his home in England, where he’s a Lord and no longer a pirate. That’s how the story ends.

It’s totally implausible that a feminine woman could live several years dressed as a man and have no one know it. How stupid do authors think we, the
readers, are? And this whole time, there was no mention of Mary ever getting pregnant. The stuff with the dungeon could have been interesting if the author hadn’t thrown that in out of the blue during the last few pages.

This is one over-the-top story. It’s only 296 pages and too much action is packed into it. I got this book in September 2009 and have finally read it. I was impressed with the craziness of it but my excitement died shortly after I started reading it.

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4 Comments

  1. Lorraine said,

    May 21, 2011 at 6:20 AM

    I was digging this story, thinking it might be one I’ll pursue, (I love the disguised as a boy trope) until I came to this part, “She thought this about the incident, “He held me tightly, shuddering and I knew that, though he had raped me, it was actually I who had conquered him.” No. No. AND NO! Sheesh.

  2. BRNTerri said,

    May 21, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    Bodice rippers are full of scenes like those and I’ve no problem with them myself. BR’s aren’t like the books of today.

  3. Lulu said,

    February 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Got any links where I can read this online?

  4. February 17, 2012 at 10:36 AM

    No, sorry, I don’t know where it can be read online. But used copies are available for very cheap online at places like abebooks.com and amazon.com 🙂


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