Rima Jean's The Noble Pirates is a tale of a woman participating on a booze cruise with her friends when a sudden storm removes her from her own time of 2011 and throws her through time in to the year of 1719 and into the hands of pirates. I did not expect much from a time travel pirate novel, which sounded suspiciously too much like a romance novel to boot, but I was very pleasantly surprised by what it turned out to be.
The heroine of the novel, Sabrina, is a realistic modern heroine battling with conflicting emotions. Estranged from her husband and having put her career ahead of their child, she finds herself much more removed from them than she ever expected. Once she finds herself in the early 18th century, she has no idea if she'll ever get back home and she realises how she's neglected her family. I admit that I quite liked this characterisation and how it developed throughout the story.
On the other hand, I was a bit dismayed by the all-too-convenient "history of pirates" book that Sabrina's friend just happened to have bought and put in the shared bag that travels back in time with Sabrina. It was a better choice than making the heroine an expert in pirate history, of course, but felt a bit too convenient. Still, the knowledge provided by the book is important to set up some of the tension in the story, so I was forgiving towards it, especially since the rest of the tale worked very well.
The author does NOT repeat the problems of many pirate romances by having the heroine merely swoon over a "roguish pirate" and then think of nothing else but him, and by ignoring the cruelties of life that existed in the early 18th century. In fact, the dirt, smells and violence are rather well depicted and the romance, while there's some, is not the point of the novel. The piratical activities are nicely described and we meet both noble and ruthless pirates along the way. Their descriptions are more or less loyal to historical accounts (I'm not an expert, though). The sea battles are not very detailed (no weather gage or manoeuvres mentioned, for example), but they perform their task nicely - especially when you remember that the narrator is not knowledgeable of such things. The story also culminates very well towards the end and the reader is engaged to find out whether the heroine can change history, or if all fates are sealed.
Overall, I liked what I read and would definitely check out the sequel if one is forthcoming.
3.5 out of 5