Never Trust a Pirate (Scandal at the House of Russell #2) – Anne Stuart

A Victorian beauty finds passion…with the man who may have murdered her father.


  • Title: Never Trust a Pirate
  • Author: Anne Stuart
  • ISBN 1477849114 (ISBN13:  9781477849118)
  • Series: Scandal at the House of Russell #2
  • Published: December 3rd 2013 by Montlake Romance
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Genre/s: Historical Romance
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Source: Netgalley
  • Rating: C+

A trilogy where three sisters are searching for the man who murdered their father and stole the family fortune, and to do so they go into service.

Bryony, the eldest, becomes the housekeeper for a dissolute rake.
Maddie, the second, becomes a maid in the household of a former pirate.
Sophy, the youngest, becomes a cook for the brooding heir to their former family house, Renwick.

The sisters are inventive and determined, the heroes are just the right amount of challenge, and the villain is evil indeed.

I am a long time fan of Anne Stuart‘s, in particular Shadow Lover. There was a time when I occupied myself reading her novels exclusively. Ms Stuart has the remarkable talent of writing a hero who is supposedly bad yet who is so very appealing his eventual redemption by love is not just inevitable but is also believable.

Madeleine Russell, the beautiful daughter of a shipping magnate, counted on marrying a wealthy husband. Then her father’s disgrace and death left her with no dowry and no suitor. But Maddy and her sisters fully intend to restore their good name. Their first step: find the villain who framed their family.

One of her father’s captains, a notorious former pirate, becomes a prime suspect. When Maddy joins the captain’s household disguised as his newest servant, her dark-eyed, charismatic employer soon develops his own agenda: seduction…

Madeline Russell is determined to find her father’s killer, a cryptic note with the words “Never trust a pirate” is the only clue left behind after his suspicious death in a carriage accident. Maddy enlists the aid of her father’s solicitor in obtaining a position in Captain Morgan’s household. Being the only pirate of her father’s association and a likely suspect in his murder.

“Well, I expect it’s going to be a dead bore,” Sophie said with a yawn. “Some prosy old sea captain stomping around smelling of snuff. Do you suppose he has a wooden leg? If he does and he gives you too much trouble you could always steal it.”

Suffice it to say Captain Morgan is not in his dotage, he is more than hale and hearty enough to save Maddy from certain rape by miscreant dock workers, coincidentally on her way to employment at his home. After her rescue and a searing kiss Maddy moves from the pot to the fire, as a victim of the housekeeper’s whims.

A half-breed Gypsy, Luca is an outcast, his riches from a career as a privateer and his gently bred fiancee make him barely acceptable in company. He is intrigued by the mystery that is his new housemaid. Is she simply an alluring  servant or does she have more nefarious intentions?

As much as I am a fan of Ms Stuart’s work over the years I have found that her recent historicals are somewhat lackluster. The edginess of her previous contemporary novels is missing that certain ambiguity of motivation that the heroes of her other work possessed. Perhaps it is just that the thought of scandal at the House of Russell just isn’t that scandalous?

author-3553Anne Stuart is a grand-master of the genre, winner of Romance Writers of America’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award, survivor of more than thirty-five years in the romance business, and still just keeps getting better.

Her first novel was Barrett’s Hill, a Gothic romance published by Ballantine in 1974 when Anne had just turned 25. Since then she’s written more Gothics, regencies, romantic suspense, romantic adventure, series romance, suspense, historical romance, paranormal and mainstream contemporary romance for publishers such as Doubleday, Harlequin, Silhouette, Avon, Zebra, St. Martins Press, Berkley, Dell, Pocket Books and Fawcett.

She’s won numerous awards, appeared on most bestseller lists, and speaks all over the country. Her general outrageousness has gotten her on Entertainment Tonight, as well as in Vogue, People, USA Today, Women’s Day and countless other national newspapers and magazines.

Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review. 


2 thoughts on “Never Trust a Pirate (Scandal at the House of Russell #2) – Anne Stuart”

    1. I LOVE ANNE STUART, but I don’t think I love her historicals in the same way as her contemporaries. They re-released Shadow Lover my all time favorite by her. Let me know what you think of Never Trust a Pirate and if you haven’t read Shadow Lover I highly recommend.

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