Review: Uncharted Hearts by Amelia Bishop

Clayton Taylor is smart and skilled, and born into privilege. His expertise with navigation lands him a job on The Irish Lady, a ship which promises a world of new experiences. Half in love with Peter, The Lady’s roguish captain, Clayton signs on for adventure and a chance to test his skill against the sea. Once aboard he meets Jorge, a pillar of quiet strength. Clayton’s life among the sailors and thieves is happy, wild, and free. He learns to sail, to fit in with the crew, and to cheat at cards. There isn’t a course he can’t chart, or a job he can’t design. But Clayton can’t navigate love, nor can he plan for the whims of his heart. Bold and direct and often stubborn, Clayton’s uncharted heart will plot its own course, bound for a union with two men who need him as much as he does them. Together Clayton, Peter, and Jorge will discover the heart has no need of map and compass.

I read for interracial pirate menage.
Those are my things, together in a story. It was a no-brainer, super slam dunk.

Instead, I got plot holes, MANTEARS and historical that read like contemporary. Oh and semi-pirates.

What are semi-pirates? The pirates in this book are more petty thieves and gamblers. I also enjoy thieves and gamblers but the way it was written, there really wasn't any effort given into the crime portion. We're just told they're bad men and we get quick scenes and a 5 year time jump which still did not lend any credence to feelings or emotions in any of the love triangle. This is my main issue with this story. It's written. Well written? Not in my opinion, the plot was stagnant, the novel could have easily been an novella and still have the same effect and the major plot points were nonsensical to me. Plus, the MANTEARS. *shudders*

Clayton is a rich man's son who wants an adventure and work on a ship (though I find it hard to believe a merchant's only son would so easily be let go on the sea to cavort with "pirates" and not run the business) And he seems to be openly gay in this time period. (It read odd, I thought it was AU) His parents don't mind. Neither does Peter, the captain of the ship Clayton is hired on. Peter flirts with Clayton with no finesse with Clayton's dad not too far away. Warning sign. In fact he has Clayton's legs open within the first 7%. No relationship building...equals problem for me. This was my second warning sign.Then the pirate/ thief switch-a-roo happened and I was worried.

The best character introduced was Jorge free man who was born on a slave ship. It's not everyday you get to read about African ex-slaves in gay romance, so I was a happy camper. But Jorge was under utilized in my opinion for Captain/Clayton sex scenes. Then we jump 5 years. And the men are shipwrecked and suddenly there's a love triangle. I like my menages to be as close to equilateral as possible. Their triangle was a straight line. Flat.

There were some interesting parts but the stagnant parts outweighed the good. Instead of action, we have the men sitting around waiting. Spoilerish: Peter is carrying on a relationship with both men with neither one knowing for five years and it reads so random. Then the big chase? More sitting and love making and tears. The main character boasts about being a planner but spends more time shedding tears then actually doing anything. So passive.

Tears does not equal emotion. The characters had a tendency to tear up at really anything. When that technique is used excessively, it does nothing for me. Some readers like reading water pots, I'm not the one. And I think the tears were trying to prop up the flat characters because the emotions were dull.
The author does give a warning in the beginning of the book (which I read after finishing the story):
"While I attempted to keep this story as historically accurate as possible, some details were necessarily embellished for narrative effect."

Why not just add an alternate universe tag? It could save the warning about the necessary embellishment/warning to the reader to take this story as entertainment. Clayton and Peter were way too open with their affections in this time period. The female friend traveling alone in the Caribbean and just so happen to be just as accepting of Clayton not only being gay but in a relationship with two men? And then the HEA is just easily handed to them...I know it embellished for narrative effect but I couldn't stretch it that far. My rubber band snapped somewhere back on the island the men stayed for weeks.

Not enough substance and other than Jorge, none of the characters stood out. The plot was drawn out, tepid and not something I'd recommend to pirate lovers or multicultural romance lovers either.


I'm always looking for a great pirate story (I've been spoiled this year by Deckard and Anderson), this one just wasn't up to snuff.

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