cover image Pirates


Linda Lael Miller. Pocket Books, $20 (293pp) ISBN 978-0-671-52732-7

Marking the author's transition to hardcover, Miller's 20th novel is a time-travel romance set in the Caribbean in the present and in the 1800s. Depressed about her divorce and the loss of her job as a researcher for a professor of American history, Phoebe Turlow, 35, accepts a free promotional trip to Paradise Island. There, at a costume party, she enters an elevator and finds herself in 1780, facing Duncan Rourke, pirate and patriot of the American Revolution. Hunted by the British and rival pirate Jacques Mornault, Duncan and his men hide on the island when not raiding ships for arms for the revolutionary forces. Though befriended by an island seer and Duncan's ex-mistress, Phoebe leaves for Queen's Town where she endures wretched conditions working in a tavern until she is rescued by Duncan, who becomes her lover. Soon pregnant, Phoebe, along with Duncan, faces many perils--including a return to the present--before the story reaches its unsurprising ending. The characters wobble between cliche and absurdity (historical researcher Phoebe, when asked when photography was invented, says, ""sometime in the 19th century, I think""); the principals accept time-travel with scarcely a shake of their heads; coincidences abound; and Miller writes in a breathless gush (Duncan's piano playing ""filled the room, the house, the universe with its pulsating chords""). Still, with lively bodice-rippings, a dashing hero and lots of period lore, this may satisfy the more undemanding of romance readers. Major ad/promo; author tour. (July)