Book review: The Darling Pirate (Belinda Dell)

Trying to get away from a "problem" man in London, Maggie took a job as receptionist in a luxury hotel in Jersey. But the first person she met was a man who was even more of a problem, a rebel who laughed at everything she thought important. Could she ignore him?

The content of this book is highly suitable for the middle grades. That alone should date its contents (pubbed 1974 c. 1969/70). I hate to sound like one of those adult content warnings on the back of a rental DVD, but Maggie only received a handful of kisses throughout the entire book. One was a ‘fierce kiss’ that left a bit to the imagination. The most questionable content involved her parking at a lookout spot with a man she wasn’t fond of, and I found it more questionable for her lack of courage in speaking up to the jerk when she would have rather gone home.

Alain, the rebel referenced in the back cover blurb was ‘le pirate’ referenced in the title. I suppose he was rebellious in that he didn’t follow the expectations of society, but no actual piracy occurred.

The content of the book had a definite UK/Anglo bent – the story takes place on the island of Jersey, off the French coast (much farther from England than I’d originally thought.) Class snobbery abounds in some of the characters, as I had expected. The language itself is particularly English, with the exception of the French spoken by the Jerriais (the people of Jersey are often of French ancestry, apparently, something I didn’t know.) Read aloud, it does rather sound like familiar French, but I’m sure as spoken by a Jerriais, it has its own feel.

The story itself wasn’t too bad, though I found it a bit dull. There wasn’t enough action to keep me interested. I think this one will end up back on the shelf at work. Next up, The Distant Trap!

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