by Jo Goodman

September 1986
ISBN: 0-8217-1905-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

Rahab (Rae) McCellan came to New York to live with her brother and sister-in-law in hopes of not only healing a broken heart, but to find some excitement during the American Revolution. She knew her brother and sister-in-law were involved in the intrigue of passing along secrets to help the war effort and she wanted a part in it. Rae gets her chance when Ashley, her sister-in-law, asks her to deliver a message to a contact at Wolfe’s Tavern. Despite not feeling well, this is the opportunity she has been waiting for so she drinks some of the cook’s liquor not only for some courage but to heal her aching throat and heads on her way. After a series of unplanned events, Rae finds more excitement than even she bargained for when she accidentally kills a man.

In steps Jericho Smith. He had been waiting at Wolfe’s Tavern for Ashley McCellan but instead finds himself rescuing who he believes to be one of the whores who frequent the saloon. The last thing Jericho needed was a woman to complicate his already complicated life but he couldn’t just leave Rae to face the consequences alone so he takes her with him to a secluded schooner. Jericho has no idea that Rae is the one he was supposed to meet at the tavern and after Rae awakes from being very ill, she has no idea either – she has lost her memory!

When I picked up Seaswept Abandon, I’m ashamed to admit that I was guilty of the old adage of “judging a book by it’s cover”. The kitschy title, the cover with the half dressed woman being mauled by the hero in a backbreaking embrace (thankfully the newer re-released paperbacks have a different image) and even the back cover’s description all combined to give me the impression of a quickly written romance novel to appeal to the masses, full of the same old clichés. Having never read a novel by Jo Goodman but after hearing many good remarks about her writing, I decided to give Seaswept Abandon a try even if I wasn’t expecting much. Happily, I was pleasantly surprised by what I found! Not that Seaswept Abandon isn’t full of clichés, after all, a heroine with amnesia is about as cliché as it gets, but fortunately the whole plot doesn’t revolve round that and it is cleared up relatively early in the story.

There definitely isn’t a lack of suspense or action in Seaswept Abandon; from the very first chapter Jericho and Rae find themselves facing one peril after another. And to compliment all that tension, there is plenty of action of another sort - lots of steamy love scenes! The plot takes many twists and turns and we follow the leading characters from the midst of the American Revolution, to a grand estate in England. While there were segments of the story that I didn’t care for, particularly a rape scene, overall the book was interesting and will have me looking for more books by Jo Goodman.

Seaswept Abandon revisits characters from an earlier Jo Goodman novel, Crystal Passion which I haven’t had the pleasure of reading, and although the villain and some of the story refers to it, it doesn’t seem to be necessary to read one before the other.

Reviewed in December 2002 by Nicole.

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