THE RUB: Three Star Island is a delightful historical romance that captivates readers with time travelling, tall ships, and a wee bit of pirate ween. Our sassy-frass heroine, Penny, is trapped in the Carolinas circa 1720’s. She’s already processed the shell shock by the time the story begins, and has hodge-podged a modest life for herself on the outskirts of a colonial town. While scavenging for supplies, she rescues a shipwrecked renegade who’s charming, roguishly handsome, and destined to rustle Penny’s neglected unmentionables. Awwwyiisss.
Authoress Kat Caulberg sails us into deep waters at times, refusing to romanticise our lovers’ situations by confronting poignant issues surrounding trust, forgiveness, communication, and courage. So grab yourself a tot of rum, my ladythugs and gentledudes - this bit of KISStory delivers a more important message-in-a-bottle than your average sword-thrusting swashbuckler romp: that everyone deserves to be loved.
I should probably just come right out and admit - I don’t typically read romances, mostly for (IMO) the frequent lack of chemistry between the intended lovebirds. No such problem in Three Star Island. From the moment Penny and Will’s fates collide, their dynamic felt natural
and witty. Kat Caulberg convincingly illustrates two deeply flawed individuals who struggle balancing their desire for companionship with the baggage of their pasts, and you won’t require a time machine to relate to them.
Hot-headed Will is a dastardly bastard, with enough passion and intrigue to sweep anyone off the shores of sanity. He flirts constantly with disaster - part of his charm and his vice - and he wrestles with what kind of person his actions, and subsequent notoriety, have made him.
Penny is a clever survivor who combines expertise with sheer, stubborn will to stay alive despite the hostile environment she’s trapped in. Her tremendous ability to adapt makes her an indomitable force, but that mental strength requires the toughest of walls to maintain. Deeply scarred, misunderstood, and often alone, she’s had no choice but to bury that treasure chest of emotions.
Penny lost everything when she wound up on the wrong side of a time vortex. When she rebuilt her new life, she lost it all again. Her solitude was as much emotional protection as it was ostracism by a town that wasn’t sure what to make of her.
Will lost his livelihood when his ship sank, his crew drowned, and he washed ashore a town wherein he could be hanged for his crimes if discovered. Presumed dead, he has a chance to start over, if he can control the impulse to cannonball his own fortunes.
In their respective ways, Penny and Will are both stranded and vulnerable, and they have to ch-ch-check themselves before they jiggity-ship-wreck themselves (Guys. I’ll be here all week with these) for a shot at any semblance of happiness.
JE NE SAIS QUOI:
Holy sassy pants, Batman! Kat is a quippy historical nerd whose clean, insightful wordsmithing lulls readers into learning under guise of a love story. She’s crafted a marvelous and inclusive colonial landscape, with well-placed, accurate facts and diverse characters - the sum of which carry a compelling plot. I’m not only stoked for the sequel, but also re-evaluating my opinion of the romance genre altogether.
Tldr; came for the pirate ween. Was not disappointed.