Argh, There be Pirates! Beverly Jenkins Schools Us on Swashbuckling Romance

We love a swashbuckling romance as much as we love our terrible pirate accents. (Argh!) So we were excited that Beverly Jenkins has a new pirate romance out, an RT Top Pick!, Destiny's Captive. Beverly had some thoughts for us on the roots of pirate romance. You'll want a pen handy, because she has some awesome recommendations. Take it away, Beverly!

Aye aye romance mateys! My first pirate crush was the oh-so-scrumptious Errol Flynn in the iconic big screen swashbuckler Captain Blood.  Although released by Warner Bros in 1935, the movie was still shown in heavy rotation on TV in the ’50s and ’60s when I was growing up.  Flynn’s character, Dr. Peter Blood, is falsely accused of treason and sold into slavery to the Indies where he meets our heroine, Arabella Bishop, played by actress Olivia de Havilland.  The story is filled with adventure, intrigue, sword play and the HEA at the end is the stuff great romance novels are made of.  In fact, Captain Blood started out as an historical romance novel. It was penned in 1922 by prolific author Rafael Sabatini who was born in 1875 of Italian and English descent.  Sabatini was the internationally acclaimed, historical romance rock star author of his time. He published 31 novels,  six books of non- fiction, numerous short story collections and a play.  In addition to Captain Blood, Hollywood also brought to the screen, Sabatini’s Scaramouche, The Sea Hawk (also starring Errol Flynn), and in 1940 yet another of his  great romantic swashbucklers, The Black Swan, starring dreamy, eye candy Tyrone Power and Maureen O’Hara, one of my all- time favorite actresses.  Sabatini died in 1950 at the age of seventy-five. I’d like to think he’d be proud of what we romance writers have done with the genre. If you haven’t had the pleasure of viewing Captain Blood – do so. You won’t be disappointed.

My love of old pirate movies goes hand in hand with my love of pirate books.  I was in my teens when I first read Frenchman’s Creek by Dame Daphne du Maurier. Published in 1941 on the heels of her highly successful classic, Rebecca, Creek is set in Cornwall during the reign of Charles II.  What’s not to love about heroine Dana, Lady St. Columb disguising herself as a male in order to take on the role of highwayman and pirate alongside the man she loves, Frenchman Jean Benoit Aubéry.  In a sense, Lady St. Columb is the matriarch of all the modern day romance heroines who’ve used this same ploy. For those who’ve not read Frenchman’s Creek, I won’t spoil the ending,  but let me just say it provides food for thought about life’s choices.

Seguing to the modern era of romance, Johanna Lindsey was among the first to offer readers a pirate as hero, and was soon followed by other great founding authors of romance like Virginia Henley, Connie Mason, and the writing duo known as Fern Michaels who wrote one of the first female pirate captain romances, Captive Passions. Even famed cover model Fabio got in the act with his novel, Pirates. There are those who say historical romance is dying, but having been in this genre for twenty years, I’m not convinced because — arghh, there be pirates!

Are you a fan or Errol Flynn? We certainly are! And we'll be reading Destiny's Captive this week as well, as it's now available online and in stores. For more swashbuckling love stories, visit our Everything Romance page!