About the Book
Book: Stealing the First Mate
Author: Tabitha Bouldin
Genre: Christian Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 29, 2021
Sometimes, happily ever after is as elusive as a pirate’s treasure.
Darcy Riggins dove headfirst into the online dating pool and sank. Every time.
Her lifelong dream of becoming a wife and mother becomes more elusive every year. So, taking the lack of a Mr. Right in her life as a decided “No!” from God, Darcy gives up altogether.
Single and happy is not an oxymoron. Right?
Nigel Jones has loved Darcy for ages, but her father (his boss, of course) ordered him to keep his feelings to himself, thanks to a stupid mistake that Darcy (thankfully) doesn’t know about. Too bad her dad does.
Being single and content turns out to be tougher than Darcy imagined, and when she begins doubting everything she’s ever known, Nigel decides it’s time to admit his mistakes, tell the truth, and trust God for the outcome.
In this “forbidden-love-meets-friends-to-more” novel, Stealing the First Mate continues the Elnora Island romances of the Independence Islands Series featuring five islands, six authors, and a boatload of happily-ever-afters.
The Independence Islands Series: beach reads aren’t just for summer anymore.
I decided I wanted to review Stealing the First Mate for two reasons. One, I was reading wonderful reviews about the books in the Independence Islands series, and that they were much deeper reading than most romance books. Two, I had never read anything by Tabitha Bouldin and wanted to know if I would enjoy her books. I found the setting of this story quite different—a pirate ship that performed skits with a Christian message while giving tours around the islands!
Nigel was a crew member on board the Pirate’s Treasure. He had been in love with the owner’s daughter Darcy ever since he was six years old—but her father forbade him to even think about her because of a foolish mistake he made when he was 16. Nigel was ever so thankful that Darcy didn’t know about it, and made sure she never knew about his feelings for her.
Darcy had wanted, ever since she could remember, to be a wife and mother. She tried everything she could think of to find Mr. Right. Every single date she went on, though, turned out to be awful. What could she do to find the right man? Finally, she just gave up—God must be telling her that marriage wasn’t for her.
They’ve been best friends for practically their entire lives, so of course Darcy confided her doubts to Nigel. What could he do but listen and offer what advice he had from God’s word? And then, things came to a head between Nigel and Darcy’s father. What could he do now?
I really liked the depth of faith that Nigel displayed. I liked the thought, expressed by one of Darcy’s friends, that the very best marriage is when you wake up every morning beside your best friend. I did not like the sensual passages, like “All the moisture fled his mouth at the luscious curves the red material made no attempt to hide.” I did like the advice offered to both Nigel and Darcy by Mel, Darcy’s friend. So, my feelings about this book are a bit mixed. There are things I like, and things I don’t. If you love clean romance, you’ll like Stealing the First Mate. Oh, there was one other thing I really loved—CC, the little girl we meet in the first chapter on board the boat! She’s delightful.
I received a review copy of this book from CelebrateLit, and these are my honest thoughts about it.
WARNING: As I mentioned in the last paragraph.
About the Author:
Tabitha Bouldin has a bachelor’s degree in creative writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and has been writing since 2015. When she’s not homeschooling her kids, you’ll find her curled up with a book. Tabitha’s genre of choice is Contemporary Christian Romance which she describes as: Adventure with heart.
More From Tabitha:
I love the friends-to-something-more trope. There’s something invigorating about the challenges of stepping into a different kind of relationship with someone you already know and trust. The risk of losing the friendship if things go badly comes to the forefront and each character has to decide if they’ll take the risk or keep things as they are.
For Nigel and Darcy, there’s the added difficulty of Nigel’s unrequited love. They’ve been best friends forever, and he’s loved Darcy all that time. And she’s clueless! How does that happen?
I wish I could say this story came from my own experience, but that isn’t the case. While my husband and I knew each other for several years before we started dating, we were hardly friends. High school social circles are brutal things. Plus, he had a crush on my cousin, and I was dating someone else.
But it all worked out.
And we’re best friends now.
When it came time to write Stealing the First Mate, I knew Nigel and Darcy were friends. It wasn’t until I worked my way through the first chapter that the depth of their relationship started to emerge, and I realized they were best friends. Darcy runs to Nigel for advise (even dating advise, which became really awkward for Nigel).
Darcy has been looking for Mr. Right so long she can’t see the truth staring back at her in Nigel’s eyes.
Writing their story is one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in writing.
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