Elysandra Winters has always yearned for a life of adventure on the rolling seas and is willing to do whatever it takes to fulfill her dream. When her Privateer father continually refuses to allow his only daughter to sail, Ellie defies him, disguises herself as a boy, and goes in search of a captain who will give her a chance to prove her worth.

Thanks to the cursed selkie blood coursing through his veins, Daniel O’Rourke needs the sea to survive. After giving up on his humanity and spending three years in seal form, he decides to give his human side another chance. Daniel goes in search of a job and a sense of normalcy, earning himself a position aboard Captain Winter’s ship, The Siren’s Call. However, his new captain’s first assignment has nothing at all to do with sailing, and everything to do with his headstrong young daughter.

Years later, when the leader of a band of bloodthirsty pirates murders Captain Winters, Daniel and Elysandra’s lives come crashing back together with the force of a hurricane. Both experts in deception, they must find a way to trust each other if they are to have any hope of hunting down the captain’s killer.

I must admit, I was very surprised by Call of the Sea – in a good way. I was a bit turned off by the girl on the cover, but the synopsis is what intrigued me the most. A fiery female character is sure to provide loads of entertainment, and then you throw in pirates, selkies, romance, and murder? I’m in! I am glad to say that Rebecca Hart writes an intriguing story; one that draws you in, almost against your will, and keeps you hanging on to the very last word.

Elysandra “Ellie” Winters was a fabulous, but certainly flawed, character. I liked her from the very first few pages, when she decks a boy right in his nose for telling her that she could never be a privateer. I hope my own little girl is an independent firecracker like Ellie – minus the violence, of course. I could feel her frustration with being limited to a dreary life on land, while her father and other boys and men are allowed to gallavant across the high seas. While I admired Ellie’s strong-headedness, much of the decisions she made throughout the story were purely selfish. She didn’t really think about how her actions would affect others, nor did she stop to consider the situation from another point of view when someone made her mad or disappointed her. However, this is pretty typical for a young girl, and I was glad to see that Ellie progressed in maturity by the end of the story.

Ellie’s relationship with Daniel began sweetly and naturally, and progressed with a fiery passion that eventually culmunated in a very hot bedroom scene. Daniel was the type of male love interest I love to see in Young Adult and New Adult novels. He was intelligent, a hard-worker, loyal, loving, honest, and most of all, completely willing to be Ellie’s partner and not her boss. It would take a very understanding yet stubborn man to be Ellie’s match, and Daniel certainly fit the bill. I had a grin on my face a couple times during their arguing and bantering.

I enjoyed the brief moments where the book explored the selkie lore. One of my favorite movies growing up was The Secret of Roan Inish, which focuses on the fabled Irish selkies and their curse. So, it was nice to see the selkies get a bit of primetime in the book, but I will say that if you didn’t already know what they are, you may be a little lost. I had a rather hilarious chat with my friend, Jenni at AlluringReads, as she read Call of the Sea and tried to figure out exactly what a selkie is.

As for the action and the setting, Call of the Sea does not disappoint. I thought that Rebecca Hart’s research really shone in the descriptions of Newquay, England and of the ships themselves. I could practically smell the briny air and hear the bustle of the wharf as privateers and captains prepared to go to sea. There were a few action scenes, where the pirates overtake a boat, and where the pirates themselves are overtaken. These were rather brief, but will satisfy anyone who loves a little adventure in their stories.

I was a little bothered by the ending of Call of the Sea. After such a dramatic build-up throughout the story, I felt that the ending was very rushed and things worked out almost a little too conveniently. However, not everyone has a happy ending, so I think many will be perfectly pleased with how things turn out for Ellie and Daniel. There were some timing/continuity issues as well, but I was reading an ARC, so hopefully those will have been caught and taken care of in the final version.

Overall, Call of the Sea was an entertaining, engrossing read, perfect for a relaxing weekend on the beach or at the park. The story moves along rather quickly and smoothly, and you will find yourself caught up in the pages, having lost track of time. I look forward to seeing what other unique stories Rebecca Hart has in store for her readers!

For the next 4 days, I am hosting a giveaway, courtesy of Rebecca Hart and InkSlinger PR, for a signedcopy of Call of the Sea.

*A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via InkSlinger PR/InkSpell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.