The Heart of the Banshee by Carolyn Elizabeth is a swashbuckling romance featuring two women who are soulmates too long separated.

After fifteen years apart from her first love, Julia Farrow has just been hired as the purser on Captain Branna Kelly’s ship the Banshee. Their love is as strong as ever, but now that they’re together again they are tested by new trials. Branna fears for Julia’s safety, as she has not lived the dangerous life of a pirate until now. They both fear their effect on the other, and wonder if it’s good for them to be near despite their love.

Branna is somewhat at loose ends, having finally gotten the revenge she sought for so long, but she and the crew very quickly become embroiled in a new venture. The biggest question isn’t will the women be able to make their relationship work, but will they live to sail another day?


After a very quick introduction the book immediately dives into action, with a rousing sword fight. The entire first half of the book has enough daring do to carry the second half and then some more, but the book remains taut and thrilling to the end. The cast of characters is diverse and the adventures are scary, bloody and thrilling, as a reader would expect from a tale of eighteenth century high seas adventure.

The author gives the main characters realistic emotional traumas to deal with, rather than involved action with gruesome deaths followed by life going on as normal. This grounding makes the main characters all the more relatable to a reader. The action sequences themselves are always well portrayed, playing out on the page like a good movie.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

This book really does read like an extended treatment for a great pirate movie. It’s got a tough but loving captain and a taut crew always ready for a sea battle. There is a lot of action that puts everyone in danger and requires strength and bravery to overcome. What I didn’t expect and actually had me on the edge of my seat was when the story takes a turn toward creepy. This book is not for the faint of heart, but is worth the nail biting.

Something this author always does is pay attention to the emotional toll on a person after they are immersed in violent situations. I consider this one of the strengths of all the author’s works. Another is an inevitable dive into power dynamics of two strong women who love each other but remain not quite totally convinced their relationship is solid. These are realistic concerns and creates awesome characters for the reader to fall in love with.

Shout out to the cover artist. I don’t normally mention that, but this one is outstanding.

Heads Up

It’s pirates. There are stabby and gory deaths.

The Conclusion

Years before, Branna Kelly was presumed lost and her lover Julia Farrow mourned her death. Now reunited, the two face adventures together as the captain and purser of the Banshee. This is a sequel to The Raven and the Banshee, full of swashbuckling adventures, colorful characters, and an endearing love between two women who worry they aren’t quite right for the other.

There are thrills on the high seas in this eighteenth century adventure, and also a surprisingly creepy section that had me on the edge of my seat. The author makes a point of depicting the emotional toll violence will have on a person, and is one of the ways characters are fleshed out and made even move loveable.

Excerpt from The Heart of the Banshee by Carolyn Elizabeth

“My sister did mention a new ship in the area out of Tortuga, the Ferryman. Captain Isaac Shaw, I believe. He’s had some people on edge with his crew causing problems in town and in the bar. She really didn’t go into too much detail.”

Branna nodded. “Sounds like we need to introduce ourselves to Captain Shaw.”

“Sounds like,” Gus agreed with a wry smile.

Conversation quieted for a moment until Oliver piped up again. “My cousin, Bridget, will be pleased to see you, Captain. She’s been worried about you and wanted to come to Nassau, but my father wouldn’t allow it.”

Gus coughed into his drink and Gen glared at him, a thump beneath the table suggested she may have kicked him. Merri grinned at Branna who stared wide-eyed at Oliver, her mouth agape.

“Who’s Bridget?” Julia asked, sensing the obvious tension.

No one answered and when she looked around, everyone found something to busy themselves with.

“Jack,” Branna blurted, “will you be ready to start working with Julia tomorrow morning?”

“Yes, Captain. Looking forward to it.” Branna turned back to Oliver.

“Thank you for joining us, Mr. Swansborough. If you hear from your sister before we sail, please, let me know.”

Oliver had been dismissed and rose to leave. “Yes, Captain, I will.”

“Who is Bridget?” Julia snapped.

“I think we’re done here,” Branna said. Gus and Jack stood so fast to leave their chairs nearly tipped over and they were gone in a mad scramble.

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The Raven and the Banshee

The Heart of the Banshee


Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 978-1-64247-459-6

Publisher: Bella Books

Carolyn Elizabeth Online


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