Wednesday, November 14, 2012
New Review: Bertrice Small’s BETRAYED – Gripping Scottish Medieval Story
We first met Fiona Hay at the court of James I in "The Border Lord and The Lady," book 4 of Small's Border Chronicles series, where she appears as the beautiful mistress of Angus Gordon, a clan chieftain and friend of King James. Then suddenly the MacDonald of Nairn steals her and we hear no more. I was so curious I tracked this book down...this is her story.
The story begins in 1422 when then Prince James is a captive of the English throne. Fiona Hay is 15 and the eldest daughter of her parents, who are both dead. She has 5 sisters and promised her mother on her deathbed that she would see them all married. One has been wed but she has four more to see to the altar. In order to pay their dowers she has stolen cattle from 25 year old laird Angus Gordon. When she is caught, Angus exacts as a price her maidenhead and takes her as his mistress. Right away I didn't like him, as she was an innocent just trying to care for her family. He could have made her his wife, as his sister urged him to do, but no. I felt he deserved to lose her.
Two years later James Stewart is now on the throne of Scotland and Angus visits him at court taking Fiona his mistress and parading her as such before all at court. While he has fallen in love with her he won't tell her and he has yet to marry her. When King James sees that Colin MacDonald, the laird of Nairn, is taken with Fiona, he takes advantage of the chance to plant a spy in the Highlands and sends Angus off on a mission and tells Fiona the laird of Nairn will abduct her, but that she must go with him. He also tells her that he has picked a bride for Angus and it isn't her. She is distraught but feels she has little choice. Colin MacDonald loves Fiona enough to steal her but not apparently enough to allow her the man she loves. Thus, three men, none deserving, have betrayed poor Fiona. But the worst betrayal was the king's for he lied to her repeatedly for his own selfish gain causing her much heartbreak.
Pregnant with Angus' child, Fiona finds herself in the Highlands and handfasted to Colin MacDonald, who thinks the child is his. The story kept me reading late at night as few have. I had to know how this would turn out.
I loved this story!