Monday, May 21, 2018
Virginia Henley’s THE BORDER HOSTAGE - A Wonderful Scottish Love Story
I love Virginia Henley's ability to immediately put me in the middle of an exciting story involving people with strong passions dealing with difficult circumstances. The Border Hostage is no exception. It reminds me of the pirate stories I love: a strong hero who takes what he wants though he has a gentle and noble heart; and a heroine who will not be captured even if her heart longs for the man who abducts her. All this and Scotland, too! I do recommend reading Tempted first as this is the 2nd in Henley's Clan Kennedy Saga and is truly a sequel with some of the same characters as the first.
The story is set in 1514 on the Borderlands between Scotland and England after Flodden Field where King James IV was killed. Young James V, still a toddler, is being raised under the watchful eye of his English mother (Henry VIII's sister) and the Earl of Angus, acting as guardian for the young king. Tina who is married to Black Ram Douglas is about to give birth to twins and her half brother, a bastard and half Gypsy, Heath Kennedy, is raising horses at the Douglas Castle. A raid by Scottish borderers nearly costs Heath his life.
In an act to recover his horses and have his revenge, Heath captures the Dacre heir (for ransom) and his betrothed, the dark-haired Raven Clarendon. Heath has seen Raven before and wants her for his own, so he decides he will not let her go when the Dacre heir is ransomed.
Raven is a wonderful heroine, fiercely independent and innocent (though not unaware of the ways of men). She is a free spirit who is trained by her grandmother in the ways of the Craft, a natural healer and (unusual for a woman), a falcon trainer.
This is a case of love at first encounter. Heath was quite clear about his desire to possess the lovely Raven. He'd had many women but she was the first to capture his heart. While Raven was attracted to Heath, she was trying to please her parents and marry the man she thought she was supposed to. That is so very believable.
This was a worthy sequel to Tempted. Frankly, I enjoyed the two books so much I was hoping there were more in this saga. Henley does a superb job of weaving in the history of a tumultuous time in Scotland's history with compelling tales of love. She created such wonderful characters I wanted to see more of them.