Sunday, May 11, 2014

New Review: Bertrice Small’s A DANGEROUS LOVE- Wonderful and Unique Scottish Historical Romance

This is the first in Small's Border Chronicles series...and it's a good one. If this is your first by Small, you must realize that she has a very different style and tells very complex stories. But adjusting your expectations from the typical romance to embrace her unique style will reap a rich reward of plunging into a deep historical setting with well developed characters whose life experiences are realistic for the time, in this case the late 15th century, and the place (the border between Scotland and England). She uses long narratives, repeated scenes told through different characters' eyes, "head hopping" from one character's perspective to another in rapid succession when it helps her give the scene depth and a well woven tapestry of lives for a captivating story.

One has to love the "historical" part of these historical romances as Small gives you a lot of what was going on at the time, including not only the politics but also even the food they ate. And the heroine might not be with just one man, which historically was often accurate. It all contributes to a rich background.

This first in the Border Chronicles series tells of strong-willed Adair Radcliffe, the Countess of Stanton, the bastard daughter of King Edward IV. When she is six, the Lancasters kill her mother and adoptive father during the War of the Roses. Adair is taken into King Edward's household to be educated and raised in the royal nursery. At 16, she flees to her family's estate to avoid the king's plans to wed her to a Lancastrian. While she's on the run, the king marries her by proxy to a 14-year-old Tudor boy. When he shows up at her estate, Adair refuses to accept him but he doesn’t live long. Her second marriage is to handsome neighbor Andrew Lynbridge who served Richard, Duke of Gloucester. But Andrew is killed along with the duke in a coup.

The new Tudor king brands Adair a traitor for her husband's loyalty to King Richard and strips her of her title and property. Adair returns to her beloved home only to be taken into captivity by Scottish raiders and sold to the border laird, Conal Bruce. See what I mean about the hero changing in the story? But trust me, it works. It's a well-told tale with a wonderfully strong heroine. I highly recommend it.

Here is the Border Chronicles series in order:



  1. Thanks for the post, Regan. I read everything I could get my hands on years ago from Bertrice Small and loved them all...I'm so glad so many of her stories are digitalized now so I can put them on my Kindle and read them again. Years ago, before I knew about "keepers," I traded in or donated all of my paperbacks to libraries and thrift stores. :-(

    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Janice. I have many paperback "keepers," some, like Bride of the MacHugh and The Flesh and the Devil, that I paid a premium for. Eventually, I will narrow those I keep but for now, I love having them as not all are or ever will be in eBook format.