Romance Book Reviews

Her Norman Conqueror by Malia Martin

Avon, August 1998.
Paperback, 377 pages.
ISBN: 0380798964.
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Cover of Her Norman Conqueror
by by Malia Martin In 1066 England, there are few estates which pass through the female line of descent. Seabreeze Castle is one such estate. Its owner, the lovely Aleen, is determined not to marry her cruel stepbrother, as ordered by King Harold in order to assure that Seabreeze Castle is strongly defended and will not fall into the hands of Norman conquerors. In order to avoid the hateful marriage ordained for her, she impulsively marries a witless, dirty poacher found on her lands. To her immense surprise, he cleans up quite well -- in fact, he's downright handsome, and compellingly attractive. But, he doesn't speak and while docile, seems slow in his thinking, although at times she sees flashes of intelligence in his compelling eyes. Naming him Lord Cynewulf, Aleen settles into married life. But Cynewulf may not be quite what he seems, and the King is extremely unhappy with her actions and decides to take Cynewulf away with him to war. Soon, Aleen is in the middle of the political intrigue surrounding the days before the Battle of Hastings while realizing that she loves her husband -- who may die in the battle ahead. Will she be able to find her husband and keep her beloved Seabreeze Castle in the midst of the Norman invasion?

Malia Martin has taken a much-written about time period and infused it with new life. This rousing tale of an independent woman who was abused as a child will resonate with modern readers. The romance is fresh and unique and the passion is intense. The historical background is interesting and is interwoven nicely with the romantic elements of the story. An excellent historical romance from a talented author.

Highland Scoundrel by Lois Greiman

Avon, September 1998.
Paperback, 374 pages.
ISBN: 0380794357.
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Cover of Highland Scoundrel
by Lois Greiman Lord Roderic McGowan (known as the Rogue in his heyday) has decided that it's time for his fiery, independent daughter Shonna to settle down with a husband. Towards that end, he invites every eligible bachelor in the countryside to his castle for the highland games. A terrible flirt and sometime tomboy, Shonna leads her suitors a merry chase, while privately vowing never to wed -- until she meets the dashing Dugald Kinnaird whose kisses leave her longing for more. But Dugald has his own agenda; he is convinced that Shonna is a spy connected with the assassination attempts on young King James because of her close friendship with him and her frequent visits to Court when the attempts occurred. Pretending to be a suitor, Dugald sets out to win her heart; what he doesn't count on is his own growing passion for the lass which will force him to choose between his heart and his sworn duty.

This is the second entry in Lois Greiman's Highland Brides trilogy which follows the lives and loves of three cousins who, as children, made a solemn vow on the magical Dragonheart amulet to always come to each other's aid in time of trouble. Shonna, the current holder of the Dragonheart, is a spirited and devious young woman whose antics are always entertaining. The mysterious Dugald is a powerful and enticing hero and his interactions with the passionate Shonna and her father are quite funny. With a touch of magic and political intrigue, Greiman's second entry in the trilogy is a must-read for lovers of historical romances.

The Last Highlander by Claire Cross

Jove, August 1998.
Paperback, 339 pages.
ISBN: 0515123374.
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Cover of
The Last Highlander
by Claire Cross In 1314 Scotland, the Scots have just re-taken Edinburgh Castle. Warrior Alasdair MacAuley, a loyal and trusted follower of Robert the Bruce is celebrating in the castle when he meets the notorious witch Morgain le Fay who dares him to participate in a spell. He takes the dare and is hurled into 1998 Scotland where he meets American illustrator and tourist Morgan Lafayette. Convinced that Morgan is the infamous witch who enchanted him, and that modern day Scotland is Faerie, he demands to be sent back. Of course Morgan, who has not exactly been lucky in love, has no idea what he's talking about but does decide this handsome stranger is strangely compelling. As they spend time together, it becomes clear that Alasdair is telling the truth and that his coming forward in time has somehow changed history -- for the worse. Morgan and Alasdair must find a way to right the wrongs the time travel has wrought and somehow find a way to be together forever.

With gentle humor, a bit of sorcery and a dose of grand passion, Claire Cross has crafted another spellbinding tale of love across time. Fans of the time travel subgenre will love this book.

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