Love, Remember Me
This is the second book by Bertrice Small that I have attempted and for the life of me, I cannot fathom why her books are considered to be romances. Historical, epic fiction that include with love stories? Yes. But a romance where the relationship between hero and heroine is paramount in the book? No. Not even close.
Love, Remember Me is set in the times of Henry Tudor. More than the first third of this book is mainly devoted to the history of King Henry VIII, his relationship with Anne of Cleeves, and the machinations of the royal court. The hero and heroine of this story barely lay eyes on each other during this portion of the book.
The heroine is Nyssa, daughter of one of Henry’s former paramours. Nyssa has been brought to serve Queen Anne. Lovely, spirited, loyal, and bright, she catches the eye of the randy King. But a powerful duke wants Nyssa out and his own niece, Catherine Howard, in, and arranges for Nyessa to appear to be compromised by his bastard grandson.
The grandson, Varian de Winter, has taken the rap for his relatives before and therefore has a horrible reputation as a besmircher of female virtue. He has loved Nyessa since spying her at court and would make her his own. While Nyssa is perturbed that she wasn’t allowed to choose her own husband, she’s frankly glad the yucky-old King, with his putrid infected knee, isn’t sniffing around her skirts anymore.
The duke’s plan succeeds, Nyssa and Varian are married off, and they begin their life together, enjoying great sex, great friendship, and, eventually, great love. Sounds like a happy ending, right? Forget it.
Queen Catherine acts like a spoiled brat and decides that she needs her friend Nyssa around to help make life with Henry more bearable. Being a queen simply is not all it’s cracked up to be, especially when you’re a teenager and hot stuff.
So, Nyssa and Varian are forced back to the royal court, where they again become involved in the dangerous intrigues that surround the king. Students of English history will recall that this was an era when suspected enemies of Henry VIII were often imprisoned in the Tower of London, or worse, met some horrible and violent end.
By creating a hero who is related to Catherine, and a heroine who is close to Catherine, the author has created a reason for focusing on Catherine, her relationship with the King, and the time prior to her be-heading. But this book is really more about the life and wives of Henry than it is the romance between Nyssa and Varian.
Speaking of their romance, Bertrice Small lives up to her reputation as the leading author of silly sex scenes. Varian wooes Nyssa with seductive lines like “Your love juices have begun to flow, sweetheart.” Later he tells her that “I could not allow anyone else … to plow a furrow in your love fields, my darling.” What red-blooded woman could resist such talk?
Small makes uses of her favorite euphemisms here as Nyssa refers to Varian’s “manroot” (Is there a book she doesn’t use that term in?). While this author is known for her sensuality, this reviewer couldn’t get beyond the purple prose.
All in all, this book is more of a history lesson than a romance novel.