Renaissance Romance

A
A Kingdom of Dreams (#46 on our Top 100 Romances List)

An AAR Top 100 Romance originally published on April 8, 1997 As a rule, when I discover an author, I try to read her entire backlist. I thought I had done so with Judith McNaught until a friend suggested A Kingdom Of Dreams. As a huge fan of Whitney, My Love, I was excited to discover that Whitney ...

C
Betrayed by His Kiss

The book reviews that are often hardest to write – as AAR staffers will agree – are those for books which fall into the middle range, the C grade books which aren’t bad, but which don’t really have anything particularly special to make them stand out from the crowd. If you love or hate somet ...

B
The Guardian

As I read this book, I wondered two things. First, what was the average age of marriage for Scots women in the early 16th century? Second, why do all the names of the Scottish Highland clans begin with Mac? The answer to the first was hard to find. Women did marry at a much earlier age than men - ...

C-
Improper Seduction

By
In this historical romance, the story, for much of the book, centers on this burning question: When will our heroine, Bridget Newbury, give up her maidenhead to the hero, Lord Curan Ramsden? Two thirds of the way through the book, the two finally do the deed and, much to my surprise, despite the fac ...

C
Seduced by Destiny

By
If you enjoy wallpaper historicals, especially set in Scotland, then Seduced by Destiny with its feisty heroine and charming hero could actually appeal to you. However, the wallpapery, cutesy feel of it was too much for me, and I had a difficult time staying interested in the book. ...

F
The Border Vixen

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Many writers improve over time. Practice makes perfect, and all of that. And Bertrice Small, with as many books under her belt, should have some mastery of the novel. Now, I haven’t read any of her earlier books, but if The Border Vixen is written better than her early novels, I shudder to think w ...

B-
The Winter Queen

If I were grading The Winter Queen on the setting alone, it would get an unqualified A. It's set in 1564, and the heroine is one of Queen Elizabeth's ladies in waiting. Better yet, all the action takes place during the Christmas season (from shortly before the holiday to Twelfth Night). And, McCabe ...

B+
Across a Moonlit Sea

Memory does play funny tricks on you. I bought Across a Moonlit Sea at a UBS because I remembered loving it a few years ago. After reading it, I realised that, although it was still really good, something had changed and it sure as hell wasn't the book. Mind you, it's still a wonderful Elizabetha ...

B-
Highland Outlaw

True Confessions time: When I was in high school/early college, I loved Scottish romances. More precisely, I loved bad Scottish romances. They were full of "ochs," "ayes," "dinna," "canna," and "doesna", and there were all manner of strapping, virile heroes and dainty but feisty lassies. As I stu ...

C
High Seas Stowaway

High Seas Stowaway has a unique time period and setting that might lend to something truly exciting. Regrettably, even the Renaissance, Venice, Hispaniola, pirates, codpieces, blood vengeance, and the Spanish couldn’t make this one completely interesting. For Bianca Simonetti, ...