1500s

B
The Alchemist of Lost Souls

Sometimes it’s the big picture that draws a person into a story. Combining strong fantasy elements with interesting worldbuilding and character work, The Alchemist of Lost Souls is less interesting for its telegraphed mystery than it is for the richness of its universe, but does not stand well on ...

B-
The Sinner

Alex MacDonald, the Scots hero of Margaret Mallory’s The Sinner, has every attribute one could dream up for the perfect alpha male hero. He’s a “blindingly handsome” golden haired sex god with a killer wit and a deadly claymore. He can easily defeat, singlehandedly, groups of ferocious warri ...

C-
Beloved Warrior

Patricia Potter has all of her Ts crossed and Is dotted in the final installment of her Beloved series. There can be no argument that she can write well, with wonderful description, good pacing, and three demensional characters. However, in romance, if there isn’t a spark between the leads, and th ...

B+
Beloved Stranger

Beloved Stranger is a wonderful cabin romance featuring a hero and heroine who are both thoroughly decent, upstanding people. I'm not the biggest fan of Scots romances (with the exception of the Outlander series), but I love books where the characters are good people trying to do the right thing. ...

B+
The Spanish Bride

The story of Henry VIII and his wives is a well-known one and, in most portrayals, Catherine of Aragon is shown as a victim, sometimes even a martyr of Henry's desire for a male heir. The repeated descriptions of her as barren or as a pitiable, cast-aside wife make it hard for many readers to see he ...

A-
The Courtesan

I turned the last of the 560 pages in the second book of Susan Carroll’s “sweeping” historical trilogy and heaved a big sigh of pleasure. Finally! I thought. Then I debated whether to go back to the beginning and start all over again. I was tempted, but didn’t do it - not right that minute a ...

C+
Beloved Impostor

I have long considered Patricia Potter to be a buried treasure. I've seldom seen her books discussed at any length, but she's been out there for years, dependably writing thoughtful, entertaining books. While none that I've read have been DIKs for me, nearly all have been B level reads. That said, h ...

C+
My Secret Protector

My Secret Protector is a romance novel that entertains in spite of the romance, rather than because of it. This is a time-travel fantasy with some intriguing ideas and a story that gains momentum as it goes along. It also happens to work best when the love story is shoved into the background, which ...

B
Feathered Serpent

Feathered Serpent tells the story of the Mexican conquest and definitely has its romantic threads, particularly those concerning Hernan Cortés and his Mexica consort and interpreter, Malinali Tenepal. It's not a romance, however, and as history tells us, there is no Happily Ever After for this coup ...

A-
A Knight in Shining Armor

A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux is truly the definition of a Desert Isle keeper for me. If I could only have ten books to read for the rest of my life, I would want this to be one of them. I knew this book was something special when I read it for the first time while I was in college. I s ...