1500s

B+
The Venetian Bargain

I've read books that keep me up at night for a variety of reasons. This one certainly kept me up - by sucking me into a gripping plot and also by scaring me with reminders of the realities of life in the past. This book, about a pair of physicians (he is Italian, she is Muslim Ottoman) battling an o ...

C
Shadow of Night

When I read A Discovery of Witches I was enamored with the characters and conflict. Imagine my disappointment though when the second novel in the All Souls trilogy turned out to be dull as dirt for the most part and left me with far more questions than answers. <!-- var browName = navigator. ...

B
Roses in Moonlight

I wasn’t completely sure what to expect when I started this book. Yes, I had the summary, but I’ve learned from past experience that just the summary doesn’t always help in choosing something to read. And I was right about that - it isn’t that the back of the book doesn’t describe what is ...

B-
Tarnished Rose of the Court

Oddly enough, while I was reading Tarnished Rose of the Court I also happened to be reading Meredith Duran’s At Your Pleasure - which has a very similar plot. Both have sisters whose brothers are or were involved in treasonous plots, both have heroes and heroines who were in love in the past and w ...

C+
The Spymaster's Daughter

The Spymaster's Daughter is an elegant portrayal of the machinations and dangers of the late Elizabethan Era court. As a depiction of an historical setting and mood, it is masterfully done. The story and characters, however, left me slightly cold, and I found myself reading on mostly to enjoy the sc ...

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-
Captured by Desire

Captured by Desire is a Tudor romance set in Scotland, with characters who are both commoners: The heroine is a goldsmith’s apprentice, and the hero is a huntsman for a nobleman. This scenario was certainly novel enough to catch my eye. But while the idea is fresh, the prose really isn’t. The lo ...

C
All the Queen's Players

There was once a time when I could point to Jane Feather as an author who successfully and consistently married descriptive settings with intriguing characters. This is no longer true and oh how sad that makes me. Rosamund Walsingham lives a quiet country life with her brother Thomas. She accept ...

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 ...