Friday, September 14, 2007

The Border Lord's Bride-Bertrice Small

The Border Lord's Bride
Bertrice Small
NAL, Oct 2007, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451222145

In 1494, the unprotected are pawns for the more powerful to obtain greater strength. That is why elderly Lochearn Laird Ewan MacArthur sends his beloved orphaned granddaughter Ellen to King James for her safety. Two weeks after her departure, their cousin Gavin demands Ellen marry his son Balgair instead of the heir Donald McNab as he plans to make his offspring Laird of Lochearn even if it means turning Ellen into a teenage widow.

Border Laird of Duffdour Duncan Armstrong visits King James to ask a favor of his liege. In return James assigns him to safely escort Ellen home so she can wed Donald as the monarch believes it is Ewan’s decision. When they reach her home, they quickly learn what Balgair and his sire have done as he has her grandfather’s signed document making him heir and her spouse; he explains that he held Donald hostage, but once signed slit both their throats. However, Balgair made one mistake as he asks Duncan to witness the ceremony, he failed to understand the escort is an honorable loyal person, who takes this into his own hands by wedding Ellen although that means giving up his hope to marry for love; or does it.

The second Borderlands Chronicle historical romance (see A DANGEROUS LOVE) is a fabulous late fifteenth century tale filled with intrigue and treachery much greater than that described above. The lead pair struggles with her odious extended family and with the machinations between the rival Kings James and Henry VII. Readers will cherish the heroic Duncan as their own as he risks his happiness and ultimately life to keep Ellen safe; fans will also admire the spunky female protagonist, whose tasted violence and death with her parents already gone and now her betrothed and beloved grandfather were murdered; yet she keeps her with and takes a chance on the unknown rather than the devil she knows. Bertrice Small provides a great read.

Harriet Klausner

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