Category Archives: Laurie McBain

chance winds of fortune

Historical Romance Review: Chance the Winds of Fortune by Laurie McBain

Chance the Winds of Fortune, Laurie McBain, Avon, 1980, Tom Hall cover art

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

2 stars

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Chance the Winds of Fortune A Disappointing Sequel

Chance the Winds of Fortune is the sequel to Laurie McBain‘s Moonstruck Madness, a romance about a gender-bending highwayman (girl) who falls for an arrogant, scarred Duke, notorious for his dueling skills. I LOVED Moonstruck Madness… The follow-ups to that wonderful book about their daughter, Rhea Claire, Chance the Winds of Fortune & Dark Before the Rising Sun, though…uggh.

Please forgive my bluntness. They’re too long, boring, and stink. Even McBain’s tepid first outing, Devil’s Desire, was better than these.

The two sequels books combine to over 1000 pages, telling the tale of a vanilla-bland daughter of the protagonists of a much more compelling story. Perhaps if McBain had combined both novels into one 700 page epic, I would have found more enjoyment out of the romance.

If you take Chance the Wind of Fortune as a historical adventure, this read might not be so bad. Perspective matters. However, this was not marketed as Historical Fiction, but a Historical Romance, which made all the difference to me.

The Plot

Dante Leighton is titled lord turned pirate. Nefarious deeds have resulted in his having to leave behind his life in England as the Marquis of Jacobi. Now Dante and his crew are after lost gold that’s said to be found in a sunken Spanish ship.

Rhea Claire Dominick is the daughter of Lucien and Sabrina, the hero and heroine of Moonstruck Madness. Returning to this saga is Lucien’s cousin, who vows revenge upon Lucien and his family for killing her brother. Her machinations result in Rhea getting kidnapped.

After a long series of tedious events, Rhea ends up on Dante’s ship, and that’s when the adventure begins.

Oh, did I forget to mention that in this 500+ page tome, Rhea and Dante don’t meet until well over halfway through it! 100 pages, I could have tolerated, but that was way too much exposition to get to the meaty parts. Their romance is maybe 1/5 max of this book.

Chance the Winds of Fortune is one of those pirate books where the entire crew is filled with softies who adore the baby-ish, innocent violet-eyed heroine, Rhea, who farts potpourri. Just as in Moonstruck Madness, there’s a treasure hunt for gold, but the real treasure is true love. *Sigh*

Things do get better at the end with Rhea and Dante’s romance, but at that point, I barely cared. It did bump my rating up from 1 1/2 stars to 2, so bully for that.

Final Analysis of Chance the Winds of Fortune

I have read  Dark Before the Rising Sun, the final book in the series, although it will be a while before a review comes out. Life’s too short to dwell on things you don’t enjoy.

My apologies for sounding like a grouch. It’s that I was so enamored by Moonstruck Madness, I wanted to experience another thrill like it. Perhaps Moonstruck Madness was an aberration for Laurie McBain. Or maybe her novels are fine, and it’s just me. I do have weirdly perverse tastes in books.

The Tom Hall covers lured me in. They often did, as my bookshelves can attest. Avon knew what they were doing, having him illustrate so many covers. That man’s art could sell a pamphlet, or convince readers that anything featuring his dazzling work had to be just as wonderful.

I seem to be a rare dissenter when it comes to negative reviews for Chance the Winds of Fortune, therefore, as always, take my opinion for what it’s worth. (Apparently less than .01 cent a review, so click on more ads, please.😁)

Reviewed by Introvert Reader

Moonstruck madness

Historical Romance Review: Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain

historical romance review
Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain
Rating: four-half-stars
Published: 1977
Illustrator: H. Tom Hall
Published by: Avon
Genres: Georgian Era Romance, Historical Romance
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book

Moonstruck Madness is old school historical romance in an oh-so-perfect way. Written in 1977, Moonstruck Madness was Laurie McBain’s second and, in my opinion, best book.

The Characters

Moonstruck Madness begins as the heroine, Lady Sabrina Verrick, watches on as the Scots lose at the bloody Battle of Culloden Moor.

The eldest daughter of a deceased Scotswoman and an itinerant English Marquess, she and her family are without resources. As she’s responsible for her two younger siblings, she packs her family off to England to reside in their absent father’s run-down estate.

Her father is more interested in his young Italian bride than being responsible for his children. It’s up to Sabrina to figure out a way to support her family.

The hero is His Grace, the golden-haired Lucien Dominick, Duke of Camareigh. When we first see him, he’s challenged to a duel by a young hothead. At dawn, he makes quick work of his opponent, displaying his sword-fighting talents.

Lucien’s face bears a dashing scar from when one of his cousins had cut his face as a child.

Speaking of Lucien’s cousins, they share a strange quasi-incestuous relationship and are the obvious villains of this book. They connive to have Lucien done away with to obtain the Dukedom.

Meanwhile, Lucien’s grandmother wants to see Lucien married, and Lucien seems resigned to seeking a wife, but certainly not one for love.

Moonstruck madness
Moonstruck Madness, Laurie McBain, Avon, 1977, H. Tom Hall

The Plot

So Sabrina takes on the wild idea of becoming a highwayman. With the help of two burly locals, she takes on the name “Bonny Prince Charlie,” puts on a mask and hat, deepens her voice into husky timbre, wraps herself in a tartan, and holds up the rich nobles who travel the dark country roads in their coaches.

Lucien, after being robbed and taunted by the Bonny Prince, snares a trap to catch “him.”

I love how Sabrina and Lucien have a sword fight, Lucien gets the best of her, as he is the better swordsman. They engage in tender lovemaking; there is no force, no dominance. I’ve said before in other reviews Laurie McBain might have been old-school, but she was never a bodice-ripper author.

When it’s discovered Sabrina is pregnant, the Marquess, in a rage, whips her mercilessly, only for Lucien to put a stop to the brutality and carry her off in his arms.

That’s more or less the first one-half to two-thirds of this book.

Unfortunately, in the second half, Sabrina and Lucien are at odds for too long.

However, it does pick up and get exciting towards the end as a search for hidden treasure brings them back together.

Final Analysis of Moonstruck Madness

I adored Moonstruck Madness. the first time I read it, I was in my twenties and loved it. The second time, I was in my thirties and enjoyed it a little bit less, but still found it a thrilling read.

As I said, the end falters a bit because the two stubborn hotheads are at odds for too long. nevertheless, this story was an entertaining, swashbuckling romance.

4.5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
5
Characters
5
Writing
4.5
Chemistry
4
Fun Factor
4.5
Cover
5
Overall: 4.7

Synopsis

She’s one thing by day, something else altogether by night…

After escaping the slaughter of her clan at a young age, Scottish noblewoman Sabrina Verrick provides for her siblings by living a double life, until the night she encounters the Duke, and her secret and all she holds dear is threatened…

He’s so disillusioned, he’s completely vulnerable…

With his inheritance at stake, Lucien, Duke of Camareigh, sets a trap for the Scottish beauty with the piercing violet eyes, never imagining what will happen when the trap is sprung…

As their lives become irreversibly entangled, Lucien and Sabrina become each other’s biggest threat, as well as their only salvation… 

Moonstruck Madness by Laurie McBain
DEVIL'S DESIRE

Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

historical romance review

Devil's Desire by Laurie McBain
Rating: two-half-stars
Published: 1975
Illustrator: H. Tom Hall
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance
Pages: 428
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

For me, Devil’s Desire was an ok Regency romance written by Laurie McBain. It’s alright, but nothing special. From the writing, you can tell it’s a “first book.”

The back blurb claims Devil’s Desire “Plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate…

How I wish.

evil's desire hall back cover
Devil’s Desire, Back Cover
(I prefer the back illustration to the front)

The Plot

The bland heroine Elysia, is fleeing from bland, evil enemies. Lots of clichés abound, including:

  • The rakish hero, Lord Alex Trevegne (who’s really not that much of a rake)
  • An evil ex-mistress
  • A Cinderella heroine, Lady Elysia Demarice, with emerald-green eyes and red-gold hair, who’s the most beautiful lady in all of England, and pure as the driven snow. (Clichés in a review are appropriate for a book riddled with them!)
  • The heroine’s evil, greedy relatives

Lady Elysia has escaped from the clutches of said greedy relatives who would steal her fortune. Worse, they would marry her off to someone she wants nothing to do with.

For she is a woman of spirit and will not be controlled!

On the run, she meets the handsome Lord Trevegne, who falls in lust with her dazzling beauty. It’s the Devil and the deep blue sea for Elysia.

Marriage to Lord Trevigne would offer protection, but it will come at a price for Elysia’s independence.

“I would not regret putting a hole in your arrogant chest, only it would be deflected when it hit that piece of rock you call a heart.

My Opinion

I don’t know how Laurie McBain ever got categorized as a bodice-ripper author because she’s not. As she was one of the original Avon ladies from the 1970s, that label stuck to her.

Yes, some of her books were epic in scope, spanning years and/or continents, although not here in Devil’s Desire). However, in her books, there was never forced seduction by the hero, her heroines were virginal and didn’t bed-hop, and bodices were rarely–if ever–ripped.

Regardless, she deserves recognition as one of the first “old-school” romance pioneers, as her books influenced many authors and thrilled millions of readers.

Legend has it McBain co-wrote her novels with her father. It sounds kind of weird to be writing romance novels with your dad, but hey, that’s just me. After he passed away, she stopped publishing books.

Final Analysis of Devil’s Desire

Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain was not a memorable read. Not bad, but so-so.

I much preferred her second novel, Moonstruck Madness, which is more well-known. It was more action-packed, with a heroine who’s quite colorful and courageous and a truly rakish hero.

2.75 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
2.5
Characters
2
Writing
3
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
2
Cover
3.5
Overall: 2.7

Synopsis

[A] rousing, unforgettable saga that sweeps across the valleys and peaks of human destiny, the stormy alliance of beautiful young and plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate… Out of the turbulence of their clashing wills comes one of the greatest love stories ever written, as their twin passions mingle at last, in a rippling tide of liquid fire!” 

DEVIL’s DESIRE by LAURIE McBAIN