Category: Harlequin Historical

Historical Romance Review: Highland Fire by Ruth Langan

highland fire
Highland Fire, Ruth Langan, Harlequin, 1991, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Historical #91

3 1/2 Stars

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Highland Sisters

Highland Fire is the third of Ruth Langan’s MacAlpin clan Highland series originally published as Harlequin Historicals. The first novel was Highland Barbarian about sister Meredith finding love. Next was Highland Heather, the tale of middle sister Brenna and her English lord. Highland Fire tells the story of the youngest MacAlpin sister, Megan, and her romance with an Irish renegade, Kieran O’Mara.

Now that Megan’s two older sisters are off and married, the title of clan leader falls upon her dainty soldiers. Despite her delicate appearance, Megan is not a woman who shies from violence. She can wield a sword with the best of them.

Despite its title, this romance is not really set in the Scottish Highlands but the green land of Ireland. Megan finds herself away from her home in a treacherous situation. Fortunately, Kieran O’Mara, a fierce Irish warrior, is there to save her life. Megan and Kieran form a strong relationship that turns into love. Unfortunately, a blow to the head has given Megan amnesia. If she doesn’t know who she is, how can she really love?... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Highland Fire by Ruth Langan”

Historical Romance Review: Highland Heather by Ruth Langan

Highland Heather
Highland Heather, Ruth Langan, Harlequin, 1991, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Historical #65

4 1/2 Stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Highland Sisters, Part Two

Ruth Langan’s Highland Heather is the sequel to her previous Scottish romance, Highland Barbarian. I liked this Harlequin Historical much more than its predecessor. Why? I enjoyed the conflict between the hero and the heroine and the English setting, plus introducing Queen Elizabeth I to a story always makes things interesting.

Brenna MacAlpin is the middle MacAlpin sister, whose elder sister Meredith went and married her beloved Highlander. Brenna is now the leader of their Scots clan. However, it’s not easy going for her as she has enemies, namely the English. Moreover, Brenna does not have the same fierce disposition as her elder sister. Brenna is more even-tempered, dare I say, more lady-like. Her men are blindly loyal to her, regardless, but leading is no easy task.

The Queen’s Savage

One day, the Queen’s Savage himself, Lord Morgan Grey, arrives to implement Queen Elizabeth’s plan to marry the MacAlpin off to an English lord, which she believes will lead to peace. MacAlpin household warily welcomes Morgan and his men. Upon hearing the intentions of the English, Brenna flees into the wilderness.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Highland Heather by Ruth Langan”

Historical Romance Review: Tender Feud by Nicole Jordan

Tender Feud, Nicole Jordan, Harlequin, 1991, Pino cover art

4 1/2 Stars

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

*** Spoiler alert ***

The Plot

Nicole Jordan’s Tender Feud is an engaging Harlequin Historical where the enemies-to-lovers trope is used against the backdrop of 18th-century Scotland.

Katrine Campbell has left staid England behind for adventure in her ancestral Scottish homeland. Unfortunately, her Campbell relatives are feuding with the Macleans. On her first night in her family home, Katrine gets caught in the middle of it all, and is kidnapped.

Her captor is hunky Raith Maclean, leader of his clan. Maclean is a widower, not looking for remarriage, and certainly not looking for love with his half-Scots-half-English enemy.

There are tons of sparks flying between the fiery Katrine and stubborn Raith. They argue lots but are secretly attracted to one another. The romance takes time to unwind, as Katrine is one of those “spunky” heroines, and Raith is determined to “dominate” her by his will.

Instead, the two learn to build a relationship on trust. Raith has a young female relative with whom Katrine builds an endearing friendship. Raith’s sexy cousin Callum flirts with Katrine. Although she’s not interested in him beyond friendship, Raith glowers and disapproves.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Tender Feud by Nicole Jordan”

Historical Romance Review: Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings

Harlequin Historical #157

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Sequel to My Personal Favorite Romance

As I’ve said before, author Louisa Rawlings (aka Sylvia Halliday) wrote exquisite romances. She penned the sensational Stolen Spring, which took place during the era of Louis XIV. Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings is the sequel to one of my all-time favorite books, Stranger in My Arms.

Wicked Stranger, Louisa Rawlings, Harlequin, 1992, cover artist TBD
Wicked Stranger, Louisa Rawlings, Harlequin, 1992, cover artist TBD

The Hero, the Heroine, & the Plot

Noel, this books’ hero, is the devil-may-care twin brother of Adam from Stranger in My Arms is as different from Adam in temperament as they are as similar in looks. Noel is a flirt, a charmer who always sees the positive in life, and prefers to live without responsibilities. Adam is broody, quiet, gruff, duty-bound, awkward with women, and suffers from the horrors of the Napoleonic wars as he was a general, while Noel was a mere corporal.

Noel Bouchard is in New York after living in France. He’s looking to make his way in life, and meets the elite Babcock family. The Babcocks have several daughters, one being the lovely, yet prickly, Elizabeth, whom Noel is strangely drawn to.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Wicked Stranger by Louisa Rawlings”

Historical Romance Review: Highland Barbarian by Ruth Langan

Harlequin Historical #41
3 stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Background to Reading Highland Barbarian

Ruth Langan wrote a series of Highland novels over the years, a few of which I’m already familiar with. I’ve read Ruth Langan’s Highland Heather and Highland Fire, the sequels to Highland Barbarian. I enjoyed those two very much and have fond memories of them.

Highland Heather was the tale of middle sister Brenna being used as Queen Elizabeth’s pawn and captured by the enigmatic Morgan Grey, “The Queen’s Savage,” to mend the rifts between the British and Scots. I’d rate it 4 to 4 1/2-stars. Highland Fire was about the youngest sister, Megan, and a story filled with lots of action, amnesia, and a great, strong-willed heroine paired with a yummy Irish hero. That was a 3 1/2 to 4-star read.

In Highland Barbarian, we see the eldest sister Meredith’s story. Perhaps if I had read this before the other books, I would have liked it more.

Highland Barbarian, Ruth Langan, Harlequin, 1990, cover artist TBD

The Plot

After her father’s death, Meredith is now the leader of the Mac Alpin clan and must join in an arranged marriage to an ally.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Highland Barbarian by Ruth Langan”

Historical Romance Review: The Yankee by Kristin James

The Yankee
The Yankee, Kristine James, Harlequin, 1990, cover artist unknown

Harlequin Historical #57

3 stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Plot

In Kristin James’ (aka Candace Camp) The Yankee, Andrew Stone is a former Union soldier now living in Texas. He’s a stodgy fellow, not well-liked by the local folks, and has a bad reputation. He had an unhappy marriage and now has a young daughter he has to raise by himself.

Miss Margaret Carlisle is a spinster who cares for her orphaned younger siblings. She’s not exactly the most charming person in the world either, although she has reasons not to be.

Together, Andrew and Margaret decide upon a marriage of convenience, as Andrew needs a mother for his daughter, and Margaret wants not to be dependent upon her cruel aunt’s charity.

I recollect that Andrew was a very cold man, and it took a lot of time for his heart to warm up to his efficient, capable bride. His heart had been pretty much torn to pieces by his ex-wife. With Margaret being who she is, it slowly heals, while she learns there’s more to Andrew than his gruff veneer. The kids in the book were cute, too.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: The Yankee by Kristin James”

Historical Romance Review: The Silver Link by Patricia Potter

The Silver Link, Patricia Potter, Harlequin, 1990, Pino cover art

Harlequin Historical #63

From the back of the book:

“New Mexico 1846…Why would her heart not listen to reason?…Antonia Ramirez knew that the tall, blond American was not to be trusted. Hadn’t it been American soldiers who had killed her mother and left her father a cripple? Yet Tristan Hampton had awakened something deep inside her that would not be denied…Since the moment he’d first laid eyes on Antonia, Tris Hampton had been lost. He was haunted by her dark beauty. She made him feel he’d finally found the completeness he’d spent a lifetime searching for. But her father clearly hated him, and someone wanted to see him dead. Of Antonia’s love, he was certain. The question of her loyalty was still to be answered.”

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

In Patricia Potter’s The Silver Link, Antonia and Tristan are from two different worlds. Nevertheless, their forbidden love unites them in a link that can never be severed.

Tristan Hampton is a Virginian military man on a mission to ensure Albuquerque’s stable transition from Mexican rule to American governance. Antonia Ramirez is from a noble, land-owning Spanish family whose New Mexican roots go back generations.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: The Silver Link by Patricia Potter”

Category Romance Review: Healing Touch by Judy Gill

Healing Touch, Judy Gill, Bantam 1993, cover artist TBD
Loveswept #605
3 Stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

From the back of the book:

Brash Doctor Who Specialized in Seduction.

Major Rob McGee needed a wife–but he WANTED Heather Tomasi! He’d met the lovely temptress only once two years before, but his body still remembered the silk of her skin, the wicked promises in her eyes…and she definitely wasn’t wife material! Heather hadn’t forgotten the playboy whose gaze was like a caress, whose touch made her tremble-but she vowed she was having too much fun to settle down.

He Fed Her Appetite for Passion with Pleasure.

Tantalized by a woman who ate dessert instead of dinner and always wore red, Ron risked spontaneous combustion when his lips dueled with Heather’s, but did he dare agree to a charade that would cast him as her lover? She’d never avoided a challenge before, but feared confessing the truth might drive Rob away. Once he understood why she lived on the edge, could he make her see she was his destiny?

This is another mini-review drawn from my ever-waning 30-year-old memories of books I read long ago.

Judy Gill’s Loveswept #605, Healing Touch, had a rather memorable start as the heroine, Heather, bungee jumps naked.... Read more “Category Romance Review: Healing Touch by Judy Gill”

Historical Romance Review: Terms of Surrender by Mollie Ashton

Terms of Surrender, Mollie Ashton, Harlequin, 1990, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Historical #46

From the back of the book:

Lover…or Deceiver?
Julie Farroux had escaped the guillotine by marrying a withered old man who desired her only for her inheritance. Their loveless union had left her believing her heart was as shriveled as his, until she found the warmth of desire in the arms of a handsome stranger. In the glittering city that was Napoleon’s Paris, deception and greed were a way of life. Sebastian Ramlin had made a devil’s bargain with Julie’s husband … to seduce Julie — and give her husband an heir. But he never planned to fall in love with her. Could he find the courage to reveal his treachery … and risk losing the woman he loved? 

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mollie Ashton’s Terms of Surrender was my first Harlequin Historical, and it got me hooked on the series for a long time! It’s a wonderful gem of a book. Don’t believe me? Just read the seal of approval by historical fiction/romance legend Roberta Gellis on the cover.

The book takes place in the post-French Revolution/Napoleonic Era, one of my favorite time periods.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Terms of Surrender by Mollie Ashton”

Historical Romance Review: Stranger in My Arms by Louisa Rawlings

Stranger in My Arms, Louisa Rawlings , Harlequin, 1991, cover artist TBD

Harlequin Historical #90

She gazed into eyes that held love and joy and laughter. The laughter that had always been in him—only needing her to bring it out. ‘Oh, my dearest,’ she answered, her heart swelling with wonder and gratitude for the beautiful man who bent above her. ‘You’re Love.’

STRANGER IN MY ARMS

5 Stars

Rating: 5 out of 5.

My Absolute Favorite Historical Romance

There are many older romances I like out of pure nostalgia. When I re-read them, I know they’re not perfect, yet I enjoy them nevertheless. Stranger in My Arms by Louisa Rawlings first caught my attention over thirty years ago, and I love it more today than I did back then. It even earned the treasured seal of approval from Kathe Robin, the legendary book reviewer and editor of the now, sadly, defunct Romantic Times.

Although it’s a bit on the short side, this is the best romance novel, historical or otherwise, that I’ve ever read. I have re-read this book easily a dozen times in thirty years and am always stirred by its intensity.

A Harlequin Historical published in 1991, this book is 300 pages of tiny type-face, and there’s no room for it to lag.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: Stranger in My Arms by Louisa Rawlings”

Historical Romance Review: To Touch the Sun by Barbara Leigh

To Touch the Sun, Barbara Leigh, Harlequin, 1991, Judy York cover art

Harlequin Historical #98

From the back of the book:

Beloved Captive…To be a knight, chivalrous in deed and courageous in battle, was all that Drue had ever wished for. Dubbed Sir Drue, she had sworn to serve her king and seek revenge against her enemy, Connaught. She had vowed to slay the treacherous knight, yet one look into the depths of his fire-blue eyes and she knew she could never kill him… Though she had captured him fairly on the field of battle, it was Drue who was completely in his power, and she shuddered to think what the proud Connaught would do when he discovered that the ‘lad’ who had defeated him was nothing more than a woman.

4 stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

***Spoiler alert***

To Touch the Sun is an older Harlequin Historical by Barbara Leigh. This is the unique tale about a woman in Medieval England who is raised alongside her brother as a boy and eventually becomes a knight. Not just any knight, but one of the most virtuous, valiant, and admired knights in the kingdom.

The Plot

Druanna takes on the persona of Dru to such a great extent that even her brother almost forgets her true identity.... Read more “Historical Romance Review: To Touch the Sun by Barbara Leigh”