Historical Romance Review: Enchantress Mine by Bertrice Small

Enchantress Mine, Bertrice Small, Signet, 1987, Elaine Duillo cover art
2 1/2 stars

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

***Spoiler alert***

Like in all Bertrice Small novels, the history in Enchantress Mine is richly detailed, the villains are just whacked-out, and there’s a lot of WTF situations that make you shake your head, blink and wonder, “What just happened?” But, I don’t know… I guess I just don’t enjoy some of Bertrice Small’s books as much as I do other bodice rippers.

A Too-Perfect Heroine

Enchantress Mine is set in the Middle Ages, during the height of the Byzantine Empire. The heroine, Mairin, is a foundling raised by adopted parents.

Oh, Mairin, how to describe her? The cover art is the best thing about her. I both hated and pitied the poor girl. So many horrific things happened to Mairin, but I didn’t care because she was SOOOO perfect, SOOOO beautiful, SOOOO resilient!

Every man that wasn’t either her relative or 100% gay desired her and had to have her (stop me if you’ve heard this before)! She was just the typical most beautiful-woman-on-earth, the kind of heroine that Bertrice Small adored to write about, and I had no patience nor love for her.

Still, poor Mairin!

The Heroes: Bachelors #1,#2, & #3

Despite the variety of men, her romantic life is the worst.

Her first love, Basil, a nobleman of Constantinople, is poisoned to death by his male ex-lover, a jealous actor.

Another admirer of hers is ironically named Eric Longsword. He no penis and can only pee by using a hollow reed, yet somehow, he still can bring Mairin to orgasmic heights.

The other guy, her true love, Josselin, suffers from the worst malady of all as he’s plain boring! He comes into the picture late in the book, as often does in a Bertrice Small. If he had more character development than merely lusting after Mairin, there might have been a chance to like him. Of her three love interests, the main hero the least memorable.

Final Analysis of Enchantress Mine

Yes, some aspects of Enchantress Mine sound crazy as heck. You would think a book like that would be more exciting, and it almost is, at times. However Mairin is so perfect and so dull. I really didn’t care what happened to her.

Nevertheless, Bertrice Small can do better! I prefer her Tudor and Stuart-era novels such as Skye O’Malley, All the Sweet Tomorrows, or Wild Jasmine instead.

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