And Gold Was Ours duillo

Historical Romance Review: And Gold Was Ours by Rebecca Brandewyne


In faraway Spain Aurora’s fortune was foretold –the exile from the home of her aristocratic ancestors, the journey to the steaming jungles of Peru, and at last, the love of a fiery dark man.

Now on a plantation haunted by a tale of lost love and hidden gold, the raven-tressed beauty awaits the swordsman and warrior she has seen in her dreams. Will he come-and protect her from the enemies that seek to destroy her? Will he love her with the promised passion-wilder than the tropic storms and brighter than the most precious treasure?


Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


The Book and the Setup

And Gold Was Ours is a sequel to Rebecca Brandewyne‘s Love, Cherish Me. However, I’d consider this more of a companion piece. The hero, Esteban, is the cousin to Wolf (Lobo), the male protagonist from Love Cherish, Me. Wolf’s story takes place in Texas, USA. Esteban’s begins in Spain and ends in Peru. While both novels have Brandewyne’s hallmark baroque-gothic atmosphere, And Gold Was Ours is not as dark and emotional as its predecessor.

What this romance does have are swashbuckling intrigue and a unique setting. It also employs a supernatural element.

Our story begins in Spain, sometime in the mid-19th century, under the reign of Isabel II. The book opens with a swordfight between Esteban and his evil stepfather. Although Esteban has right on his side, after he kills his stepfather, his wicked stepbrother vows revenge. So Esteban is forced to leave everything behind and flee to the New World.

Aurora Leila, also in Spain, has a fortune teller foresee her future. She is told that she’ll have to leave her home for faraway lands. There, she will find a love that has awaited her for eternity. While Aurora scoffs at the seer, the woman is correct. Some misadventures with a lusty nun occur while Aurora is in a convent. Like Esteban, Aurora must leave her birthplace behind. She travels thousands of miles away to Peru.

The Plot

It takes some time for the love story to begin, as Brandewyne puts the players into their starting places.

When Esteban and Aurora meet in South America, it’s as if they’ve known each other for all time. A bond exists between them, which seems to have existed since time primordial. Theirs is a fated love, one passionate and thrilling.

There are villains aplenty and crazy adventures along the way as they fall in love in the jungles of Peru. Danger lurks as enemies compete for land. A search for legendary ancient treasure leads to mortal peril.

Midway through the book, Esteban and Aurora take a side trip to Texas. They share happy moments with Storm, Lobo, and their son, Chance. If you’ve read Love Cherish Me, this part hits hard in the feels. This was a brief halcyon period for Storm and Lobo before tragedy struck.

Then it’s back to Peru for Esteban and Aurora, who must overcome scheming antagonists.

And unfortunately, we encounter Esteban’s 180-degree heel-turn. He starts out as a dashing, romantic character and then, out of nowhere, turns into a jealous stalker. It was out of place and made Esteban less likable.

Meanwhile, Aurora has visions of the two of them in times past. She sees images from ancient Egypt to Viking lands and other eras long ago when she and Esteban had loved each other. Through forces of fate, they were forever being separated.

Is their love doomed to fail in this time and place as well?

and gold was ours
And Gold Was Ours, Leisure/ Dorchester reissue, 1999, Lina Levy cover art

Final Analysis of And Gold Was Ours

I didn’t particularly appreciate Esteban’s personality transplant, how became an insecure stalker mid-way through. There was no reason for him to mistrust Aurora, who was totally devoted to him.

While I enjoyed And Gold Was Ours as it had its adventurous moments, it pales compared to Love Cherish, Me. That book was far grander in scope and emotional depth.

I didn’t expect the paranormal elements, although they added a unique twist to the plot. The prose is at times overwrought and very florid, typical of Brandewyne’s style. The love scenes are euphemistically erotic.

And Gold Was Ours started a little slow-paced and gets too wordy in certain sections. It was not one of my favorites by Rebecca Brandewyne, but it’s not the worst book by any means.

File this under the “I enjoyed it very much but didn’t love it” category. Esteban’s misplaced jealousy aside, for the most part, it was a compelling read.

3.63 stars

the jacaranda tree outside

Historical Romance Review: The Jacaranda Tree by Rebecca Brandewyne

Step-back cover exterior & interior The Jacaranda Tree, Rebecca Brandewyne, Warner Books, 1995, Elaine Duillo cover artist

From the back of the book:

A sense of foreboding had gripped Arabella Darracott when she left England to join her guardian in Australia. Years before, a gypsy fortune-teller had told her of a purple blossomed tree, a far-off shore, and a devil of a man who awaited her there. Now, as she neared her destination, shipwreck and fate threw her into the arms of a rescuer, “Demon” Lucien Sinclair, the notorious ex-convict who had become rich in the gold fields of New South Wales. Lucien – wild and wickedly handsome – was the fallen archangel of her dreams. But the crime in his past was linked to a dangerous secret. And the passion awakened under the Jacaranda tree could cost Arabella her future, even her life…or give her Lucien forever to cherish, forever to love.

3 stars

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Jacaranda Tree was the last historical romance Rebecca Brandewyne published with Warner Books. After that, she wrote a few contemporaries, some paranormals, and a few gothic mysteries for Harlequin, before disappearing from the writing field entirely.

The plot is centered around an Englishwoman, Arabella Darracott, who is seeking employment in Australia. There, she finds love with a mysterious former convict named Lucien after they are shipwrecked together. Not just a love story, The Jacaranda Tree also a murder mystery written in Brandewyne’s gothic style.

Since I wrote this comment in my reading notes for The Jacaranda Tree: “This is RB’S Frankenstein, with plot points and verbatim scenes gutted from her previous books and stitched together into this one,” I’d figure I’d make a Frankensteinian review from my notes.

1) When I started The Jacaranda Tree by Rebecca Brandewyne, I figured I’d play a drinking game. Rebecca Brandewyne always repeated the same terms or clichés over and over in every book. This was is extremely repetitive. Grab your choice of poison and take a sip (or a guzzle) whenever you come upon of these words or phrases:

retroussé nose
-halcyon days
-mat/pelt of hair on his chest
-coppery taste of blood on lips
-Gypsy/ Gypsy curse
-sloe eyes
-sweeping moors
-twilight dim
-of her own volition
-aquiline nose
-smoking a cheroot

I was on page 88 when I finished my second glass of sherry. (I have to justify it somehow and this is better than just ‘cuz I’m bored!)

2) If Jennifer Wilde is the king of the run-on-sentence, then Brandewyne is the queen of the subordinate clause!

3) Lots of info-dumping history/ecology lessons here… I know the author graduated Magna Cum Laude and is a Mensa member, but is this really necessary?

4) Arabella and Lucien make love. Then Arabella sees Lucien’s “Murderer’s Brand”… And now Lucien is now Michael Myers while Arabella does her best Jamie Lee Curtis imitation.

5) It was painfully obvious who the villain was and there tons of clichés throughout (the serial killer who put coins on the eyes of his victims, for example). Even so, it wasn’t bad. The love scenes were beyond purple prose, they were ultra-violet, yet I liked that. If this had been the first Brandewyne I’d read, I would have enjoyed it more.

6) Well, the bad point about this was that this was the worst Rebecca Brandewyne book I’ve ever read. The good thing is that this was still an ok novel, although not near her best. The Jacaranda Tree was my least favorite of Rebecca Brandewyne’s historicals, mainly because it was almost a verbatim regurgitation of conversations, plot points, and love scenes from other books (mostly from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor and Desperado). 

love cherish me brandewyne

Historical Romance Review: Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne

historical romance review
Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Elaine Duillo
Book Series: Aguilar's Fate #1
Published by: Warner Books
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Western Romance
Pages: 574
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Love, Cherish Me by Rebecca Brandewyne


The Book

I first read Love, Cherish Me many years ago as a teenager, so it’s a long-time favorite.

You have to read this book as a lover of the genre because Rebecca Brandewyne is at her bodice-rippiest.

Rebecca Brandewyne, Author

What I loved about many of Rebecca Brandewyne’s past romances was their baroque style. For example, every so often, she’d pose on the back of the book wearing a dress similar to what the heroine wore on the front cover.

At the beginning of the novel, a poem detailed the love story. Then there was a great list of the cast of characters. The book was broken into several parts. Then to start, there was a prologue, often with the couple together. Finally, the epic novels ended with an epilogue.

And don’t forget the Elaine Duillo cover art. In the 1980s, that was practically de rigeur for a romance diva.

What can I say? I’ve always preferred intricate, elaborate heavy metal or progressive rock rather than streamlined, gritty punk. So it’s no surprise my taste in romances is no different.

The Plot

Part One

Love Cherish Me book is a great western saga. For that reason, you can expect it to be full of murder, sex, death, and trauma. Get your hankies out, because his one is a tearjerker!

The heroine is a Southern belle named Storm Aimee Lesconflair. The hero is a dark stranger people call “Lobo,” or Wolf. On her way out West to marry a stranger, her carriage is held up, and Storm is kidnapped. But her kidnappers make a fatal mistake.

Storm’s life is decided in a fatal card game played by Lobo and her abductors.

Before she knows it, she is violently pulled into the lone gambler/gunslinger’s life.

The tale is epic, set in the epic state of Texas. Storm finds herself in one harrowing situation after another. Villains almost rape her on multiple occasions, but Wolf is there to save her.

Wolf is a dark, sexy hombre of mysterious heritage. Not only does he speak fluent Spanish, but he knows the ways of the Comanche. He also dresses in nothing but black clothes, smokes cheroots, and calls Storm “baby.”

Part Two

For a while, Storm and Lobo have an idyllic life together before circumstances separate them.

Afterward, Storm is forced to make difficult choices to survive. She becomes the unwilling bride of a man she hates.

Then tragedy strikes. Storm is accused of and put on trial for murder.

And most tragically of all, she undergoes the worst pain a mother can feel.

Will she ever find her beloved again?

Final Analysis on Love Cherish, Me

Before finally being reunited with her soul mate, Storm must face the worst a woman can encounter.

Love Cherish, Me is a companion piece to And Gold Was Ours. The latter book was swashbucklingly fun but not as great as this.

The only Brandewyne book I like more than this is her Gothic romance reminiscent of Bronte’s Wuthering HeightsUpon a Moon-Dark Moor.

The conclusion to Love Cherish Me is bittersweet. The book ends with an epilogue of Storm, Lobo, and their family who skirt the fringes of acceptable society. Brandewyne created a masterpiece of a romance here.

Love, Cherish Me wrenches all sorts of emotions from the reader. As hard as it is to describe the complicated feelings it evoked, I am forever glad to have experienced them.

5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.8


Storm was her name and her destiny… Born on a night when lightning flashed and thunder rolled, the raven-haired beauty was sixteen before the promise of her name became the path of her life… Born to wealth, the belle of five counties wagered away to a middle-aged rancher by her wastrel uncle. On her way to Texas to marry Gabriel North, she was captured by outlaws — and wagered away again by her captor to a blue-eyed bounty hunter, a dark-skinned gunslinger called El Lobo, the wolf. A man who could kill in cold blood, then take her with fire and tenderness when she whispered to him.

Across a Starlit Sea duillo gallo

Historical Romance Review: Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne

Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1989
Illustrator: Melissa Duillo-Gallo
Book Series: Highclyffe Hall #2
Published by: Warner Books
Genres: Gothic Romance, Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper
Pages: 365
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks

Historical Romance Review: Across a Starlit Sea by Rebecca Brandewyne


The Book

Across a Starlit Sea was a tempestuous romance written by Rebecca Brandewyne.

This was a sequel to one of my most beloved love stories, Upon a Moon-Dark Moor.

Also notable is this was one of the rare Brandewyne novels with Warner Books that was not illustrated by Elaine Duillo. Instead, her daughter Melissa Duillo-Gallo painted the cover.

Across A Starlit Sea, Rebecca Brandewyne, Dorchester, 2002 Reissue, cover artist TBD

The Plot

The Cornish coast setting of Across a Starlit Sea was appropriate for dark, gothic feel to this historical romance. I enjoyed the first-person narrative in both installments of this series.

The heroines told their life stories on detail: their youths, their first loves, true loves, their married lives with children, and finally into old age. Expect to see Brandewyne’s standard purple-prose writing and in-depth descriptions of history.

Laura was betrothed at birth to Jarrett, the eldest son of Maggie & Draco, the protagonists from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor. The trouble is that she’s been in love with his younger brother, Nicholas, since childhood..

The brothers battle for Laura’s love, but it’s soon evident that Jarrett is the hero who is worthy of her affection.

The way Jarrett won Laura over was so beautifully portrayed. He was an enigmatic, reserved man, but so full of confidence, charisma, and compassion. How could she possibly resist him in the end?

The children of the secondary characters from Upon a Moon-Dark Moor are quite relevant in this book, including Lizzie and Thorne, cousins to Laura, Jarrett, and Nicky.

Lizzie and Thorne have been raised as heirs to Chandler Hall and look down upon their lesser relations, even as Lizzie lusts after Nicky.

Even her brother Thorne had the hots for Nicholas. He hated Laura because Nicholas wanted her so much–and not him!

Nicholas was quite a scoundrel because he had an affair with Thorne’s wife and various other women. This would wreak consequences for the entire Chandler family.

There were so many tragedies in this story (and its prequel). The sacrifices Laura makes to preserve her family are noble, and the ending, while a happy one, is bittersweet.

For the heart is not a candle that, once lit, can be extinguished at will, but a fragile, foolish thing, all too easily wounded, all too slow to heal.


Final Analysis of Across a Starlit Sea

Across a Starlit Sea was to be the second book in Rebecca Brandewyne’s Highclyffe Hall Trilogy about the Chandler family. Brandewyne intended to write a third book about Laura’s son, Rhodes, but never did.

I’ve been waiting for over 30 years for it to come out, and I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. ☹

Across a Starlit Sea is a wonderful book, at times quite the tearjerker. More heart-wrenching is its prequel, Upon A Moon-Dark Moor, which was one of my favorite Brandewyne novels.

I’ll have to use my imagination about the outcome of the series, but I know that no matter what ominous circumstances face the family, love will win out in the end.

4 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.1


She was caught in a whirlwind of passion…Between two men, two brothers, and two fates

As the wind tossed her tangled locks, Laura Prescott looked out into a future as bleak as the savage moors. The only daughter of a sea captain, Laura was betrothed to the master of Stormswept Heights. But it wasn’t Jarrett Chandler who came to her in dreams; it was his impetuous younger brother Nicholas.

Now, standing on the jagged Cornish cliffs, Laura let her tears fall, for she could not foresee a time when she would tremble beneath her husband’s hungry kisses. Nor could she know that a spoiled maiden and a scoundrel schemed for her ruin. All she could do was rush blindly into desire’s mad embrace, toward a destiny decreed by irresistible love…