Tag Archives: Family Saga

skye o'malley

Breaking News: Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley Is Coming to Apple TV+ as a New Series

Finally, a true bodice ripper historical series for us to enjoy! Great news! Bertrice Small’s epic erotic romance, Skye O’Malley, is coming soon to your TV!

Skye O'Malley bertrice small

Major News About Bertrice Small

Sweet Savage Flame has some exciting breaking news to report! It’s very unusual for an old-school romance blog like ours to divulge or discuss any current events. But today, we are! First Outlander, then Bridgerton, and now: The Late Queen of Erotic Romances magnum opus bodice ripper is coming to the screen! 

Bertrice Small’s story of Skye O’Malley and her six husbands—and numerous lovers—will be coming to your homes as a major TV series! 

Tom Small, son of Bertrice and her husband George, posted a video on Facebook on Sunday, March 19, stating the official news. After five years of trying to find someone he could trust to treat his mother’s intellectual property with respect, all parties involved have come to an agreement.

This news is not just a possibility; it’s a done deal. Small has already signed the papers of a contract to bring the incomparable heroine’s life story to a new audience.

Bodice Ripper Skye O’Malley Series To Air on Apple Plus+

Tom Small stated he signed the rights of the 12 books in the O’Malley family saga over to a trusted source. That source negotiated a deal with ApplePlus + to bring the tale of Skye O’Malley–and her lusty relatives and descendants–to home audiences.

Tom is thankful to all the fans who have been anxious to see this happen. He also thanks ApplePlus+ and (even, LOL) the folks at Penguin, the publishers who had held the rights to her books for years.

Bertrice would undoubtedly be proud and delighted with her son’s endeavors. His determination and diligent efforts to make one of her dearest wishes come true would make any mother proud.

Bertrice Small’s Legacy and the Skye O’Malley Series

bodice ripper bertrice small series tom small

Bertrice Small passed away on February 24, 2015. Her husband, George, predeceased her by three years. Tom Small was their only child. Since Bertrice’s death, her son has maintained a Facebook account devoted to keeping the memory of his mother and her books alive.

Bertrice Small, nee Williams, was born in New York City in 1937 and lived most of her life on Long Island, in the town of Southold. Since her first book, 1978’s The Kadin, Small consistently produced erotic romances starring impossibly beautiful heroines who experienced multiple romantic adventures.

Small was a pioneer not only in the romance genre but also in erotic romance. Her novels were far more sexual than the average book of the early days of the modern romance era. However, they were not anywhere near as explicit as modern erotic romances.

Her historical romance romps were heavy on purple prose. That was the style of the era, after all. Small knew how to master the language, and master it she did!

She wrote 61 books and sold millions worldwide.

Past Attempts to Produce Bodice Ripper Romance Movies Failed

Many years ago, Bertrice Small had been in talks with several people in the film and television industries to adapt her books to the screen. As these talks always came to nothing, Small was convinced there was no future for her books as shows or movies. 

“David Bowie was the secret producer and a young Catherine Zeta Jones was being bandied around to Skye, but that all fell through. And it kind of discouraged my mom. And when I’d bring it up in the future ‘Why don’t we try again? You should try again.’

“‘Nah Hollywood doesn’t want it that.’ I could tell she was dejected.”

Tom Small

Tom encouraged her to try again, but the process disillusioned Small. The industry didn’t want anything to do with her kind of novels, and she didn’t have the stomach to try again.

We’ve previously mentioned that in the early 1980s, Kathleen E. Woodiwiss had been in talks with several Hollywood producers to have Shanna—arguably her finest book—into a film. Shanna sold 3 million copies and spent almost a year on The NY Times bestseller list. 

Watch Tom Small’s Announcement: Bertrice Small’s Skye O’Malley Is Coming to Apple Plus+!

Ultimately, Woodiwiss was told that romantic epic films weren’t profitable enough to justify their existence. Audiences wanted to see historical sagas about wars and battles, not love stories.

If the most prominent romance writer of her day couldn’t convince Hollywood, how would others fare? It seemed as if the romance genre was to be shut out of the industry altogether.

That wasn’t necessarily the case, however, as television channels like CBS and Cinemax would adapt romances into movies or even miniseries throughout the years. Admittedly, these were typically small-scale and low-budget flicks that catered to a niche audience.

bodice ripper Skye Omalley series

The Modern Era of Television Series Loves Romance Novels

In the 21st century, the successes of the Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey movies proved that adaptations indeed could be profitable. As television supplanted cinema as the hot spot for viewing entertainment, networks and production companies came looking for romance novels to transform into series. 

Sweet Savage Flame is especially excited by the news. We are thrilled that romance novels are getting the love and recognition from the entertainment industry they have always deserved.

However, there has been a noticeable absence of bodice rippers. These books did much heavy lifting for the romance genre in its early days. Many outsiders have viewed our beloved ‘rippers with disdain. (And some insiders, too!)

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re glad to hear this news and pass it on to you. Finally, after years of being ignored, romance novels are getting their well-deserved mainstream appreciation! 

As for news on Small’s final and unpublished book, Serena, Tom Small is still in the works to have it released. When that happens, we will let you know.

climb the highest mountain

Historical Romance Review: Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner

Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner
Climb the Highest Mountain by F. Rosanne Bittner
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1985
Illustrator: Robert Sabin
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Savage Destiny Series #5
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Family Saga, Historical Romance
Pages: 448
Format: Paperback, eBook
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner


The Book

This review is of Climb the Highest Mountain, book #5 in the Savage Destiny series by Rosanne Bittner.

The Plot

The year is 1864. The Civil War is coming to an end, and more white migration west is going to soon affect Abigail Trent Monroe, her husband “Cheyenne” Zeke Monroe, and their seven children.

The more immediate threat to the Monroes comes in the form of Englishman Sir Edwin Tynes, their new neighbor.

While that is going on…

The Monroe Children’s Lives Take Major Turns

Wolf’s Blood, the Monroes’ oldest son, is seriously injured at the massacre at Sand Creek, becomes embittered, and joins his uncle, Swift Arrow, and the Sioux in fighting against white encroachment.

Daughter LeeAnn is kidnapped by Comanches and Zeke goes to rescue her.

Meanwhile, back in Colorado, the eldest Monroe daughter, Margaret becomes sexually involved with one of Tynes’ cowboys, who refuses to marry her.

After this, Margaret tries to disavow her Indian heritage and becomes a prostitute. Margaret later marries a man, Morgan Brown, a mulatto, who buys into the Monroe ranch to help the family get back on their feet financially.

On an even sadder note, the youngest daughter Lillian, whose health has always been fragile, passes away.

These events drive a major wedge between Zeke and Abbie.

Zeke’s Brother, Dan, Finds Love…Again

Zeke’s white half-brother, Dan, is back in the West and in the Army, but without his wife, Emily, and daughter, Jennifer, he’s starting to become attracted to Bonnie Beaker Lewis, whose husband was killed by Indians.

Later, Emily dies, giving Dan and Bonnie an opening to act on their feelings. Dan and Bonnie later marry.

As For Zeke and Abbie?

Zeke sleeps with Anna Gale, a former prostitute now boarding house owner, while he is debating whether to leave Abbie and his family due to all they have endured.

However, he and Abbie reconcile and they become a family again.

For now…

The Upside

I’m repeating myself, but Ms. Bittner is exceptional at digging deep into the soft underbelly of the emotions of her characters, both good and bad. It’s an emotional roller coaster, but Ms. Bittner’s fans–of which I am one–know it’s worth it.

The Downside

Not much to criticize here in Climb the Highest Mountain. I’d love to see the Monroes be happy, but I doubt that will happen.


Ms. Bittner’s love scenes are typically unimaginative.


One thing Ms. Bittner’s readers come to expect from her books is plenty of violence, and Climb the Highest Mountain certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard. Assault, rape, shootings, killings, they’re all here.

Climb the Highest Mountain
Climb the Highest Mountain, Reprint

Bottom Line on Climb the Highest Mountain

Frequent readers of Rosanne Bittner’s books know what they’re getting from her work. It’s all here in Climb the Highest Mountain (Savage Destiny Series Book #5): exceptional emotionalism, and rawness.

It’s not always happy, but it’s great nonetheless. 

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.8


Ever since her gaze locked with Lone Eagle’s over a crimson campfire, young Abigail Trent knew her fate lay with the virile Cheyenne scout. She had married him, borne him children, and endured all the hardships of the rugged frontier. But even though so many years had passed, each night found the white squaw melded to her Indian mate, burning with the need to prove their passion again and again.

Now new troubles rose to challenge them: Homesteaders poured into the unmapped territory, determined to wrest the land from the forbidden lovers and their “heathen” people. Abbie and Lone Eagle had conquered greater threats than this, surviving bandits and outlaws, fevers and wounds. They would overcome this danger, too, as together they struggled for their own way of life and fiercely embraced their savage destiny.

Climb the Highest Mountain by Rosanne Bittner
Born to Love

Historical Romance Review: Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood

historical romance review
Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood
Rating: four-stars
Published: 1984
Illustrator: Elaine Duillo
Published by: Warner Books
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 576
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader

Historical Romance Review: Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood


The Book

Valerie Sherwood‘s Cavalier & Colonial Era romance Born to Love takes us to England and the American colonies as four women seek love.

Valerie Sherwood, Cat Fancier & Romance Novelist

Sherwood would always lovingly dedicate her books to the special cats in her life. In Born to Love, it was Mopsy and Chow. She was slightly cat crazy.

So in honor of Ms. Sherwood–and from one crazy cat lady to another–I would like to dedicate my review of Born to Love to one of my cats.

To Bear,

You sweet, gentle soul, a little black-furred, black-nosed, green-eyed wonder.

Bear, you came into my life at 19, when your mother, a feral queen, bore her kittens in the warehouse of the office where I worked. I took you home at four weeks old and because you had not been weaned, I had to feed you milk and mush. Every night before I’d fall asleep, you’d suck at my earlobe as you would have at your mother’s teat.

Even when you grew, you still held on to this adorable kittenish trait.

Sadly Bear, you were in my life for just over a year. I went back to college and my landlady would not allow cats so you stayed home with my mother and siblings. Perhaps life there without me was not what you desired, because you ran away.

I never saw you again and I cried many tears of loss. But I have never forgotten you.

To you Bear, this review is dedicated.

The Set Up: A Family Saga

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, on to the book.

Born to Love is actually four stories of several generations of women with the same name, Dorinda, and their (mis)adventures in love. As repeated over (and over), the premise of the tale is: “It takes one generation to make it, one to lose it, one to talk about it, and one to make it again.”

The First Three Dorindas

The book opens up with the most exciting story of the group. Angel-faced, golden-haired Dorinda, a chambermaid, escapes the Great London fire. She valiantly saves Grantland Meredith from street toughs. Then the two marry each other. The simple Dorinda is shocked when she learns he is an Earl.

Unfortunately for sweet Dorinda, she is not his true love. That would be Polly, an amoral, evil black-haired she-devil of a woman. Polly is the best character in the book, relentlessly calculating and conniving, willing to do anything to have her man. It’s no surprise when this tale ends in tragedy.

Their daughter Rinda’s tale is the second part. Rinda is a wealthy, hereditary Countess. That struck me as odd, as I don’t think that English titles were passed on through the female line back then, but what do I know? Rinda falls in love with Rory, the son of her mother’s rival.

This second Dorinda risks everything to save her man at the Monmouth Rebellion. Sherwood kept repeating how brave, how bold, how valiant Rinda was to ride into battle and save Rory. It would have been nice to see it happen, not hear about it again and again. This story is kind of a letdown.

Of the third Dorinda, we hear about only in a summarized tale told to the fourth Dorinda.

It takes a generation to make a it, one to lose it, one to talk about it, and one to make it again.

The Main Story

The last half of the book deals with Dorinda IV, an indentured servant in Virginia. I liked this Dorinda and her cat, Lady Soft-Paws. Her story, while enjoyable, was uneven.

After her time as an indentured servant is over, Dorinda seeks adventure. She pretends to be a long-lost heiress to a plantation.

Two handsome men vie for her attention, although it’s obvious who the hero is. He is Tarn Jenner a man shrouded in mystery. He hides a secret identity, but we don’t know this until the end.

The characters play deceitful games, but this delightful plot point is squandered as Dorinda spends most of her time mooning over the villain.

Tarn Jenner, who is really a witty character, isn’t seen enough to be fully appreciated. The parts we do see are terrific but fleeting.

The back of the book claims:

“She was the Beauty… He was the Blade-dark debonair, the most dangerous highwayman to rove the colonial roads.”

And yet the highwayman portion is a tiny part of the story and only revealed in brief towards the end!

Final Analysis of Born to Love

The conclusion of Born to Love is wrapped up in a neat package. Although it’s left up to the imagination what the fate of the fifth Dorinda will be.

Sometimes I hate rating a book 4-stars, particularly when with just more care to detail and pacing, it could have been a 5-star read. Born to Love was a book that reached great highs and very middling lows.

Although I love her voice, this is a problem I’ve run into when reading Valerie Sherwood’s romances. Plus, she makes a great hero and sometimes doesn’t do much with him.

If I’m focusing too much on the negatives of this family saga it’s because this one could have been great, a book I loved. As it is, I just liked it very much.

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 3.8


She was The Beauty — reckless Dorinda Meredith, heiress to the wind!

He was The Blade — dark, debonair, most dangerous of highwaymen to rove the colonial highroads.

A world of intrigue and danger stood between them, but they were star-crossed lovers — born to meet, born to clash, and Born to Love

Born to Love by Valerie Sherwood
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