Borderland Bride (The Borderland Legacy # 1), by Samantha Holt

Borderland Bride small-002Medieval Romance Borderlands Style

Samantha Holt has written yet another winner with this stirring medieval romance in Borderland Bride, set in the wilds of Northumbria. Secrets and intrigue abound in this tale of love, which features not just one, but two gorgeous men, a strong heroine and a villain out for revenge. I have in the past by-passed the Borderlands, but after reading this novel and finding out how chivalrous the men can be, I feel I need to visit and do a little exploration of my own…

In the tale Lady Isabel, who has been set on by outlaws, is rescued by Jake, a brooding knight and taken back to the home of his enigmatic brother Dominic, where she slowly recovers from her injuries. There is an instant connection forged between Isabel and Jake, despite the fact that her injuries mean that she has lost her hearing and her ability to speak. Jake takes a strong interest in Isabel’s recovery. He is very protective and the passages where the couple succeed in communicating, despite her injuries, are both romantic and touching.

Jake’s younger half-brother, Dominic, is lord of Thornewall Keep, but Jake often resides there to assist with his affairs and protect the keep and the local people from border reivers, the criminals who prey on the Borderlands. Dominic is a consummate flirt. He quickly notices Jake’s attachment to Isabel and takes every opportunity to tease and torment him as only a brother can. Jake is a widower, scarred physically and emotionally from the relationship  with his wife, who died in tragic circumstances. Usually uncomfortable around women, he feels a growing attachment towards Isabel. However, he is tortured by his past and his emotions are conflicted, for whilst he does not feel worthy of Isabel, at the same time he finds it hard to trust another woman and has no wish to marry. He also has a strong temper, which he finds difficult to control.

Isabel has her own secrets. Despite her noble bearing, the brothers do not recognise her as belonging to one of the local families and she refuses to reveal to them her true identity or why she was alone in the Northumbrian countryside. Isabel is a strong and feisty woman, who is sometimes wilful, but is very grateful for her rescue and the protection offered to her by Dominic and Jake. She is attracted to Jake and their relationship becomes very physical. However, before matters progress further and Isabel can reveal her secrets, people from her past appear and Jake feels betrayed. Isabel is forced into making a life changing decision to protect the two brothers she cares about, but which does not reflect her heart’s desire. There is also a villain waiting in the wings to complicate the plot further before a HEA can be found.

This is the third book that I have read by Samantha Holt and I love the way that she writes her romances. Much of the focus is on the interaction between the hero and the heroine and how their relationship develops and this is how I feel it should be in a romance novel. The sensual scenes in the novel are beautifully written and paced to reflect the growing attraction and passion between the main couple. Isabel is certainly no shrinking violet and I loved her passionate character and the way she often took control, as her confidence grows. I also liked how the author did not immediately reveal Isabel’s past and why she was alone in the wilderness, keeping the reader, as well as the brothers, guessing. This created a strong element of intrigue, which not only acted as a good counterpoint to the developing romance, but drove the plot forward.

The interaction between Jake and Dominic when faced with Isabel in their midst was fascinating, as were the differences in their characters. Jake being more serious and brooding, with a quick temper and Dominic, the flirt, who is more even tempered but whose facade hides a complex character. There was often a great deal of humour in their banter, which I enjoyed.

I recommend this book to all lovers of romance, especially those who enjoy reading sensuous medieval romance. I am looking forward to reading more instalments of The Borderland Legacy and other books by  Samantha Holt. If you’d like to read an interview with Samantha, please scroll up to the post above this one.

Find Borderland Bride at Jupiter Gardens Press

Cover art by Valerie Tibbs

Samantha Holt’s website

Please click on the link for A Reader’s Review Blog’s review of Samantha Holt’s The Angel’s Assassin.

The Angel’s Assassin, by Samantha Holt

assassin%20(1).jpg.opt134x203o0,0s134x203[1]The Redemptive Power of Love

In this medieval romance penned by Samantha Holt, a dark knight finds redemption through the power of love, in a romantic tale that I found had an almost fable like quality.

In The Angel’s Assassin, Nicholas, a hardened mercenary knight, is employed by Lord Benedict. He is tasked with taking his niece Annabel, under the pretext of protecting her from rebels, from her home at Castle Alderweald, and return her to Benedict’s abode. Once there, he is to guard her until he receives word from his employer to return her to Alderweald, ensuring that she then meets with a fatal accident. In the intervening time Lord Benedict will persuade the king, Williams Rufus, that Annabel is a traitor, thus paving the way for him to inherit Alderweald, without suspicion falling on him. Nicholas has not killed a woman before, but accepts the task. When he reaches Alderweald Castle it is already under siege from the rebels. Nicholas therefore easily persuades the terrified young woman that he has been sent by her uncle to bring her to safety, and they escape on foot into the adjacent forest.

Nicholas has never met a woman like Annabel, whom he finds angelic, almost fey like in her appearance and he fights his attraction knowing what he must do. Annabel in turn is grateful to her rescuer, seeing him as a brave and honourable man. Forced into close proximity a strong attraction develops into something far deeper. Yet will Nicholas fulfil his contract? What will Annabel do if she finds out his real motives for rescuing her? Annabel’s evil uncle will go to any ends necessary to claim Alderweald, even if Nicholas decides to leave his contract unfulfilled. The remaining plot contains some sweet and hot love making scenes, deceit, violence, betrayal and redemption.

Nicholas, a lonely man, has accumulated wealth due to his misdeeds but he sees no joy in life until Annabel. He is awed by her blind trust in him as her saviour, but also her kindness and intelligence. I loved the way she seems to mesmerise and bewitch him. Annabel has had no experience of men outside her own family. She is immediately grateful to her mysterious and taciturn rescuer and little by little she breaches his defences, finding out as much as she can about him. She knows that he is not unaffected by her presence and finds him equally attractive.

I found the tale to be a sweet romance with likeable central characters. I love a dark hero and was praying for his redemption and a HEA throughout. Much of the plot centred on the couples’ growing attraction towards each other, the conflict coming from Nicholas’ own feelings of self loathing and from the machinations of Lord Benedict. I found that Annabel was not your typical Medieval heroine, as she succumbed to the physical side of their relationship more easily than perhaps a lady would have done at the time. However, she is portrayed as a character who knows her own mind and I think that any woman faced with a hero such as Nicholas would have acted the same way! I enjoy Samantha Holt’s writing style, which enables the reader to get into the head of her characters and transports them into another time and place. If you like medieval romances I can also recommend her novel A Crimson Castle.

Author Samantha Holt’s website