Monday, January 11, 2016

B is for Beatrice Small

The first romance Ana bought in 1998 was a historical scorcher by Bertrice Small. My flight out of Hartsfield Airport was delayed and I asked the snack shop clerk to recommend a book. It was an eye-opener!

Ms. Small is one of the grande dames of historical romance. Her heroines are all young virgins. Her heroes, two per story, are older, experienced and smitten by the heroine's spunkiness and fiery beauty.

In the stories I've read, the heroine submit to the first hero to save-protect-benefit her family. The hero who awakens her to the delights of the bedroom. Circumstances (king's decree, storm, etc.) propel her to the second hero, who shows her even more delights. She grudgingly falls in love with the second hero and learns that her heart is big enough to embrace the complexities of life and love. She thrives using her wits until the first hero survives a harrowing journey and reclaims her. He confesses his earlier arrogance, begs for forgiveness and they reunite in love.

Here is the back blurb from 'Betrayed':

When Fiona Hay offers Angus Gordon her virtue in exchange for a dowry for her sisters, she so intrigues the rogue that he demands a higher payment: She will be his mistress. Thus begins a battle of wills and sensual delights. Destiny soon draws the ardent lovers into the turbulent court of King James. But the king's political schemes force Fiona away from the man she loves...and into the arms of a wild and passionate Highlander, The MacDonald of Nairn. Will this coldhearted and callous betrayal forever destroy Fiona's chance at happiness?

Small writes bodice-rippers. Between the fully-clothed-couple covers are super steamy sex scenes.
She knows her 15th century English and Scottish history backwards and forwards. Her dialogue includes a lot  of 'Ye's.  Her depiction of era customs (i.e., hand fasting and the legitimacy of resulting offspring) is believable. She probably taught Nora Roberts how to head hop.

I skimmed Betrayal to write this post, and found I did not enjoy it as much as when I first read it. I guess my tastes have evolved. But if I were teaching a History of Romance class, Beatrice Small would be on the mandatory reading list.


  1. Her covers are steamy even though fully clothed! I don't think I've actually read any books by her, which surprises me because I love historical. But I'm kind of surprised by her two-hero formula. Might have to check it out just to see how she did it.

  2. I'd never heard of her so looked her up on Amazon. Must admit I was not tempted by anything I saw there. Sorry!

  3. I've never read a Beatrice Small, either. The two hero aspect is intriguing.

    You mentioned tastes evolving, and I agree about that. I also think romance itself has evolved by leaps and bounds over the years.

    1. I'm glad romance has evolved from the bodice-rippers and near-rape of the 1970s and 80s. I stopped writing in the 70s because that seemed to be the accepted 'formula' for romance. Unfortunately some people still think that 'romance' is still like that.