Category /Genre: Historical Romance
Recommended for: 18+ due to sexual content and violence
Grammar/editing: B – a few small errors
Received from: Samantha Holt (in exchange for an honest review)
Tour by: My Family's Heart Book Reviews
Goodreads: Borderland Bride
Date completed: 01.14.14
Description from the publisher:
In the wilderness of 14th century Northumbria, Lady Isabel discovers just how dangerous the Borderlands can be. With the loss of her voice and her hearing, there is little hope left for her. But when a brooding knight rescues her, she vows never to become a victim again and buries the secrets of her past in the hope that those hunting her will never find her in the Borderlands.
Jake is astonished to come across the beautiful Isabel, near to death, on his brother’s lands. Bringing her back to his brother’s home, he finds himself longing for something more from the courageous woman, something that he thought he would never want again. Isabel works her way into his scarred heart and opens Jake up to loving once more. But will Isabel’s secrets destroy their bond? And with his charismatic brother, Dominic, charming her, does he even stand a chance?
“Isabel, what in God’s name are you doing?”
“I am returning to my father,” she told him breathlessly.
“You would see yourself in that monster’s hands? Why?”
“I cannot see Thornewall suffer for my sakes. And I cannot see you or Dominic harmed. Not for me.”
“We are grown men; will you not let us make these decisions ourselves? Thornewall is strong, we have endured worse.”
Isabel shook her head. “Nay, I will not see war brought to your door. If my father fails here, then he will turn his attention to your lands. They have not the strength of Thornewall, you have said as much yourself.”
Jake squeezed her arm until he saw her wince. Damn his brutish manners. He could not let her throw herself into the arms of a murderer for their sakes. “I can defend my lands, lass. I’ve done it before and I’ll gladly do it again.”
But she was right, Greycroft was ill prepared for a full-scale war and his own castle would not hold out long against a siege. It was likely he would die defending it.
“That is what I fear,” she said softly and Jake wondered if he had spoken aloud.
Her voice took on a desperate quality and she pulled against his grip. “Let me go, Jake, for I cannot allow you to place yourself in danger for me. Not for a woman that hurt you so.”
He considered her and saw the fear in her eyes - a fear that was not for herself, but for him, his brother, and all their people. How he could ever have thought her as wicked as his wife, he knew not. There was nothing in this lass but kindness. He gulped, fighting the words he would have to say. There was no other way.
“Isabel, you do not have to return.”
“I do, Jake!” She struggled again.
“Listen…” He grabbed at her other arm and pinned her still. “Listen, there is another way. Marry…”
She ceased her struggles and stared at him.
Isabel blinked at him. “What?” she whispered.
“Marry Dominic. Your father would be a fool to say nay to such an allegiance. He is one of the richest men in England. There will be no war and you will be safe.”
Safe. He clung to the word, trying to ignore the ache in his heart. It didn’t matter, as long as she was safe. In spite of himself, he urged her to say nay, to confess her love for him, but he knew it could come to nothing. He had nothing to offer Lord Henry in return for her hand.
Isabel gaped at him. “Marry Dominic? But…did he decide this?”
“Nay.” He sighed. “‘Twas my idea.”
She gulped and her eyes misted with tears as she took a deep breath. Her composure regained, she shook her head in disbelief. “Why would you suggest such an idea?”
On the night of her betrothal, Lady Isabel has run away from an arranged marriage in which she was betrothed to a sadist. She is intent on forging her own destiny, perhaps a lady's maid in Scotland. Unfortunately, during her journey north, she is ambushed by a gang of men intent on stealing her jewels. When she fights back, they beat her and leave her for dead. Jake chases off the gang and is surprised to find a noble lady alone and near death on his brother's lands. From the beginning, she captures his heart, but will her secrets and his past prevent him from claiming her?
I loved the characters in this story. Lady Isabel is feisty, independent, and sweet. Jake's brother, Dominic, is flirtatious, intelligent, compassionate, and loyal to his brother and his people. Jake has been misjudged based on his size and has built an armor of protection around himself because of it. I have known young men like Jake. They grow tall at such a young age, that people expect them to act more the age they appear than the age they actually are. This makes them appear socially awkward, when society is actually the awkward factor. Luckily, Isabel sees the true Jake and does not make the common assumptions. He is a warrior, but inside he is still a teddy bear and his soft heart has fallen for her.
I enjoyed this lighter story. Think of it as éclair cake (my favorite dessert) after a satisfying, but heavy, meal of steak and baked potatoes. They're all delicious, but sometimes you just need a little fluffy dessert.
This is the second book I have had the privilege of reading from Ms. Holt and I absolutely love her style. This book is reminiscent of the classic bodice-rippers of my youth with added humor and wit. I will be immediately reading the next book in this series and I have another of her books on my personal TBR list that I am looking forward to reading.
The Borderland Legacy series:
- Borderland Bride
- Borderland Beauty
Other Books from Samantha Holt:
- The Angel’s Assassin
- The Crimson Castle
- A Summer Siege
- The One Knight Collection
- To Steal a Highlander’s Heart
- Not Another Soldier
- To Dream of a Highlander (not yet released)