by Bertrice Small

October 2003
ISBN: 0-451-20974-5
Reviewer Graphic Button New American Library
Trade Paperback

In the beginning, Until You, sizzles with so much steam that my hands burned, and thatís what weíve come to expect from award-winning author, Bertrice Small. This is the sequel to the beloved novel, Rosamund, and to many readers delight, brings back the character of Patrick Leslie from, Just Beyond Tomorrow. Although I had not read either, I had no trouble following the continuing story of Rosamund Bolton, the orphaned beauty whom is now thrice married and widowed in only twenty-two years!

Rosamund, as a new widow, heads back to court, partly to see the queen, and partly to escape the advances of the relentless Logan Hepburn, who is anxious to plant his bairn in Rosamund. Logan is enthralled with Rosamund and cannot understand why she continues to refuse his proposal. All she wants is to live her life free from what others have planned for her, and to never marry again. So she throws herself into the arms of fifty-year-old first earl of Glenkirk, Patrick Leslie, and the story unfurls as their passion ignites the pages. A caution though. Great quantities of sex does not always lead to romantic satisfaction.

Interspersed between the passion is the historical backdrop and intrigue of England and itís battle with the Scot's, and Henry VIIIís ambition. Iím sure there are many readers that will love all the historical details, but I felt they eclipsed the romance several times and slowed the plot considerably. Often, I found myself wishing there was less history lesson and day to day mundane details to read. I confess, in the summer I donít fancy a history lesson, I crave dialog between lovers!

Rosamund is memorable in her role as lover of Leslie, friend to two queens and kings and protector of three young daughters. The book introduces Philippa, now ten, and at the end of the book she gets a taste of court and is invited back in two years by the queen. I liked the character of Logan Hepburn despite his angst for a disinterested Rosamund. I was very disappointed that his role in the romantic story only started in the last thirty pages. I thought this should have been one and a half books, one about Rosamund and her affair with Patrick Leslie, and the next about Logan. After reading almost four hundred pages of English history, I felt robbed of the passionate great romance I thought Rosamund was going to finally have with Logan.

Until You, felt more like, Until When? Rosamund spent the majority of the book with Patrick, her true love, that I kept thinking, why have a Logan Hepburn in this book at all? I also did not like the way her affair ended with Patrick Leslie. However realistic, it was disappointing, and it felt contrived to continue the cumbersome plot.

I hope when Ms. Small writes the story of Philippa, or one of Rosamundís other daughters, she strikes a better balance between historical writing and historical romance.

Reviewed in November 2003 by Suemarie.

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