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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only for the strong hearted
I first discovered Bertrice Small in my grandfather's library. Yes, my grandfather read her books. At first I thought her books were a little too perverted. And then I realized that what they are is REALISTIC!

The first thing anyone wishing to read ANY Bertrice Small books needs to know is THEY ARE NOT TYPICAL ROMANCES! In almost all of her books, the heroine...
Published on November 2, 2004 by Gypsyimp

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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, I'm afraid
On the verge of marrying a man she loathes (the betrothal had been made when they were children), Skye O'Malley meets Niall Burke and it's love at first sight - but the betrothal can't be broken and Niall must make a better match than Skye. On her wedding night, Niall claims the right of droit du seigneur and gets first shot at the young virgin, enraging her husband Dom...
Published on October 16, 2010 by Misfit


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68 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only for the strong hearted, November 2, 2004
I first discovered Bertrice Small in my grandfather's library. Yes, my grandfather read her books. At first I thought her books were a little too perverted. And then I realized that what they are is REALISTIC!

The first thing anyone wishing to read ANY Bertrice Small books needs to know is THEY ARE NOT TYPICAL ROMANCES! In almost all of her books, the heroine has multiple lovers. Sex scenes are ALWAYS graphic! There are rapes, incest, more than just missionary style, etc. She does not edit. Her characters live lives common for the time period. Her stories do not always have happy endings, just like in real life. There is death (of characters you will like). That is just how her books are.

If you want a regular romance where, no matter where you are in the book, you know that the hero and the heroine will be together by the end, Bertrice Small is NOT the writer for you!

The women in her lives always have hard lives, hard choices. They love many times, lose children and spouses, are set upon by the world around them. Depending on the setting of the story (year and place) each story is different.

In a typical woman's life anytime between 1100 and 1900, she could expect to have any of these things happen. She was born, grew up, parents or siblings may be killed, she may be raped (a woman's sex was her weakness), she may fall in love, may give herself willingly in marriage or not, may spend her entire life with a husband she hated or one she loved. She would probably have children, some who may die at birth. She may have miscarriages, or lose children to disease. She may even die in childbirth. If she was lucky, she would live to be over 60. The world was ruled by greedy, powerhungry men.

That is how reality was. And that is how Bertrice Small writes.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best erotic romance, June 17, 2002
By A Customer
I read this book when it was first released, nearly 20 years ago. It made me a fan of romantic erotica for life. I have every book Bertrice Small has written, and few if any have disappointed. She tells a grand tale, and never teases, always delivers. Her characters are three-dimensional and you become emotionally invested in them: for years, in the case of the O'Malley dynasty. Skye is a marvelous heroine, and her family saga is fascinating, rich, and wonderfully written. I'm still in love with the Duke of Southwood. You can't go wrong with this book or this author!
Some reviewers have called the erotica in this book "trashy." I respectfully beg to differ! Descriptions of sexual enjoyment in a romance novel aren't trash, they're beautiful! Do we consider our own sex lives garbage? I don't. So why relegate wonderfully written depictions of sexual activity to the garbage can? It's a real pity that the enjoyment of erotica is still so taboo.
Bravo to Bertrice Small for writing the best of this genre.
I wish more books that are advertised as "sexy" and "romantic" were as honest as this. I've just finished a well-known vampire series that, given the reviews, I expected to be along the lines of this book, and to my regret the only explicit depictions were of violence and death; the romance was non-existant, the eroticism teased but never delivered. I kept reading each book, hoping some aspect of the character's love life would be resolved, to no avail. What a disappointment!
If you want real romance, real passion, real eroticism, read Bertrice Small's works. You won't be disappointed.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent departure from the average romance, June 15, 2000
By 
J. Austin "jodylync" (Dublin, OH United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Skye O'Malley is not your average heroine. She has the responsibility of heading her family thrust upon her at an early age, yet holds that responsibility with grace and determination. Skye is a reflection of Elizabeth I of England who must rise above the men who would fight her for her throne. Skye's life although more adventurous and sexually exciting, mirrors much of Elizabeth's life and the common threads of their lives are frequently commented upon. With great historical accuracy, Bertrice Small shows us many different cultures during this time period by giving us a strong, central character who triumphs not despite being a woman, but because she is a woman. In real life, very few women love just one man in their lifetime. Neither does Skye. This book is not your average happily-ever-after. Bertrice Small goes beyond the average romance formula and creates her own. I have yet to find an author like her and continously read and reread all of her books.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, I'm afraid, October 16, 2010
By 
This review is from: Skye O'Malley: A Novel (Paperback)
On the verge of marrying a man she loathes (the betrothal had been made when they were children), Skye O'Malley meets Niall Burke and it's love at first sight - but the betrothal can't be broken and Niall must make a better match than Skye. On her wedding night, Niall claims the right of droit du seigneur and gets first shot at the young virgin, enraging her husband Dom. Skye suffers mightily at the hands of her abusive husband, but by the time she's free Niall is married (unhappily) and what then follows are plentiful ups and downs from capture by pirates on the high seas, being sold into slavery (don't you worry, our heroine can charm anyone even the "whoremaster of Algiers"), and eventually ending in England in a marriage that brings her to the court of Elizabeth Tudor, but a twist in fate makes the two women enemies in the end. Can Skye win her battle of wits with the formidable Queen of England? Will she and Niall ever have a happy ending?

Somehow I missed reading Small's books back in the 80's and when I spotted this at a free-book sale I decided to give her a whirl. Yes, I was warned that the purple prose was plentiful, rapes abounded and that the sex was OTT and I was prepared for it, but still -

"As his seed thundered into her hidden valley he shook fiercely with the intensity of his passion."

"Ahh...Skye, your little honey-oven is made for me."

Remember that honey-oven bit. Three (count 'em) three different men use this very same term when referring to Skye.

"Let me play the great desert stallion tonight, my Skye. Roll over, and be my little wild mare."

Forgot to mention, Small seems to have a horse fixation...

"A moment before his climax, he touched one hand beneath her to tweak at the little button of her sensuality and they shuddered their satisfaction in union."

*rolls eyes*

"Your little honey-oven burns my lance with the fiery flow of the passion you would like to deny me, but can't."

There's that honey-oven again. Add all this up, toss in some very abrupt POV switches from one paragraph to the next, mix with some annoying info dumps containing waaaaay more background information on secondary characters than necessary (I really didn't need to know about Geoffrey's family history all the way back to the Norman Conquest) and what is left was just not the book for me. As for the rapes? Yes, they are pretty much standard for these older books and I can live with a forced seduction or two, but what I can't live with is when the heroine is raped by the meanest, baddest, most irredeemable man on earth and we get this,

"And though she hated him, her body treacherously yielded itself."

I won't spoil, but the reader should also be warned that there is a scene towards the end involving a twelve-year-old girl and an aroused dog. If you're a die-hard fan of the old school bodice rippers with a strong stomach this might be the book for you - and it's a series so you can keep on readin' more. Any one else, I'd recommend steering clear - this is my first and last Bertrice Small book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, July 30, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Skye O'Malley (Hardcover)
Although many have trashed this book, I believe they take it, and themselves, way to seriously and should lighten up. Bertrice Small writes for ENTEERTAINMENT, and the research she puts into her books is astounding! Ms. Small's characters are strong, and insead of weeping pitiously in the face of adversity, make the best of the situations they find themselves in. Unlike mass market authors who put out 5 books a year, she keeps her fans breathlessly awaiting her next tale of love, adventure, and lets not forget...sex
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Good Place to Start with Bertrice, October 5, 2008
First I must identify myself as an Avid Bertrice Small fan, as well as a history buff. I would also like to state that I truly believe there are two major categories of romance readers; The escapists who read romance for neat and tidy love stories with just enough tension and drama to have a story line, but nothing to reality filled, as reality is often a bit of a bummer to deal with, especially in our leisure time. Now, with no judgment on this first group it's a bit formulaic for me, kind of like horror flicks, you know sweet but strong willed virgin meets highly skilled and sexed, hard to reach emotionally, hero. Just add a little drama and difficulty and a few chapters later and we all live happily ever after. Now don't get me wrong I would have never found Ms. Small's work had I not been a standard romance fan but when I read my first Small book "The love slave" ten years ago I was changed consumer of romance.

So onto the second category if you enjoy History and I do mean detailed and some times gritty side of history. As well as rich scenery and slightly fantastical events, that may or may not have realistically befallen fictional characters, as well as a strong interest in sexuality and some erotica and the many different roles and aspects it plays in life and politics. Than welcome to this second category; for while no author is infallible this is the genre that Ms. Small has mastered and I recommend you start with the Skye O'Malley's saga.

I hate giving to much away in these reviews: but I will say that Skye is a character who deserves the two immediate books and the ten that followed her Offspring, Even if the amount of contact with the Middle East and the bondages that ensue do become a little tedious at times. The first one hundred pages are a non-stop rollercoaster you can't put down. As the story moves forward you will be pulled into the court of Queen Elizabeth its politics and Intrigue as well as the ongoing tail of Skye, her love life and the ruling of her family and the building of an empire. I would recommend this read strongly, if you like this please continue to explore Bertrice Small's body of work which I have found fascinating. Once you've read this you'll know which kind of romance you are into. As a side note there are two books I consider prequels to the saga as a whole "The Kadin" and "Love Wild and Fair" if you already have read her work before please consider these titles first.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My First Historical Romance, May 11, 2005
By 
K. Rowland (Long Island, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This book came highly recommended to me b/c I was looking for a romance novel that would knock my socks off. That is what I got. Yes, there were some areas in the novel that were a little disturbing (the incest), but they did not last, and they were not glorified. I enjoyed riding the rollercoaster with Skye through her troubles, loves, and adventures. I found the romance aspect of the novel unpredictable. There were times when I was so disappointed, I wasn't sure if I would be happy to see Skye with another lover, but then Small surprises you. Small has a gift for creating very likeable characters (especially men!)

I was extremely pleased with the way things turned out for Skye. The ending was perfect and it had been a long time since I was satisfied with the ending of a novel.

I am new to the genre, therefore I cannot compare this to other romances, but if you have not read any yet, here is the place to start! I have already started the next book in the series, All The Sweet Tomorrows..I'm psyched!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A gift from my husband, September 18, 2013
By 
Susan (HAMPTON, VIRGINIA, US) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Skye O'Malley: A Novel (Paperback)
If you like to read books that will make you howl with their unrealistic situations, flowery prose, neurological disorders and bouts of amnesia, the book of your dreams has ARRIVED.

Skye and other females in the book routinely pass out after or during sex. Someone get these girls to a doctor! Perhaps their perfect figures aren't robust enough for the rigors of sex. Or, and this seems more likely, the modern woman's "honey oven" can withstand more arrogant, rappy, jerk than the lasses of old. Ah, those were enchanted times when a woman was a woman and a man was a narcissistic sex addict with no respect for women or boundaries.

Small always refers to Skye's intelligence though nothing Skye ever does seems even a little intelligent. She walks around from one disaster to another popping a baby out in the middle of the chaos, possibly establishing franchises because she's just too hot to keep her perfectly turned thighs together.

And, oh, the rapiness of it all. I find Small's implication that Skye found being raped stirring unrealistic, insulting, archaic and dangerous. This attitude is insidious. It blames the victim and takes the responsibility away from the attacker. I guess I just missed the lesson while growing up that says a man throwing you on a bed and raping you while you protest is sexy. I see it so often in "romance" novels I guess that must be a thing...

Skye is shallow and has no actual personality. You don't root for her. You don't even know her. All I know is that she goes around the world collecting men, money, jewels, clothes, and kids. The only thing on the list she seems to show no interest in is her children. What kind of mother of a football team are you when you couldn't care less about your children? Not a rhetorical question, actually. You're a bad one. Which actually happens to be my opinion of the book. It's a bad one.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, January 20, 2002
By 
Katherine Parent (Providence, RI United States) - See all my reviews
I read this book years ago. This is the beginning of a saga that spans the life of its heroine, Skye O'Malley. This is not your typical romance novel. Most authors write romances concerning the overused one true love topic. Bertrice Small looks at it another way. She is using a realistic approach. You can have many loves, there is no one true love. I would suggest you read Skye O'Malley, and if you think it is unfinished, thats because it is. Skye's story continues in All the Sweet Tomorrow's and the stories of her children continue after that. I have seen some people review saying that the characters are too young. They are young because in that time, people were young when they married. I was reading the excerpt for Bertrice Small's "The Love Slave" and Regan's mother died and the midwife noted that at 28, the woman was too old for childbearing. People had a much shorter life expectancy too. Skye lived a long time. She finally left the earth at the end of Darling Jasmine, a scene I will never forget. I would suggest read this book and all the others by her. Remember that these books ARE historically accurate, but they are also FICTION. Have a good read!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars makes every other book since an absolute dissappointment, November 10, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Skye O'Malley (Audio Cassette)
This was the third romance novel I had ever read, about 6 years ago. Just getting into the genre, I really thought it was filled with books like this. It's not. Most are rambling dissappointments and you know how they will end by the second chapter, and can guess everything in between. This is a novel. Truly full of everything any other romance claims: suspense, desire, strength, humanity, and love. I've since read many novels, and this is one I still remember and one of the few I've chased back down and reread.
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Skye O'Malley
Skye O'Malley by Bertrice Small (Mass Market Paperback - October 26, 2004)
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