- Publisher: Avon Books (April 1, 1988)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380755289
- ISBN-13: 978-0380755288
- Package Dimensions: 6.6 x 3.9 x 0.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,883,177 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Beloved Rogue Paperback – April 1, 1988
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Set in Scotland in 1584, Beloved Rogue is the story of the Scottish-English borderlands where feuds and rivalries went on for hundreds of years. When she is only 14, Alexia Carleton, a high spirited proud English girl, meets Jamie Maxwell, a Scot whose clan has been the enemy of the Carletons for generations. With one kiss, she is captured by his love forever. Years later, when she is 19 and betrothed to an English nobleman, Jamie comes to her home, Thirlwell Castle, to rescue one of his brothers. While in the process, he takes her as a hostage, ostensibly to ransom her for his family's sword and gold. He takes her to one of his family's castles and in the weeks that follow, they become lovers and he confesses he loves her. But he can never wed her because she is English and he a Scot and while they share great passion, there is also great mistrust between them. Will he give her back?
I did love this story and particularly the way Williamson brought it all to a close that had me teary eyed. If you're a Williamson fan, this one is worth your reading even if not as amazing as some of her other ones. While it's a debut novel, it reflects her attention to detail, a great story with lots of side plots, her wonderful ability to make you feel along with her well developed characters, and her creation of a lovable hero and heroine as well as endearing secondary characters. The historical setting is accurate as are the place names and geographical features she so well describes.
The other historical novels by her I recommend:
* Hearts Beguiled (June 1989)
* A Wild Yearning (1991) - Winner of RITA Award
* Keeper of the Dream (April 1992) - Winner of RITA Award
* Once in a Blue Moon (May 1993)
* Heart of the West (April 1995)
* The Outsider (July 1996)
* The Passions of Emma (September 1997) - Nominated for RITA Award
First, it's not a medieval setting, and for anyone who has any familiarity with English history, it's pretty obvious by Chapter 2 that this novel takes place during the 1580's, before the death of Mary, Queen of Scots, and during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Both queens are mentioned by name (a suitor of Alexia is one of Queen Elizabeth's favorites) so I for one didn't need the year spelled out.
Second, although some of Alexia's and Jamie's problems arise from the fact that they are both stubborn and don't talk to each other when they should - a portion of their conflict later in the story is directly related to the need for one good conversation, a somewhat overused romance-novel technique which does make me take off a star - this doesn't bother me quite as much as it would have done in the hands of a lesser writer. While it's true most of Alexia's actions toward the end of the story are connected to this need for a good conversation/confession, and her actions did sometimes annoy me, I never lost sympathy with her; more evidence of a real writer who knew what she was doing with these characters. There is a true flame of passion between the two, which is struck from the first instant they meet as teenagers. As for not being properly "in love", and being only "in lust" as one reviewer had it, I can't figure out what the other reader could mean by that. Jamie and Alexia show they love each other; they think about telling each other, even if they find it difficult to say the words, but, as is stated more than once in the course of their story, there's 300 years of Scottish/English conflict, as well as family feuding between them - just how simple a relationship are they SUPPOSED to have? I for one, appreciated the fact that they weren't always billing & cooing but were trying to establish an equitable relationship (Alexia, particularly), out of extremely difficult circumstances.
The twist which occurs toward the end of the story - when we learn an important fact about a subcharacter who then meets a surprising end, was something that I frankly did not expect.
And as for Jamie Maxwell, the hero - I hadn't realized until I finished this book, how much I was in the mood to read about a lighthearted, sensual, teasing "rogue" of a hero such as he is. After several months of reading about dark, conflicted, past-ridden, angst-filled heroes, what a stunning surprise to encounter Jamie, who is probably one of the best romantic heroes I've read about this year. Oh yes, he has the requisite conflict in his past, but it hasn't made him a brooding, almost anti-hero as so many romance novels have it - he's just toughened, mature, and yet still has a sense of humor and laughter in his heart, not to mention enough heat in his blood to light a fire. There is something sunny and happy about Jamie, for all that his mother dislikes him and his second brother has an eye on his title. And yet it's not a "stupid" happiness - Jamie's a man who is totally comfortable in his own skin; is mature enough not to let people who can't be changed get to him, and remains true to himself. What a rare hero - and whatta guy, is all I can say.
The book has a large cast of characters, and yet the author really shows skill by endowing each with memorable characteristics. Lady Annor, Jock; Jamie's brothers Robin, Malcolm, Diccon & Andy, not to mention Alexia's blustering father Thomas, and her sister, Evie, are all woven into the fabric of the plot, but the author never loses sight of her two main characters, and their growing love, during the telling. I simply love a good story with lots of finely-written subcharacters. Penelope Williamson displays here what has become a rare skill for a romance novelist - the ability to tell a good story peopled with subcharacters who aren't just there to set up a sequel. (Or two or three sequels.)
By all means read this book. Don't let the other two reviews entirely sway you away from what turned out to be, for me at least, a romantic reading experience that was absorbing, creative, and despite a few flaws, overall a darn good read.
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In conclusion, "Beloved...Read more