Books by Virginia Henley

THE BORDER HOSTAGE by Virginia Henley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 10, 2001

"Colorful scenery compensates a bit for the predictable story and breathy prose ('When her liquid tremors caused his white-hot seed to erupt, he was sheathed so deeply that they merged and became one')."
Henley (A Woman of Passion, 1999, etc.) is an old hand at spicy romances, and this time out she sets her scene in the borderlands between England and Scotland. We follow the adventures of young Raven Carleton, the proud and headstrong daughter of wealthy English landowners. Out riding one day by herself, she encounters the fierce Scots bandit Heath Kennedy. A "borderer," Heath is a member of an ancient clan that has been dispossessed of its lands, and he makes a living through smuggling, cattle-raiding, and kidnapping. Raven becomes his latest conquest, in more senses than one. Although proud, contemptuous of Scots, and engaged, she finds herself more and more attracted to her captor, until she finds herself hopelessly in love. Heath returns her affections, but this simply puts them in another, worse, quandary: Where can they possibly live happily ever after? The course of true love is seldom smooth, but in the middle of a blood feud there is hardly a safe step in any direction. Read full book review >
THE MARRIAGE PRIZE by Virginia Henley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 1, 2000

"For those with a lower melting point than Rosamond's, scenes like this should induce many pulse points of pleasure."
Closing volume in Henley's Plantagenet trilogy (The Dragon and the Jewel, 1998, etc.). Can it be excessive researchitis that prompts some romance writers to give their historical characters a paste language that bears no ring of human speech? When the naked Rodger comes to his resistant bride Rosamond's marriage bed, she greets him with "icy sarcasm": "I have married you, and yielded my property to you, but I won't yield my body to you. At least not willingly!" At this, Rodger plucks out his naked dagger, cuts his thumb and lets three red drops fall onto the pristine sheets so that he will not be humiliated on the morrow. Rod sees that his "ice maiden" is a "stubborn little filly in need of a firm hand and a touch of the spurs!" Whereupon Rod, "allowing only his fingertips to penetrate her," sends Rosamond erupting and dissolving "into a thousand liquid tremors" before sliding "his shaft into the valley between her upthrusting breasts." Read full book review >
A WOMAN OF PASSION by Virginia Henley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: July 13, 1999

Henley's 16th dish of romance (A Year and a Day, 1998, etc.) tells of commoner Bess Hardwick's life from ages six to forty as she rises from poverty to become Queen Elizabeth's lady-in-waiting and to make a spectacular marriage to the richest lord in England, all the while taking full advantage of the period's sexy freedoms. Henley's faithful know what to expect: rapid storytelling, high passions, rich description, and no stinting on bedtime thrills. On Bess's deflowering by William Cavendish (" ‘Oh my God, she murmured with breathless admiration . . . "You look like your stallion.' ‘That's exactly how I feel—rampant!'—) or to her initiation into the enwilding joys of cunnilingus with the devilishly besotted Shrewsbury ("Her laugh was sultry. She knew he was mad in love with her and ready to give her the moon and the stars"). Bess Hardwick, the publisher tells us, is based on a real-life figure who indeed rose to towering prominence as a descendant of the Plantagenets, whose blood was more royal than the Tudors" and whose temper was just as fearsome: ‘' ‘You aren't just a devil,' she panted furiously, ‘you are Lucifer himself!—" Written in reckless, slamming prose that mirrors its redheaded heroine's blazing tantrums. Read full book review >
A YEAR AND A DAY by Virginia Henley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 1, 1998

Historical high jinks in medieval Scotland, as the ``wild, untamed'' Jane Leslie, daughter of the steward of Dumfries Castle and a woman gifted with the power of healing, finds herself increasingly fascinated by the handsome, brooding, and secretly desperate Lynx de Warenne, a warrior nobleman more concerned with finding a wife and fathering a successor to his knightly holdings than subduing the unruly Scots. Inevitably, Jane and Lynx find themselves involved in a convoluted relationship, and beset by all manner of troubles. Henley, the author of 14 previous romances (including a first hardcover, Dream Lover, 1997), knows how to keep a plot galloping along. That, and an element of frank eroticism, make this one an enjoyable (if unsurprising) addition to Henley's shelf of historical romance genre. Read full book review >
DREAM LOVER by Virginia Henley
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1997

In historical romances, where sex ranges from a premarital chaste kiss to a velvetized version of down-and-dirty, British veteran Henley weighs in at the erotic end. For her first hardcover, she titillates with sex talk, incorporates common parlance for intercourse, and calls some sex organs by their less-exalted names. Henley's devilish hero, Sean O'Toole, the Earl of Kildare, has an ax to grind, it seems. Framed for the murder of his brother, Sean is sentenced to ten years' hard labor aboard a convict ship. His poor mother, meanwhile, has died of grief. Escaping after five years, with hardened muscles and considerable resolve, Sean vows to destroy not only Montague, his brother's murderer, but Montague's free-spirited daughter Emerald, who first enchanted Sean when he saw her swimming on the back of a dolphin. So he kidnaps Emerald, who's married to a man she doesn't love, her wild Irish spirit having been beaten down into tepid Englishness by her cruel father and her terrible governess, Irma Bludget. (Emerald's Irish mother was beaten and left for dead by Montague; she's now gone back to Ireland and opened a brothel.) Sean carries Emerald off to his reclaimed estate, Greystones, with the intention of impregnating her and sending her back to her husband and father with his bastard in her belly. But, naturally, the two fall in love. While they have great sex on his extremely clean white sheets (the prison ship gave him a taste for fresh linen and double-starched shirts), Sean heals his wounded heart, Emerald finds sexual and spiritual heaven with her Irish Prince, the villains are trounced, and Emerald's mother gives up the brothel and is reunited with her daughter. A few sordid moments, but should satisfy romance readers who like their stories sensuous. (Author tour) Read full book review >