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From Medieval Book Reviews
Bound To Please
 Bound To Please by Hope Tarr
by Hope Tarr

A Blaze red hot romance with a late Medieval Scottish setting

Hope Tarr's Bound To Please, a Medieval Scottish romance debuts a new category of Historicals in the Harlequin Blaze line. The story behind the romance is quite moving but one historical inaccuracy detracts from one of the finer Medieval literary allusions. Characterization, an intriguing plot and visual imagery make Bound To Please a very good read for fans of red hot romance.

Ten years ago, in 1450 Scotland, Brianna MacLeod was the daughter of the MacLeod laird. A childhood encounter with Ewan Fraser opened her heart to the innocence and love in her heart as the two pledged to marry each other and no one else. Now, ten years later, Brianna has inherited her position as Laird from her now deceased father. She has married to the man her father chose and now stands as a widow. Her previous marriage, a marriage of duty, never inspired her heart. Always a hard worker, Brianna is saddled with all the responsibilities of her job and her heart is closed off. Nothing of the innocence or playfulness of her youth remains. Brianna kidnaps Ewan and chains him to a bed. Determined to get pregnant and bear a child from the two rival clans, Brianna once more feels the need to fulfill her duties of laird to bring peace. Love has nothing to do with it. Also, Ewan's twin brother Callum has been accused of murdering her father. As Ewan becomes her captive, Brianna finds herself attracted to him and he to her. In a game of love play, can they break through all the conventions and duty that bar them from love and open hearts? Can physical love lead to something more?

The characters are rich and multi-dimensional. Smart, spunky, dedicated and recognized for her role as laird, Brianna is a medieval feminist scholar's fantasy of the kind of heroine she might discover in a Medieval text. The initial encounter between Brianna and Ewan stirs the heart with its innocence and beauty. The plot is fast paced and yet full of intriguing subplots and secondary characters to make the reader want to learn the fate of the couple. Having a woman laird in a position of power was certainly refreshing in a Medieval set romance. Every detail is well placed, especially in the plotting of Brianna's father's death. The author makes nice twists and turns in the captive/captor motif as Ewan and Brianna struggle for control. Through an alternating lose and gain of power, their hearts and bodies become truly unchained.

Medieval enthusiasts might notice an incongruity between the setting of the story and Caxton's publication history in the sections describing Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. A few added details describing the beauty of a manuscript version or change in the date of the main action of the story would have made this a superlative sexy Medieval read for both Medievalists and lovers of red hot romance. This is not a big issue for the vast majority of readers, but this literary history detail troubled me while reading at the same time as other story details delighted with their precision.

Bound To Please is a very good choice for readers craving a scorching romance in a historical setting where the heroine is assertive and not easily overshadowed by the men around her. Mixing innocence of heart with determination, Briana will do anything to achieve peace and Ewan will stop at nothing to achieve both his freedom and her pleasure and deeper love. Medieval romance readers unaccustomed to Blaze as a line might find this romance beyond their steaminess comfort level. Bound To Please, metaphorically and literally, has vivid imagery of a woman of breaking through the body and the sense of duty to reach the playfulness and level of love and desire often deadened by societal and gender obligations. Bound To Please is a fun historical fantasy read with a Scottish flair for Blaze and spicy historical romance enthusiasts.

Publisher: Harlequin Blaze (July 2008)
Harlequin Blaze Historicals

Reviewed by Merrimon, Merrimon Book Reviews
Merrimon Book Reviews

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