Bedazzled

Bertrice Small, Author Kensington Publishing Corporation $12.95 (374p) ISBN 978-1-57566-432-3
Building on the popularity of her bestselling Skye O'Malley historical romances, this second volume of Small's Skye's Legacy series (after Deceived) begins in 1625, and follows the volatile Lady India Lindley in her conversion from an innocent, headstrong English heiress with forthright views about fashion and romance, into the beguiling, sensual, diplomatic wife of the mysterious Caynan Reis, ruler of the Barbary state of El Sinut. Because Small is compelled at the outset to explain how her current crop of characters relates to the individuals portrayed in her earlier books, the novel's beginning is dragged down by references that would boggle an experienced genealogist. The plot finally acquires a breathless pace when Lady India, attempting to elope with a questionable suitor, is kidnapped by Ottoman pirates and becomes the body slave of the local ruler. She thus finds herself in a cross-cultural adventure that mimics her aristocratic ancestors' experiences. Small contrasts two vastly different 17th-century venues--Europe's lavish upper class with its religious and political conflicts and Barbary's exotic El Sinut, an Islamic state with entirely different customs concerning marriage, costume and worldly affairs. Small knows how to tweak the historical romance formula with just the right touch of originality, when India is kidnapped yet again and brought back to the family manse in England. The inevitable happy end has the correct mix of suspense, sensuality and romance. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1999
Release date: 07/01/1999
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