cover image Barbarous


Minerva Spencer. Zebra, $7.99 mass market (362p) ISBN 978-1-4201-4721-6

Spencer’s gleeful second Outcast historical (after Dangerous) is as much fun as the first. By the age of 20, Hugh Redvers, in line to be the Earl of Davenport, pushed his uncle Thomas’s tolerance for pranks to its limits, so Thomas banished the young man not just from the family home and his inheritance, but from all of England. When Hugh returns nearly 20 years later, following Thomas’s death, he has one eye, a rascally monkey named Mr. Boswell, a red parrot, and a huge retinue. Thomas’s young widow, Daphne, is nonplussed but drawn to a man who is legally her nephew. Once their physical proximity ignites passionate desire, all bets are off. Daphne fears Hugh has returned to reclaim his inheritance, supplanting her twin sons, but Hugh’s quite happy with his career as a privateer, which provides plenty of the background color and intrigue that characterize this scintillating series. Readers will particularly appreciate Spencer’s considerable talent with bedroom scenes as this romance rockets to its satisfying conclusion. Agent: Jessica Alvarez, BookEnds Literary. (Nov.)