Brilliant, Outspoken, Willful - No One Dared Challenge Stunning Miranda’s Wild Ways... Except Jared Dunham.
Betrothed to this wildcat in a pact that allowed Miranda to remain mistress of her ancestral home off the New England coast, the roguish merchant adventurer turns his wife’s burning rage to searing ecstasy as he fires her most wanton desires.
But time are dangerous - Napoleon is plundering the continents and seas. Miranda’s spirited ways and breathtaking sensuality will plunge her into perilous escapades of brutality and erotic discovery - from the war torn Crimea and the savage slave breeding farm to a terrifying capture and grueling trek to Istanbul.
Bertrice Williams was born on December 9, 1937 in Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, the daughter of Doris S. and David R. Williams, both broadcasters. She studied at Attended Western College for Women and Katharine Gibbs Secretarial School. On October 5, 1963, she married George Sumner Small, a photographer and designer with a History Major at Princeton. They had a son Thomas David. She lived on eastern Long Island for over 30 years. Her greatest passions were her family; Finnegan and Sylvester, the family cats; Nicki, the elderly cockatiel who whistles the NY Mets charge call; her garden; her work, and just life in general.
Published since 1947, Bertrice Small was the author of over 50 romance novels. A New York Times bestselling author, she had also appeared on other best-seller lists including Publishers Weekly, USA Today, and the L.A. Times. She was the recipient of numerous awards including Career Achievement for Historical Romance; Best Historical Romance; Outstanding Historical Romance Series; Career Achievement for Historical Fantasy; a Golden Leaf from the New Jersey Romance Writers chapter of Romance Writers of America; an Author of the Year (2006) and Big Apple Award from the New York City Romance Writers chapter of RWA, and several Reviewers Choice awards from Romantic Times. She had a "Silver Pen" from Affair De Coeur, and an Honorable Mention from The West Coast Review of Books. In 2004 she was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by ROMANTIC TIMES magazine for her contributions to the Historical Romance genre. And in 2008 she was named by ROMANTIC TIMES along with her friends Jennifer Blake, Roberta Gellis and Janelle Taylor, a Pioneer of Romance.
Bertrice Small was a member of The Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America, PAN, and PASIC. She was also a member of RWA's Long Island chapter, L.I.R.W., and is its easternmost member on the North Fork of Eastern Long Island.
The first half was boring to the extreme. (Seriously, skip to pg 200. You won't miss a damn thing.) But suddenly the author realized she'd forgotten to include a plot, so she decided to make up for lost time. A rough incidental outline would look something like this:
First half: Miranda & Jared talk. Miranda & Jared get married. Miranda & Jared have sex. <--Snoozeville.
Second half: Adultery, bisexual villains, riding crops, drugging, rape, slave farms, breeding huts, murderous S&M, mistaken identity, more rape, castrations, gay ped0bear, rape (again), pregnancy abuse, sexual healing, kidnapping, drowning, duels, head-crushing carriage accidents, side characters dropping dead for no reason other than eliminating them from the story. <--WTF did I just read?
Y'all know I love books with whackadoodle crazies, but this one...it's several crayons short of a rainbow. (And if that metaphor makes no sense, too bad. Neither does Unconquered.) The pacing was terrible & the main couple had no real chemistry.** The secondary characters were somewhat better (Mirza in particular), but I felt little for Miranda & absolutely nothing for Jared. He was a useless lump who served no purpose but to pull out his wang. He never managed to locate his wife or progress beyond booze-soaked moping for her supposed demise. His protestations against the redonk "I must sleep with that skanky ho for king & country!" spy plot were thinner than tissue paper, & he couldn't even kill the bad guy in a duel.*** Even worse, neither he nor Miranda displayed constancy of thought or deed; rather, they jumped from one conclusion to another at random, & there wasn't much relationship development to speak of (though Miranda does manage to squeak out some maturity by the end).
...That being said, I've read worse. It could've been improved by spreading the WTFery more evenly throughout. But I've never tried Ms Small before; perhaps this sort of bizarre pacing is the norm, in which case I'm emotionally prepared for my next attempt. *shrug*
2.5 stars, rounded up for the (eventual) goofy lolz.
**"Wildcat" is a stupid nickname to begin with, & repeating it 700 times doesn't make it cuter. ***The Russian ambassador's wife did it for him. Nice one, James Bond. :P
Ma che caspita ho letto? Questo libro è talmente brutto e trash che risulta comico! Vediamo se riesco a raccogliere i pensieri o il mio cervello si è definitivamente sciolto. Allora abbiamo Miranda che si vede costretta a sposare il cugino Jared. Il matrimonio non parte con i migliori degli auspici ma alla fine in un modo o nell'altro i due si innamorano. Peccato che poi si dividano e non riescano a ricongiungersi. E qui parte la fiera dell'assurdo con Miranda che è desiderata da tutti e alla fine tutti se la fanno. Certo il marito mica resta a bocca asciutta nel frattempo. Non contenta l'autrice ci butta dentro rapimenti, adulteri, spionaggio, abusi e tanta altra roba a caso che tutto diventa così assurdo. Sono basita. Ma per fortuna ci sono tanti altri historical romance davvero ben fatti. Non quelli della Small. Da evitare!
It pains me to give a low rating to my favorite historical romance writer but hey, I have to keep it real for my fellow readers. If you are already a fan of Bertrice Small, you will find Unconquered hard to swallow. Despite some wonderful writing, her trademark kick ass heroine and her joie de vivre, the book meanders through unnecessary fourth, fifth, and sixth acts, when it should have been wrapped up eons before.
For those readers unfamiliar with Small, this would definitely NOT be the book that could convert you. Try Blaze Wyndham if you are into the Tudors, or the Kadin, if harem romances are your thing.
Unconquered, set during the Napoleonic wars, is foreign territory to Small, who is usually so good at weaving history with her romances. Additionally, there is a bleakness and cruelty in this novel that was unusual and uncomfortable for this avowed Small superfan. Sure, she has never shied away from icky topics. Rape, incest, pedophilia, sadism, slavery, torture, have all poked their ugly heads in her novels but here, they overtook her usual wonderfully whimsical stories. I swear, some of the things Miranda went through reminded me of Justine, that horribly wonderful novel by the Marquis de Sade, except all the gruesomeness was not tempered by his genius philosophical rantings.
Unconquered is definitely not my favorite of Small's novels. I don't regret reading it because there were lots of redeeming passages, but I would not recommend it unless you are a die hard fan.
ME! I give one star to myself as a pat on the back. Because I finally finished listening to this book, friends. I did it. It’s over. Miranda and Jared got back to America. And I feel...
For those of you who went on this journey with me and were there reading my updates in real time, you know. You KNOW.
It’s honestly not even that it is “old-school” and was, therefore, rife with the pernicious subtext of misogyny, homophobia, and racism. I can handle that. Though it certainly wasn’t something that was winning points in my book, obviously.
It was that this was chalk full of way too much. Another review goes into the long list of things that happen in the second half of this book. But I’ll recap because there were things others not mentioned that I needed to prepare for. I do not want other readers to suffer as I did. Or have to blink as many times as I did to process what I was hearing. If you want a rundown of the second half (which really is just when the insanity goes into overload because the first half of the book is pretty crazy already) then .
Like c’mon, it was too much. The tone was all over the place as a result and we didn’t need it. Small could write, she could. She just wanted to write about everything bad she could come up with. I was reaching my threshold at around 10% when Jared spanked Child-Miranda and then was kissing her and marrying her two pages later. Add in how many times women, and the heroine too, are called bitches amongst other women, or in bed, or to their faces, and I was like, “Okay, was this actually okay even in the 80s and 90s...? Not really.” Then everything else happened.
And don’t even get me started on the number of Food Porn Crimes committed in this book. Every event is accompanied by around two paragraphs of food being listed and described and there are many, MANY weddings, births, parties, and meals being shared.
I just. I don’t know what to say. For me, this book could have been great if it focused on the forced marriage dynamic between a 17-year-old narcissist and a misogynist 30-year-old man. There would, inherently, have been room to organically grow as humans together in America during the War of 1812 (which is the premise, or was... or was supposed to b... or maybe I’m wrong and this book doesn’t even exist? my brain has imploded and I don’t know what anything is anymore). Instead, the impetus for change was horrifying and Jared was a Reverse Heroine Wet Mop Hero and Miranda Becomes a Woman Because She Went Through Some Utterly Bleak Shit? I dunno. This doesn’t do it for me.
Not to yuck anyone’s yum though, seriously. For readers who love intrigue and utterly insane adventure stories and imperfect heroines à la Scarlett O’Hara from Gone with the Wind... then this might tickle you to no end! In which case I would highly recommend giving the audiobook a go because Alex Wyndham makes this really dynamic and interesting to listen to.
Will I listen to another Bertrice Small if AW narrates? Probably. Yeah. *Preemptively Face Palms*
Hated it. Perhaps it is my hatred of historical romance novels in general. When people make fun of 'bodice ripping' books where his 'purple headed pole' probes at her 'secret love grotto', they are thinking of this book. Yes, it really does say 'secret love grotto'. The plot was preposterous. From the first unlikely marriage to the deus ex machina at the end. Very unsexy sex scenes don't help. As much time is spent describing the clothes someone is putting on (that are of no importance) as the brutal rape and murder of a pregnant woman (that has far reaching implications). Political intrigue, cross continent slave marches, forced breeding huts, kidnappings, twin sisters, seduction, deception, and tea parties all thrown together in a rather untidy mess if you ask me. Oh well, I'll give Ms. Small another shot as she was recommended to me, but if that one fails to pan out, she's off my list for good.
One of Ms. Small's better, earlier romances, before the rot set in. Miranda and Jared's marriage is a forced one, and not at all easy, especially after he turns up missing, and Miranda goes chasing off after him. Naturally, as in nearly all of Ms. Small's works, there is plenty of sex, imprisonment in a harem, kinky sex, and some history for good measure. Those who like their erotica with plenty of the exotic should enjoy this one.
2.5 stars. Had a few good moments, but with all of the unnecessary descriptions of unimportant details and the silly twists and turns for the heroine, this story eventually became an eyeroll-worthy mess.
I cannot begin to describe the craziness that is this book. For one, the main characters are hardly together for most of it. Between political intrigues and kidnappings, it shouldn't come as a surprise. It was to such a point that I started shipping Miranda (the heroine) with other suitors.
Adultery, incest, sex slaves, rape, not-really-consensual-but-ok-let's-pretend-it-was sex are the order of the day. It took me nearly 3 weeks to get through the first 50%. Yes, it was that painful. The endless descriptions of every menial, useless little detail from the dresses to the food (so.many. salmons en gelée) to the precise cardinal directions of all the buildings in the story (and I do mean ALL THE BUILDINGS). It was absolutely madness.
After the first 50%, the plot showed up and boy was it a doozy. Ridiculous to a T yet strangely entertaining in the "what the fuck is going to happen NOW?" sense.
Ms. Small goes on a killing spree that I had never seen before in any romance novel. It was sort of like the Game of Thrones of romance novels . Everyone from parental figures to characters you love to people you wanted dead, she took care of it. At times it became rather unfulfilling how quickly she got rid of troublesome characters. There was no real retribution except death. Poo.
Overall crazy, clogged and too much for me most of the time. I am very unsure if I dare pick up another Bertrice Small novel but one thing I can say with confidence: it was quite a ride.
What I liked: H & h get beyond their petty greviances pretty quickly and accept the fact that they love each other. The rest of the story revolves around outside influences that disrupt their HEA.
But, I did say this was old school so there isn't a minimum of 7 statements of consent before they do the deed, and there's bound to be some less than perfectly PC characterizations. Honestly, I could mostly skim over this.
Small put a lot of effort into describing food and dress which got tedious at times.
And, I didn't especially like either main character. I remain undecided on how I feel about about both the H & h cheating. On the one hand as a reader it made it a little more interesting, seeing how they interacted with other partners. They were also more human and relatable in some respects. But, on the other hand, it made two, not super likable characters, more unlikable.
The really unpleasant parts included: murder, non-consensual sex, slavery, beating a pregnant woman, the cheating previously mentioned, some really twisted sexual situations (incest, sex ending in intentional strangulation, breeding farm), and kidnapping (adult). If these are triggers for you, you might want to skip this one.
I swear this story was so terrible. It started out so good and then just horrifying. One thing after another. Endless tragedies. She was a whore by the end. I mean just so stupid. It had so much potential. Ive read tons of historical romance novels. This is the worst ive ever read
My favorite author of all time. Simply fantastic! Her grasp of combining history with fiction is incredible. The details are always such that you feel like you are there. Three cheers for Bertrice Small!!!
Good God! A total train wreck! I don't even know where to begin except to tell you don't read this. The only reason I gave it two stars instead of one is because it was so WTF I couldn't put it down. Lol
Just simply YUCK, ho-rri-ble. The only thing I could think every time I turned the pages was WTF?! It´s a book full of adultery, rapes and even incest and pederasty.
Simplemente PUAJ, ho-rri-ble. Lo único que podía pensar a cada vuelta de página era ¡¿WTF?! Se trata de un libro cargado de adulterio, violaciones e incluso incesto y pederastría.
Por el puntaje del libro es evidente que a muchas les gusta pero si bien no soy una persona celosa, sí soy posesiva. Mi pareja es MI pareja y jamás podría compartirlo, por eso y porque cuando leo un libro me compenetro con los protagonistas es que se me hizo imposible disfrutarlo.
Algo con lo que coincido con otras reseñas es sobre el exceso ridículo de descripciones, literalmente: párrafo tras párrafo sobre la comida servida y como si ello no fuese suficiente, incluso se describe lo que cada uno se servía en el plato. Además me sorprende que haya quedado alguien vivo con la evidente ansia homicida de la autora, ¡pero si hasta perdí la cuenta de los que murieron!
En fin, que me encanta cuando los libros conmueven mis sentimientos pero lo único que provocó este fue bronca e indignación.
It was so amazing, in that at first Miranda didn't love him at all. But then she warmed up to him and when she was taken, Miranda and her husband was doing all they could to get back to one another. It was the AWW factor kicking in.