"Love in medieval Scotland!"
The heroine of our story is Alix Givet, daughter of Queen
Margaret's physician. The year is 1461 and after the defeat
of the king's troops at Towton, the king's retinue must
flee once more. They end up at Wulfborn, a small keep in
Northumbria. These are desperate times in England, and
Queen Margaret plans on taking the king—whose madness is
manifesting more and more—and her small son into Scotland
and eventually home to Anjou. Unfortunately for Alix, her
father is ill and won't be able to travel anymore. In order
to give her father a comfortable home, Alix agrees to marry
the Northumbrian baron's son, even though she is aware he
has a mistress he dearly loves and is mentally a child. So
the marriage takes place and the queen and her retinue
continue on their way to Scotland.
The marriage does not go as Alix hoped for. In fact, her
husband is especially cruel to her. Then it finally happens
and Alix's father dies. Before his death, he gave Alix some
money to hide in her clothing and his surgical instruments.
Right after the death of her father, her husband's mistress
dies in childbirth, along with the child. After trying to
kill Alix, the man commits suicide. Finally, Alix is free,
or so she thinks. Turns out her father-in-law, Sir Udolf,
has taken it into his head to marry her to give him an
heir. Before he can do this, he will have to get a
dispensation. No way Alix is prepared to marry the man
she's come to think of as her father, so she manages to
escape. Of course, it's on foot so Sir Udolf won't notice
her horse missing. So she sets off for Scotland, hoping
she'll be able to find a place in the Scottish queen's
court. When the weather turns bad, Alix manages to keep
warm between two cows and falls asleep. She's found the
next day and taken to the laird of Dunglais, Malcolm Scott.
After his wife was found in the arms of his half-brother,
Malcolm has no plans on ever marrying again. He's got his
daughter Fiona, who will do as his heiress. When Alix is
brought to him, half-dead, he decides to allow her to stay
only long enough to get well. However, his daughter forms
an attachment to Alix. Alix approaches Malcolm and offers
to work as companion to Fiona. After all, she will be able
to teach the child everything Fiona will need to know when
she is wed. The longer Alix is at Dunglais, the more
Malcolm realizes just how very attractive she is.
Is there a chance of a relationship between Malcolm and
Alix? Will Malcolm realize not every woman will behave as
his wife did? Will Sir Udolf give up on Alix now that she's
run away from him? And exactly what happened to Malcolm's
wife? Did she die as everyone believes?
THE CAPTIVE HEART has everything one comes to expect from a
Bertrice Small novel—love, danger, and passion all peppered
throughout with historical facts. We learn just how very
strong Alix is when she leaves the safety of Wulfborn for
the unknown in Scotland. Not only how strong, but how
selfless when she agrees to marry the heir of Wulfborn in
order to give her father some comfort at the end of his
life. Everyone believes Malcolm loved his wife dearly and
that is why he refuses to take another, even if he doesn't
have a son to inherit. While this doesn't have the best
ending for one of Bertrice Small's books, it did leave me
with the heartfelt sigh at the end. All in all, this is a
good read. If you enjoy historical romance, THE CAPTIVE
HEART is well worth the time to read it.
Reviewed by Chere Gruver
Posted February 9, 2009
The year is 1461, and the winds of war rage across England, uprooting Alix Givet, the daughter of Queen Margaret’s physician, and the rest of Henry VI’s court. Alix’s plight becomes bleaker still when, out of duty to her queen, and to her ill, widowed father, she’s locked into a loveless marriage to a cruel Northumbrian. But when her luck changes, Alix has another chance to flee—this time to save herself. Escaping north over the border into Scotland, she throws herself at the mercy of a dark and brooding laird who might provide the everlasting love of her dreams—if she can warm his cold heart.