The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation



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My very first EVER romance novel was Roberta Gellis' Bond of Blood. I read it over 35 years ago, back when I was in high school. I still have it. From there I wandered through the standard 70s romance genre (Wolf and Dove, Sweet Savage Love, that entire genre) but the only books I still have all these years later are Roberta Gellis'.

As you said, the strongest appeal to me is her incredibly strong yet realistic women - they don't sneak off to war, they don't have brothers that secretly teach them swordplay. Her heroines are very different - from the strong-willed Alinor and Elizabeth of Chester to the traumatized Gillian and Felice.

I still think my favorite of hers is Knight's Honor - based on the historical character of Roger of Hereford and a fictitious daughter of the real life Rannulf of Chester.

I also credit Roberta's books with sparking my lifelong love of English history, especially the Plantagenet era.

I'm so excited that someone else remembers and likes her books!

Weirdly, Gilliane especially that just worked for me. That scene after her second husband ran off and Adam was about to show up and she's terrified and traumatized and basically suicidally resigned to dying--but she clears out the hall of all the servants and meets Adam and Geoffrey alone hoping that will keep the servants safe. And she grows so much and works so hard to do it and become this incredibly strong woman able to stand up for herself, as much for herself as for what Adam needed in a wife and a partner.

Seriously, that book (and Joanna) I read to scraps.

I can upload The Lion's Daughter in either .lit or .pdf for you if you'd like.

...seriously? OMG PLEASE? Thank you!

The Lion's Daughter

I zipped both versions for you. I prefer the .lit only because the .pdf has some funny typos from when I converted it in Calibre.

Enjoy!

SQUEEEE!!!!!

Captives of the Night is one of my favorite romance novels EVER!!! My love for Leila and Ismal cannot be textually rendered. And I discovered Roberta Gellis at a very impressionable age, and I'm pretty sure she's responsible for my history degree (with a concentration in medieval/renaissance era). *runs off to Amazon*

Thanks for the signal boost!

I loved it, and it was such a surprise how different it was and the kind of people the characters were. And very few authors redeem a character who, yeah, did some bad shit in a way that isn't handwavey or cheap or suddenly they're miraculously no longer angsty but just vaguely "I am bad woe".

Ismal's genuine effort not only atone for what he did personally but the kind of person he was that could do that, and his understanding of himself so he could be a good man, not just act like one, killed me. And ooh, Leila's "Don't you dare pity me" because yeah, her husband was an asshole, but she worked hard and sacrificed hard and made a life for herself and kept herself, just...love.

I love Gellis' books - all my paperbacks are falling apart. I fell in love with her heroines, so strong and capable. One of my favorites was Gillian, the way she just met with her castle's conquerors to spar bloodshed of her people and how Adam just assumed she was like his mother because of that, so she grew from being a pawn to a capable young woman. I can't wait to have them on kindle. (Those books are part of the reason I joined the SCA in college)

I haven't read the others you were talking about but they are now at the top of my "to read" list.

Gillian--YES! I just told someone that exact thing in comments. It's what makes her so amazing. Watching her fight and struggle so hard to pretend she was all of the things Adam thought she was and in the process actually becoming that person was unreal.

Also, it kills me that she pretty much marries Adam before Osbert's corpse is even cooling after she knocks him out the window. I love her.

My favorite line was when everyone is arguing and she gets annoyed and says basically, excuse me while i go sweep up my dead husband. Makes me laugh every time.

I have swallowed "Lord of Scoundrels" and "Captives of the Night" last week and loved it quite a lot. I wish she wrote a book about the lawyer guy though...

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