Throwback Thursday Review: By Love Enslaved by Phoebe Conn


By Love Enslaved by Phoebe Conn
Release Date: November 20, 2012 (Originally published in 1989)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Pages: 330
Source: book provided by the publisher for review



Every house has its secrets…

Captured on the isle of Erin by raiding Norsemen, Brendan has spent the last several years as a slave, passed from one owner to the next. Now the property of a prosperous Danish farmer, he passes the time playing family members against each other. All the while bargaining himself one step closer to a near-impossible dream. Escape—and home.

His regards his current mistress as little more than a pagan bitch. Until her unexpected kindness rouses a completely new—and unwanted—feeling. Desire.

Dana wants only to have the family farm run smoothly while her father and brother are away for the summer. It’s not her fault that her aunt can’t control her female servants’ lusting after Brendan, but the belligerent slave is now her responsibility nonetheless.

Except he’s different from any slave she’s ever known. He’s rakish and charming, and his fine horsemanship is an asset she could use…if only he’d obey. Risky flirtation and magic kisses soon become a dangerous passion that burns away the line between mistress and slave.

But if she gives him his heart’s desire—freedom—it could cost her everything. Especially her heart.



Review: These days historical romance readers are usually dished up massive portions of Regency period romance, with a side dish of Highlanders, and a few appetizers in Western or Medieval. So, anytime I happen across a story centered around Vikings and Celts, I snatch it up as quickly as possible, because finding one is like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Set in Denmark in 882, Brendan, once a member of royalty and nobility is captured and has been passed around as a slave for some time, eventually becoming the property of Danish farmers. Immediately, he notices the young lady of the house, a beautiful and spirited woman named Dana, who appears to be in charge, and not her brother Erik, whom he spends a great deal of time with.

Erik, is his father’s first born and not of legitimate heritage, leaving Dana in charge while her father is away and her mother is recovering from an illness. Removing Brendan from his original location due to the trouble he stirs up among the female servants, Dana is taken aback by his good looks, confidence, defiance, and pride. She is equally disturbed by her attraction to the slave and the sizzling passion he ignites in her.

But, Dana can’t marry a slave. She and Brendan would be severely punished for such a forbidden relationship… but, Brendan could buy his freedom and return to his home someday, which was his one and only obsession until… Now, he can think of nothing but the violet eyed beauty who is his master, in more ways than one.

It should be noted that this book was originally published in 1989 by Zebra. I do think it may have been trimmed down a tad, but the story was not updated or touched up in any way. It should also be noted that at times these older novels can challenge the borders of the political correctness we are so accustomed  to today. At times Brendan’s tactics pushed the borders or boundaries a little bit, but Dana was very impressive and a woman well ahead of her time. She handles Brendan’s aggressiveness very well, and refuses to be victimized. She is a strong female lead that could rival any heroine written today.

There are actually two love stories in this one, with Dana’s brother being in love with his cousin who is off limits to him. Both stories take center stage and intertwine with one another. Erik’s story was equally compelling as he yearns for his father approval and his rightful place.

I love forbidden love stories, the challenge of finding a way to be together, keeping it a secret, trying to avoid being found out, all adds an element of suspense and tension to the story. The main issues facing Dana and Brendan, besides the obvious, is Brendan’s inability to trust Dana. His lack of trust and his pride nearly destroyed the relationship as Dana began to grow weary of his accusations.

The couple continues their battle of wills almost to the very end of the book, between burning hot kisses and lovemaking. The second half of the book is very absorbing and fast paced as Brendan makes his way toward achieving his goal of returning home. Will he bring a new bride back with him?

I really enjoyed this story and truly wish there more books written like this one. Long ago times, and unique locales, forbidden loves, fiery passion, and adventure all combine for the perfect escape from modern problems and worries.

I am so happy this publisher has the Retro Romance line in it’s catalog now and I urge you all to sample some of these older titles.