Rebel Bride by Elizabeth Moss

rebel bride

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He is under her spell…

Hugh Beaufort, favoured courtier of King Henry VIII, likes his women quiet and biddable. Susannah Tyrell is neither of these things. She is feisty, beautiful, opinionated and brave. And Hugh is fascinated by her – despite himself.

Their lust is undeniable…

When Susannah pulls her most outrageous stunt yet and finds herself lost in the wilds of England, Hugh must go to her rescue. Neither of them is prepared for the dangers that lie in wait. But most dangerous of all is their desire for one another. Alone together in the forest, far from the restraints of court…

Their passion knows no bounds

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Publisher and Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, December 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: 1536, Yorkshire, London, England
Genre: Historical erotic romance
Heat Level: 3
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Maria Almaguer

Susannah Tyrell is a free spirited young woman, which is a very dangerous thing to be in 1536. And though she is only eighteen, she has a surprising knowledge of and desire to have sex.

Hugh and Lord Wolf, Susannah’s brother-in-law, are old friends and comrades in the tense court of King Henry VIII. Hugh is tasked with the dismantling of the monasteries and the confiscation of their wealth when he is asked to escort Susannah back to her home in Yorkshire as a favor to Wolf, who is married to Eloise, Susannah’s older sister.

Susannah practically throws herself at Hugh Beaufort, a sincere, somewhat bland, and rising young clerk to the king. He is far below Susannah’s station as she is the daughter of a knight. Hugh is drawn to Susannah but I couldn’t help but wonder how much of his attraction to her was more because she was offering herself freely to him; any man would be flattered and want that.

But Susannah loathes boring old Yorkshire, yearns for excitement, and is betrothed to a man her father’s age. She wants no part of being a wife, or any man’s property for that matter. So she foolishly (and bravely) runs away without a plan and quickly comes to danger when Hugh comes to her rescue. But this time, their passion cannot be denied.

God protect me from respectable young virgins, he prayed fervently. For their ruination shall also be mine.

Susannah’s continued foolishness is bold, rash, and she is rather selfish and spoiled. I didn’t have much sympathy for her. The times are perilous – Queen Anne Boleyn has recently been executed and everyone is suspicious of everyone else – and the fact that Susannah fails to see that she cannot possibly live as a woman alone in England in 1536 is unbelievable. However, no doubt there were women like Susannah, who felt stifled under the laws of men where women were possessions to be owned and discarded, something that Susannah refuses to be. Her nonconformist and reckless nature could have ended disastrously but, luckily for her, it works out.

As in Wolf Bride, Ms. Moss creates an atmosphere rife with gripping tension and fear. Spies are everywhere and no one can be trusted. She details the business of the destruction of the monasteries and their worth to the king, women’s nipple-revealing and risque fashions, as well as the swift promotion of plain Jane Seymour to queen barely a week after Anne Boleyn’s death.

The romance between Hugh and Susannah is really more lust than love and some of the explicit love scenes are awkward with purple prose. Neither Hugh nor Susannah seem to take heed of any possibility of pregnancy and Hugh’s position to the king is in jeopardy because of his relationship with her. But neither seems to really care or take it too seriously, despite the risks. They just can’t seem to get enough of each other and there is not much personal growth in their characters.

Susannah’s sister, Eloise, and her husband, Lord Wolf, hero and heroine in the first book in Ms. Moss’s aptly-named Lust in the Tudor Court erotic historical series, are prominent characters here so it’s helpful but not necessary to read that book first. That novel is more compelling and suspenseful than Rebel Bride and Lord Wolf a much more magnetic and sexy hero.

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