The Beltane Choice by Nancy Jardine

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Banished from the nemeton, becoming a priestess is no longer the future for Nara, a princess of the Selgovae tribe. Now charged with choosing a suitable mate before Beltane, her plan is thwarted by Lorcan, an enemy Brigante prince, who captures her and takes her to his hill fort. Despite their tribes fighting each other, Nara feels drawn to her captor, but time runs out for her secret quest.

As armies of the Roman Empire march relentlessly northwards, Lorcan intends to use Nara as a marriage bargain, knowing all Celtic tribes must unite to be strong enough to repel imminent Roman attack. Nara’s father, Callan, agrees to a marriage alliance between Selgovae and Brigante, but has impossible stipulations. Lorcan is torn between loyalty to his tribe and growing love for Nara.

When danger and death arrive in the form of the mighty Roman forces, will Nara be able to choose her Beltane lover? The Beltane Choice tells a tale of war and love in Celtic Britain.

Publisher and Release Date: Crooked Cat Publishing, 15 October 2012

RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: Britain, AD 71
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 5 stars

Review by Francine Howarth

If you’re a fan of the late TV drama series Xena Warrior Princess, then The Beltane Choice is for you. It’s set in Britania in AD 71.

The heroine is indeed a Warrior Princess, and Nara has lived for many years on the Island of Nemeton, with the priestesses. Although extremely brave, it’s evident from the start that Nara has committed a grave mistake and by her own hand has incited the wrath of a wild beast. Put to flight and seeking a safe haven her options are few. Forced to accept the help of any warrior is bad enough and goes against the grain of Nara’s upbringing. To become indebted to an enemy warrior is humiliating indeed. Besides, not only does her bitterest enemy achieve a kill where she failed, he has it in mind to reap a grand reward in exchange for her life. But her life comes at a greater price than expected. Unwilling to concede to his ardent advances, albeit he awakens forbidden desires within her, she cannot and will not succumb of her own free will.

Lorcan, although a hardened warrior and far superior in strength he nonetheless concedes to wise inner counsel, and rather than take her against her will he sets out to unravel the mystery surrounding his captive. The journey ahead is long and arduous and he wagers it will afford time enough to win her over, if that will ever be possible. Her belief that all man’s inner desires and needs are base proves mildly amusing to him, and he’s not immune to her secret observations of all things Lorcan. But events soon unravel to mar a burgeoning mutual respect and affection between the captor and captive, and although both become aware of intense desire and longing they remain enemy warriors.

Brought before the tribe elder, Nara is forced to await her fate for she is nought but a bargaining tool between two tribes. And yet, a Roman legion marching ever closer is set to turn her fate around; and come the night of the Beltane Fires she wishes to succumb to the one she loves but is instead betrothed to another. How then can the Goddess Rhianna make her life complete and remove the darkness now befallen her? Of course as the fires fall to smouldering embers and the sun rises on the distant horizon Goddess Rhianna finally plays her trump card!

I cannot emphasise enough how well Nancy Jardine has spun her wonderful romance set within Roman Britain, and likewise woven a tapestry of tribal life and political ambitions enacted within the shadows of the great forests of Britannia.

** This title is currently available in digital format for $.99 **


About the Reviewer:

I once part owned a publishing company, reviewed books for a famous magazine, and still review books in support of authors (in particular) Indie authors. On the other side of the publishing coin, I started my writing career as a mainstream published erotic author. I confess I have reformed a little, and now pen and self-publish steamy swashbuckling 17th century historical bodice-rippers set within Charles II era – Georgian & Regency, and Regency Murder Mysteries.

Francine Howarth van Roche

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