BOND OF PASSION
The sixth volume of the Border Chronicles is a fascinating exploration of love blended perfectly with history. Small brings her three-dimensional characters into the life of Mary Queen of Scots, putting her unique spin on Mary, Elizabeth I and the enmity between them. Small treats her readers to history delivered on a hot and beautifully rendered platter; this is how to learn about the past.
Annabella Baird’s arranged marriage to Angus Ferguson, Earl of Duin, is odd; he is not only 15 years older and a powerful Border lord, but a supporter of the Catholics and the young Queen Mary. Yet, they form a strong marriage. As part of Mary’s court, Annabella is drawn into the queen’s tempestuous marriage to Lord Darnley, the birth of her son, James, a horrible murder that raises many questions and the queen’s struggle to escape Elizabeth’s plans for her imprisonment. Annabella and Angus are positioned to play a role in history, but they also crave a quieter family life during a time of strife. (NAL, Oct., 416 pp., $15.00)