Title – Once Upon a Hero
Author – C.N. Bird, Samantha Holt, Lily Magee, Em Taylor
Genre – Historical Romance
Publication Date – 1st February 2014
Length (Pages/# Words) – 50,000 words
Publisher – Indie
Cover Artist – Samantha Holt
Four tales of love throughout history.
Pompeii by C.N. Bird
Following the loss of her father and her mother years later, Hadriana is saved from a life of prostitution by her closest friend Victus. Through rebuilding and many loves, one night finds them unable to resist their feelings for one another any longer. With their new found affection and moving forward in their lives, the city of Pompeii seemingly doesn’t have a happy ending in store.
Hunting His Highland Lass by Samantha Holt
Rory MacPherson has returned home to find his castle overrun by the English and his timid wife missing. So when he hears of her tales of bravery, he’s just a little surprised. But his main concern is whether she is still alive or has been captured. Upon discovering her intention to run to her father’s and to leave their affectionless marriage for good, Rory realises just how much sweet Isla means to him. Can the warrior get past his fears of being too rough for her?
Though fear of capture drove Isla out, it’s the fear of returning to her marriage that keeps her travelling across the unforgiving Highlands. Not that doesn’t care for her husband, but she can no longer bear desiring a man who clearly doesn’t want her. Believing that he must be sharing his bed with another lass, Isla plans to beg her father for refuge from the English…and her husband. But the journey is dangerous and Rory is a determined man. Will he even let her go?
A Love Remembered by Em Taylor
When Lord Benedict Mallory is lost at sea while fighting in His Majesty’s Navy, Lady Cassandra Strong knows her happy ever after with the handsome duke’s son will never be. That is until she spots her friend’s footman. He bears a striking resemblance to the Lord who was presumed drowned.
A chance encounter with the newly restored Earl leaves Cassy with no option but to marry Lord Benedict. Can they overcome his loss of memory and forge a marriage for themselves?
An Honourable Enemy by Lily Magee
War has been kind to Capitaine Amaury de Poitiers. With every victory over the Russians, Napoleon’s Grande Army brings ever greater glory to France. Highly regarded by both his superiors and his men, his career looks set to soar.
When he is tasked with guarding a prisoner of war critical to the war effort, an archduchess no less, Amaury finds himself enchanted by her. The only surviving member of her family, the proud Katinka of Viasma is overwhelmed by grief and the desire for revenge upon the French for her family’s death. Despite her initial hostility, Amaury finds himself becoming ever more drawn to this feisty, angry yet fragile young woman and is overcome by the need to protect her. Katinka in turn finds herself confused by her increasing attraction to the witty, chivalrous capitaine who refuses to give up on her despite her temper.
Their longing for each other is undeniable but both of them know that the barriers between them are great. Amaury finds himself torn between his mission, his love and his honour. Katinka is a noblewoman and he is but a common soldier. To be together could cost Katinka everything.
Can Amaury and Katinka ever overcome the barriers of war and class that separate them?
An Honourable Enemy by Lily Magee
She stood up and walked towards the decanter, filling her glass. “Tell me. Do you believe France to be a better place for the revolution?” Her voice trembled as she spoke and he felt a flush of longing and shame at his countrymen’s actions.
He sighed and rubbed his temples. “I was but five years old when it began. I’m told of the vile excesses of the nobility. I have heard that whilst honest, God-fearing men starved for want of grain fit only to feed livestock, those with no greater claim to power or fortune than the accident of their birth treated food like a plaything, to create over-elaborate concoctions of sugars and meats and butters and to waste so much.”
He paused and she stood still. A moment passed and he sighed. “Madam, I can only speak thus. If your conscience is clear that those people living under your father’s care had food every day that sustained them and their families, you should have nothing to fear from revolutionaries. Your people’s ears will be filled.”
They were silent for a moment, considering his words. After a small while, she sighed and held her arms, delicate fingers curling around her upper arms. “I suppose it is now not a question that is sensible to answer, nyet? Napoleon has brought his revolution to Russia and until my tsar sees fit to send men to fight le Grande Army, it will happen, whether it be the will of the people or not.”
She looked down and he watched as her shoulders began to tremble with thinly restrained sobs. He paused, unsure how to proceed. He wanted so much to hold her, make all her cares disappear. She must surely see that he—that l’Empereur and he intended no harm to her or to her compatriots. She must know that the Austrian and Polish nation states now within the new Empire had been permitted—encouraged in fact—to retain their royal families. She surely had no reason to be so distraught.
“Madam….” he paused and inhaled. “Madam, this war will not last long and the tsar is an honourable man with good sense. He will surely reach an accord with l’Empereur and stop his foolish trades with the English. Soon you will surely be able to go home.”
She snorted through her tears and brought her hands to her face. “But who will be there when I return? Papa and Vasili…”
She burst into a huge, chest rending sob and emotion and instinct overrode his restraint. He stood and came to her, wrapping her up in his large arms and holding her. She leaned her head against his chest, sobbing. A flood of protective feelings engulfed him and he held her closer, angry at the soldiers who were too hungry and afraid to follow orders. Angry at the tsar for provoking the world’s greatest military genius and providing the spark to the series of events that would bereave this young woman in such a senseless, unnecessary way. Angry at himself for not having the ability to make amends, to make her feel better.
Each of these short stories in this anthology were all a great pick to put together for the readers. All of them where in the same genre but had its own unique storylines through time so you were able to see what the author is capable of writing. I did not have the pleasure to read some of these until now so to me anthologies are a great way to pick up new readers, I know I have.
I have a soft spot for these stories because I have actually been to the city and saw the way it is today, so reading stories of love during this time gives you another view of hope people still had during this time. I enjoyed this story and think that the author did a good job with the events during this time. Not everyone had a happy ending do you think that Hadriana and Victus did?
Hunting His Highland Lass
Who doesn’t love castles and highlanders! Rory came back and found his wife missing but he soon discovered that maybe there was more to the story than what he thought his marriage was. I enjoyed this story because there was such a misunderstanding and you want to take both Rory and his wife Isla and shake them to make them understand that they do love each other they are just stubborn. So while she is playing mouse he will be playing the cat trying to catch the mouse, I do love the ending of this story.
A love to Remember
This author was new to me but she packs a great read in a short novel and I will definitely have to look into one of her other larger novels. When amnesia strikes two people that should have been married happily ever after will have a fight to restore what was lost. This has handsome dukes and gorgeous ladies, mixed with actual romance what wouldn’t you like?
An Honorable Enemy
Can war keep two enemies apart that are fighting an affection? That’s what is going on in this short novel of a noble women who lost everything and a soldier. During these times noble births stayed with their own but with everything that has happened I would probably want to defy laws also if I had a Captain like Amaury to0.
If you like a mixture of reads this one is one to pick up because it gives you various love stories through time and each story is its own! All of these stories I enjoyed but I did love Katinka the most because of her temper and the fight she has in her. Each of the plots and characters is definitely worth the read, and I would recommend this anthology.