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View Book Info Page. Genre: Historical: European , Romance. Theme: Marriage of Convenience. Squee from the Keeper Shelf is a feature wherein we share why we love the books we love, specifically the stories which are permanent residents of our Keeper shelves.
Despite flaws, despite changes in age and perspective, despite the passage of time, we love particular books beyond reason, and the only thing better than re-reading them is telling other people about them. At length. I first read them when I was about fourteen, and the impact of these books on my reading, my writing, and probably my love life cannot be overstated. My friends and I sat in our boarding school dorm and devoured—lived, breathed, slept, dreamed, ate up—these books and their one-for-each-of-us heroes: Gavin, Stephen, Raine, and Miles.
The names still dredge up a sigh of contentment, of nostalgia for a simpler life when we could dream of meeting boys who would miraculously be just like them spoiler alert: I married Raine. All these years later, I have found that every hero of every romance novel fits one or a blend of two of these brothers. Deveraux gave us heroes with different strengths and flaws which make for good stories no matter what era you set them in. But Ms. The heroines in these books are strong-willed women who wield power in their own way.
While they sometimes have to submit to the mores of the time, they figure out ways to turn them to their advantage, and generally take very little shit from the heroes. In Velvet Promise , Judith, who has been brought up to become a prioress, is forced to marry Gavin Montgomery instead. Gavin is your basic alpha male. Gavin runs the family property and this is the best bit badly, although he runs around like a headless chicken hawk?
But first he hits her and then he rapes her. I know. Eighties, right? She swore it was her first time.
Alice likes rough, violent sex and the power she can wield through it. She is the benchmark of comparison by which the intelligent, upstanding, red-haired Judith is judged and found wanting. I read these books at a very tender age, and the lesson I learned is, Gavin deserves a kick in the nuts, and this is never an acceptable way to treat a woman.
Eventually, Judith loses a baby because of Alice and Gavin learns what real love, and real grief, is. He realizes his mistake and is genuinely lovely to Judith.
Highland Velvet is about Stephen, the blond one. He is sent by the king to marry Bronwyn MacArran, who unusually has been made laird of her clan. He embraces her clan, and her culture, body and soul. But more awful things happen to people in their families, partly coordinated by Alice, who is still scarred and still nuts. She married into the Chatworth family and because of her actions, and those of her brother-in-law, the families become deadly enemies.
You can imagine the hilarity that ensues. Alyx is an inveterate snob and thinks herself above the people Raine is helping in the camp though she is merchant class and also yells at Raine for the extravagance of the rich.
Raine—built like a brick privy, think sexy Hagrid without the beard—is a voice for the poor and teaches Alyx their value. A woman who has lusted after Raine for ever, and caught him once, is jealous of Alyx and contrives to have her thrown out of the camp for stealing.
No one defends Alyx because they know she looks down on them. Raine is about to leave with her, which would leave him open to arrest as soon as he leaves the forest oh, yeah, Robin Hood anyone? Le Sigh. She and her friend leave and end up as minstrels at the house of the Chatworths.
Alyx is heavily pregnant and has been helping out the poor people she meets on the road. Satisfying character arc! The Velvet Angel in question is Elizabeth, who is delivered to Miles naked in a rug. Elizabeth is pathologically afraid of men, and with good reason. Her psychotic brother, whom Alice married, would place bets with his friends on which of them could take her virginity, so she learned long ago how to fight them off, literally.
And Elizabeth is his polar opposite. His reputation has also exaggerated his prowess, so she believes he has an army of bastard children, and since she loves children, she hates him even more. Also, medieval, so, no birth control! Now, you could, and perhaps should, have a problem with all the times Miles was touching her, holding her on his horse, kissing her she wipes it away each time and generally getting in her personal space without permission. Miles thinks this is a bad idea, to put it mildly.
The plot jumps the shark here a little, but the misunderstandings and reconciliations are well laid out. And there you have it. Four men, four women, four stories, infinite permutations.
Gavin is the alpha male who needs to be schooled. Stephen, the thoughtful beta who will fight to the death for those he considers his people. Raine is the educated mountain man looking for beauty in art.
I give you the Montgomery brothers. You are welcome. Kimberley Ash is a writer, mom, and British ex-pat, who has lived in and loved New Jersey for twenty years. You can find her on her website , and on Twitter , Facebook , and Pinterest. The Velvet Montgomery series are on her keeper shelf because they are the benchmark for emotional trauma and hotness factor against which all other romances are compared.
As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases. We also may use affiliate links in our posts, as well. Oh god, Velvet Angel. There is so much wrong with it, so much, but boy did it stay with me! I ended up reading Velvet Promise and Highland Velvet as well, and yes, they do have a lot of typical 80s romance problems.
And I mean that in the kindest, most nostalgically loving way! Great squee! Suddenly I find myself in the mood for some Old Skool crazysauce! Everything you said, Kim. And then came his descendants, the Montgomery brothers. Le sigh. So every time a character is describe one way or the other they pop into my brain. Miles and Elizabeth and the tarts.
Elizabeth and all the children. And Gavin… oh, the feels. Yes, they are creatures of the time period. It was the convention of the day in a time period where women enjoying their sexuality still had deep dark implications, but the audience was still asking for sexual content. We may have come a long way in romance fiction, but as a species, not so much. And some day all you 20 somethings are going to have to explain all the 1st person narrative New Adult books out there. And the god awful BDSM craze.
The later Montgomery books take place in the American West up into contemporary times. I loved these books so hard, I literally wore the covers off. My first-born is named Stephen because of Highland Velvet even though everyone in my family assumed he was named for St.
Stephen — hah! Wonderful, wonderful review. These 4 books are the reason that Jude Deveraux Up until Knight in Shining Armor is my favourite of all romance writers. Stephen is and always will be my hero. And I do agree with Kimberly when she says that the books taught her how women should be treated and how the heroines were all strong and intelligent women. And in the end, well, they won the day. A tattered copy of Highland Velvet was on my keeper shelf for years.
I married a dark-haired Stephen. Beta heroes are still my Kryptonite. I was much braver in my career than my mother ever was. There was sometimes a lack of consent in the Old Skool stories, but, alas, the heroine always responded to the magic wanker. First of all, there is no research into history.
Secondly, they are just ridiculously written. Back in the day, I really went for these, and I had all 4 on my keeper shelf. Was there ever a man who was such a poor judge of character? But it had a lot of castle porn, which I love.
Keeper Shelf: The Velvet Montgomery Series by Jude Deveraux
She came to him as a precious gift, a naked angel rolled in a rug. Once he gazed into her green eyes, saw her tangle of honey blonde hair, he was undone with passion. Elizabeth would never surrender. He was a hated Montgomery -- she was a Chatworth -- and the blood war between their families raged on, a wildfire of rape, murder, and betrayal. Elizabeth vowed to fight the handsome lord, to resist the burning desire in his eyes -- no matter how great the temptation. To date, there are more than sixty million copies of her books in print worldwide. To learn more, visit JudeDeveraux.