Once Upon a Hero: Tales of Love Throughout History, by C. N. Bird, Samantha Holt, Em Taylor and Lily Magee

Sensual History Lessons in Love!

50,000 word collection of four short stories

20812977 (3)

History lessons at school were never this hot! Revisit them with the aid of this anthology, which features romantic and sensual tales which span history from Ancient Roman times through to Medieval Scotland, Regency England and the battlefields between Russia and Napoleon’s army. The collection includes Pompeii by C.N. Bird, Hunting His Highland Lass by Samantha Holt, A Love Remembered by Em Taylor and  An Honourable Enemy by Lily Magee. Read on for the burb and my thoughts on each story and the swoon worthy heroes – Victus, Rory, Ben and Amaury!

Pompeii by C.N. Bird

Blurb: 69 A.D.
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.

My Review: I found this tale both sweet and sensual and from what I have read of events in Pompeii, well researched, evoking a good sense of place and time. The romance between Hadriana and Victus is a slow burn (they are childhood friends), but when the flames ignite they really do burn hot! Victus, is very much Hadriana’s saviour and although she becomes very aware of him as a man, she despairs that he will ever return her feelings, believing he loves another.  I enjoyed how they each revealed their love for each other and the passion that burnt between them and I held my breath as I waited to see if their love could survive the momentous events that were about to befall them and the other citizens of Pompeii.

Hunting His Highland Lass by Samantha Holt

Blurb: Scotland, 1292
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?

My Review: I lapped up this romantic tale, where Rory attempts to woo his wife and convince her to return home with him. I liked how the circumstances compelled the couple to open up to each other and overcome the misunderstandings that existed between them. They eventually do in a hot and sensual coming together amongst the heather, where Rory convinces Isla that she is the only woman for him and Isla reassures Rory that she welcomes his embrace! I loved the single mindedness of Rory as he pursues his wife through the countryside, bent on ensuring her safety and return and the fact that Isla is a lot stronger and more resourceful than he imagines. The danger presented by the English soldiers roaming the ountryside where the drama takes place added suspense to the tale.

A Love Remembered by Em Taylor

Blurb: England, 1811
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?

My Review: I enjoyed the strong physical attraction between Ben and Cassy, evidenced in a number of sensual scenes, where propriety is cast aside! Ben is a hero who has a good heart, but also struggles with the loss of his memory, which affects many aspects of his life, not just his recollections of Cassy. Cassy is a strong heroine who is resolute in her support for Ben and although she is ecstatic that he is very much alive he does not recognise her and I really felt for her. I loved how the couple strove to make up for lost time and lost memories. A heart felt and sensual tale.

An Honourable Enemy by Lily Magee

Blurb: Russia, 1812
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?

My Review: Amaury is a man that you would definitely want on your side, not to mention in your arms if you ever find yourself being held prisoner! Katinka is a strong and resourceful heroine worthy of a hero’s embrace and I loved how she dealt with Amaury and how she coped with the situation she finds herself in, being both brave and resourceful. This story is clearly one of love at first sight between the hero and the heroine and there are a lot of passionate scenes packed into it. I hankered after their HEA, mindful of the many barriers between them: the war between their respective countries; their class differences and the fact that Katinka could well become is a pawn in the warnegotiations. The tale also gave the reader a taste of conditions experienced during the Russian winter by the French troops.

I recommend this anthology to readers who enjoy sensual and romantic tales set in an historical context.

Reviewed by Tina Williams

A copy of this anthology was given to me for the purpose of a fair and honest review.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK   Amazon US

Connect with the Authors

 Samantha Holt




Em Taylor


About Tina Williams

Book reviewer and blogger and co-organiser of Tamworth (UK) Literary Festival

2 thoughts on “Once Upon a Hero: Tales of Love Throughout History, by C. N. Bird, Samantha Holt, Em Taylor and Lily Magee

  1. Thanks so much for your review, Tina!

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