I have been known to love a theme. For Black History Month this year, I decided to read mostly Black Historical Romance novels. The reigning queen of the genre (in my factually correct opinion) is Beverly Jenkins. She's been giving you facts and steamy sex scenes for decades. I've been reading her since high school and I'm still a fan. I completed the three novels in her newer "Destiny" series.
In this series, Jenkins tries some newer areas and it works. My favorite departure from her norm was "Destiny’s Surrender", the second book in the series. Billie, her heroine in Destiny's Surrender, was very different from the others one I've read as she was a 'lady of the evening'. She and Andrew had an ongoing sexual arrangement at the start of the book which also has not happened in any other Jenkins’ book I’ve read. Andrew is also not the only man Billie sleeps with in the book. During his absences, she doesn’t pine but continues to earn a living. Jenkins usually likes to keep her women virgins and naive about sex. I mean, she’s still focused on being respectable and someone her new family can be proud of. It tempers some of the risk but still makes for a good read.
Another departure for her in Destiny’s Surrender was the anger between Andrew and Billie. When she comes back to him with their son, it isn’t a romantic or touching scene. She doesn’t come back for him and it is a last resort. He doesn’t fall to his knees and believe her. Instead, they exchange the harshest words I’ve heard read a hero call a heroine. Andrew’s transformation doesn’t happen immediately and they have to work to build something. It helps that they were almost in love previously. I really enjoyed this book.
For a twist, I decided to try someone new the genre. Well, new to me. I get attached to authors and I have never considered going outside of Jenkins for my Historical Black Romance needs. However, thanks to Twitter, I randomly came across Alyssa Cole. I’ve previously read ‘Be Not Afraid’ by her and liked it so I took a chance on a second one. "Agnes Moor Wild Knight’ is 38 pages of adventure, great characters, humor and romance. Based on a true story, she gives us a quick backstory and the experience of a Black woman in King James IV court. I liked the fact that she was not a virgin or naïve. She was fleshed out. I also liked how Agnes and her knight know what’s up after seeing each other. She, of course, had to fight it and her reasons for not trusting it are valid. Overall, it was very well done and I look forward to reading more by her.