Review: Valentina by Fern Michaels (Bodice Rippers Anonymous) (Rating 4 Wine Glasses)

Posted March 21, 2011 by Felicia S in Uncategorized / 3 Comments


 From Goodreads: Sold into slavery by a jealous queen, beautiful Valentina is bought by the ancient Emir of Napur. She becomes his favorite and when he dies, inherits his throne. But in the midst of the war between Arabs and Christians, Valentina finds herself torn between two worlds–and two loves.

Mass Market Paperback, 439 pages
Published July 25th 1978 by Ballantine

Bought from 2nd hand bookstore (this is out of print

(My Bodice Ripper Reviews will be a little different because you either love these type of books or you don’t!  So I am basing my reviews from the perspective that you love them, if you don’t just skip the review)

What made this a good Bodice Rippers:  Fern Michaels, bless her history re-arranging heart, managed to take a totally unrealistic “setting” (for lack of a better word) and turn it into a very classic Bodice Ripper love story.  It had all the elements: 2 men, 1 woman, some heightened sexual situations, and some really great historical locations!  It was sweeping, unbelievable (several times during the book), and the tension delivered in spades!  When people ask me to point out a Bodice Ripper author Fern is one of the ones I always point out!

What complaints I had for this BR:  Only that she might have “shot the wad” a bit early in the book.  It would have been nice to see a little more of that story before it went Kabash (though I can’t tell you what I am talking about because I don’t want to give it away)

Why I gave it a 4:  This is a classic BR with all the elements.  If you like these books then you will like this!

Historical Character that really existed alert: Berengaria of Navarre. I really felt that she stole the scene everytime she was on the page!

About Berengaria: Taken from

Beregaria was the daughter of King Sancho VI of Navarre, called Sancho the wise, and Blanche of Castile.

Richard I of England had been betrothed to Princess Alice of France, sister of King Phillip IV. But Richard’s father, Henry II, had made Alice his mistress, and church rules therefore forbid the marriage of Alice and Richard.

Berengaria was chosen as wife to Richard I by Richard’s mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine. The marriage with Berengaria would bring a dowry that would help Richard finance his efforts in the Third Crusade.

Eleanor, though almost 70 years old, traveled over the Pyrenees to escort Berengaria to Sicily. In Sicily, Eleanor’s daughter and Richard’s sister, Joan or Joanna, embarked with Berengaria to join Richard in the Holy Land.

But the ship carrying Joan and Berengaria was wrecked off the shore of Cyprus. The ruler, Isaac Comnenus, took them prisoner. Richard and part of his army landed in Cyprus to free them, and Isaac foolishly attacked. Richard freed his bride and his sister, defeated and captured Comnenus, and took control of Cyprus.

Berengaria and Richard were married on May 12, 1191, and set off together to Acre in Palestine. Berengaria left the Holy Land for Poitou, France, and when Richard was on his way back to Europe in 1192, he was captured and then held prisoner in Germany until 1194, when his mother arranged for his ransom.

Berengaria and Richard had no children. Richard is widely believed to have been a homosexual, and though he had at least one illegitimate child, it is believed that the marriage with Berengaria was little more than a formality. When he returned from captivity, their relationship was so bad that a priest went so far as to order Richard to reconcile with his wife.

After Richard’s death, Berengaria as dowager queen retired to LeMans in Maine. King John, Richard’s brother, seized much of her property and refused to repay her. Berengaria lived in virtual poverty during John’s lifetime. She sent to England to complain that her pension was not being paid. Eleanor and Pope Innocent III each intervened, but John never did pay her most of what was owed to her. John’s son, Henry III, finally did pay much of the overdue debts.

Berengaria died in 1230, soon after founding Pietas Dei at Espau, a Cistercian monastery.

About Bodice Rippers Anonymous on Goodreads:

Do you enjoy epic romance novels set in exotic locations with aggressive and possessive heroes and spitfire heroines? Whether you hide these “guilty pleasures” in a box in your attic and with deceptive book covers or you proudly display these on your family book shelf and on your coffee table, this group is for you!

Every month we will pick a title to read as a group. Be sure to vote in our monthly poll to help choose next month’s title!

Each month will also have a Genre Read, where we explore different facets of the Romance Novel.

Come chat about your favorites and maybe discover some new (to you) gems!

Warning: Books read and discussed by this group may contain overbearing heroes, unruly heroines, drama galore, big misunderstandings, long separation of H/h, bucket loads of sexual tension, kidnapping, possible cheating and/or possible forced seduction.

Felicia S
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3 responses to “Review: Valentina by Fern Michaels (Bodice Rippers Anonymous) (Rating 4 Wine Glasses)

  1. Melissa (Books and T

    You rarely get a good bodice ripper with a woman who is in charge! Plus, it's nice to get some historical places in the background. Also love that you included the history in this review. Brilliant! πŸ™‚ Love the way you review a BR!

  2. Jenny

    Okay first of all, the covers for these books make me very, very happy:) As does the title of the series:) And I love the warning at the end of the Goodreads description, that makes me want to read this series even more. Awesomeness all around Felicia!

  3. Missie

    ha! I was just about to ask what the heck are Bodice Rippers! Thanks for including that info. Sounds fun, and certainly like a recipe for some delicious disasters! And all those Valentina covers are glorious! I think I like the one with the panther best, though why does the guy have to be in it?