Did you know that this blog is nearly 10 years old now? I KNOW. While I never got Blog Famous or made money, this blog has yielded the most amazing dividends in internet friendships. One of the first people I met via blogging was a Canadian gal named Ash. (She doesn’t blog anymore, but she does put book reviews on her Instagram Stories if you want to check them out.) She’s such a sweetheart- she once crocheted me a tiny penguin toy (which my child recently absconded with) and she knitted Sammers the most adorable baby hat and sweater when he was born. We’ve never met in person, but we keep in touch via social media and lately we have been having the best conversations about Katee Robert books, particularly the whole Wicked Villains/Dark Olympus/Sabine Valley series. They’re all set in the same universe, all loosely based on existing cultural touchstones and/or intellectual property, and they’re all super smutty. The thing is, I did not realize that the Sabine Valley books were based on an existing thing until talking to Ash about it. I’ve never seen Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, and therefore hadn’t made the connection. Here’s Ash’s description of the musical, straight from my DMs, lightly edited for typos:
“Basically 7 brothers who live together out in the wilderness decide they want wives and go to town and kidnap 7 women. Then they get trapped for the winter after an avalanche so they can’t return the women. The women hole up together and basically agree to all hate the guys, but of course over the winter they soften to the idea. By the time the spring hits and their relatives can come get them, it is too late they want to stay. There is a musical number during a barn raising. It doesn’t get better than that.”
And truly, DOES it get better than that? What a wonderfully ridiculous premise for some spectacularly smutty storytelling, no? Technically, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is based on an incident in Roman mythology, The Abduction of the Sabine Women, so Robert is clearly drawing from multiple sources for inspiration . And, of course, since Katee Robert is so careful about the way she portrays consent and Sabine Valley’s historical context and laws, etc, the books don’t have a gross rape-y feel to them. (That doesn’t mean that they’re going to work for everyone, of course, so big old content warning for readers who may be sensitive to this premise.) Also, if the series keeps going the way it’s been going, it’s going to be more like Fourteen Brides for Seven Brothers, but who’s counting? (Every character in this universe needs to be considered Bi or Pan Sexual unless explicitly stated to be otherwise, so the “brides” aren’t all female.) Let’s visit Sabine Valley, shall we?
Abel– Eight years ago, the Paine family was ousted from a position of power in Sabine Valley in a violent coup. Abel, the eldest of the seven brothers, has been preparing for their triumphant return ever since. After years of careful plotting, Abel and his brothers return to town during the Lammas festival. Lammas is the one time a year all the factions in Sabine Valley gather to celebrate peacefully. If you can call an event that involves ritualistic fisticuffs “peaceful,” that is. Abel takes it upon himself to enter the ring and defeat opponent after opponent in order to win brides for his brothers. Through handfasting ceremonies and strategic political choices, the brothers ensure their safety for a year while they work to reestablish themselves. Abel chooses Harlow for his bride- the partner of his former best friend who betrayed him. Eli, the former best friend in question, in a supremely dumb move, decides to try to fight for Harlow’s honor even though he just watched Abel beat the tar out of 7 of this Fight Club-esque town’s best fighters. He loses, of course and now? Abel has TWO brides. There’s a thin line between love and hate, though, and the Abel-Eli-Harlow triad proves to be quite the force. Who knew that Eli and Harlow’s flagging relationship only needed a third party to stabilize it? What this book lacks in barn raising choreography, it makes up for in some VERY steamy love scenes.
Broderick- Why yes, the Paine brothers were named in alphabetical order, just like in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It’s whimsical. So brother #2, Broderick, has been sort of the mother figure of the Paine brothers. Abel was busy with all the plotting and the anger and Broderick was all “welp, we gotta eat and somebody’s got to buy the toothpaste.” He’s a pretty gentle soul for a guy raised in such a combative society. Yes, he could easily murder you with his bare hands, but he only resorts to violence when absolutely necessary. He’s been holding a candle for his best pal Shiloh for years, but he’s been hesitant to make the first move lest he ruin the friendship. Now he’s been “married” off to Monroe, the heir to the Amazon faction. Talk about a spitfire. Monroe is feisty and hell bent on unnerving Broderick. When she discovers that he and Shiloh have been pining for each other, she decides the best way to piss Broderick off is to seduce Shiloh. Of course, Monroe ends up catching inconvenient feelings for Shiloh. And then the three realize that they really work better as a trio. Too bad that it can’t last since Monroe has a queendom to inherit… Or can it?
The third book has yet to be released- Katee Robert announced that she just had too many irons in the fire to finish up Cohen just yet, though I’m SUPER stoked for that book because we heard about Cohen in The Beast and I’m intrigued. Whenever Robert is ready to release the stories of the remaining Paine brothers, I will be here ready to read them. In the meantime, I promised Ash that I would watch Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. I’m hoping to talk Jim into watching it with me, likely with some libations. If the clip I saw of the barn dance on YouTube was any indication, we are in for quite an evening.
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