Dangerous Liaisons

The Backstreet Boy and the Royal Heiress

Romance - Sizzle
347 Pages
Reviewed on 03/01/2016
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Sarah Stuart is an award-winning author whose books are based on her show business experience, her concern for animals, the challenges of her Christian faith, and her passions for history and travel.

Sarah’s hope is that readers will enjoy her novels as an escape from reality, but be left understanding that fame and fortune often comes at a high personal cost. Also, an increased perception of the threat to animals: those shot in the name of sport for trophy heads, endangered species, many poached for their fur and ivory, and tragically discarded pets.

Sarah appreciates reviews very much. Readers have already helped endangered species and discarded pets worldwide; she donates 100% of her royalties to help and reviews encourage others to buy and review for this globally worthwhile cause.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Faridah Nassozi for Readers' Favorite

In Dangerous Liaisons (Royal Command Book 1) by Sarah Stuart, Queen Margaret's Book of Hours was a secret journal written by the queen almost five hundred years ago and passed down to her female descendants through the generations. In the book, the queen recorded her most private memories and secrets, and left instructions for those who would inherit the book "to find love where they may". She did not want them to experience the type of marriage she had had after marrying out of obligation instead of love. This is how Elspeth Cameron came to possess the Book of Hours. Little by little, Elspeth deciphered the book, and it became an important point of reference in her life. In her search for a more fulfilling life, Elspeth, heir to a wealthy estate, met and fell in love with Michael, an aspiring actor still doing odd jobs as he chased his dream. Their chance meeting set the beginning for a family story marred by fame, forbidden passion, and new family secrets all over again.

Dangerous Liaisons (Royal Command Book 1) by Sarah Stuart is a captivating novel depicting a family story that spans centuries, with each part of the story rich in detail, drama and intrigue. It is really impressive how the story navigates through hundreds of years ago to the present and back again without either part taking the focus away from the other. The two angles instead complement each other perfectly to bring to life a gripping and most intricate family drama. Love at first sight, fame, betrayal, forbidden passion and everything in between, this story has it all, and Sarah Stuart blended it flawlessly to produce a well-detailed and compelling read.

Marta Tandori

Dangerous Liaisons by Sarah Stuart is one of the most wonderful and imaginatively unique stories that I’ve had the pleasure of reading in quite some time. Part romance and part historical, it’s not one of those books that one can easily peg into one particular genre, yet the story is a spellbinding tapestry that will have readers who love romance and history engaged from beginning to end. The book has two primary story components; the first being how the two young protagonists, Elspeth and Michael, meet and fall in love while the second component focuses on their married life and their complicated relationships with their two children, James and Lisette. Woven throughout both components are the revelations contained in the sixteenth century diary called The Book of Hours which shape, influence and foreshadow the events and choices the primary characters make in the story.

The main protagonists in Dangerous Liaisons are both compelling and complex, which adds yet another texture to an already good story whose heart and soul is Queen Margaret’s diary, The Book of Hours. What Stuart does exceptionally well is illustrate how complex families can be and how the choices they make in the past can affect and influence the lives of future generations. It’s evident that the author has spent a considerable amount of time researching the historical aspects of the underlying story. Lies, deceit, treachery, heartache, Dangerous Liaisons has it all but, most importantly, it also has the kind of ending most readers crave. A unique and highly satisfying read that is well worth the time!

Romuald Dzemo

Dangerous Liaisons by Sarah Stuart is book one in the Royal Command series, a book that will entertain readers and shock some even more. On the eve of eighteen-year-old Elspeth Cameron’s exciting departure for a London university she stumbles on what could be considered a symbolic “heirloom,” a well-kept diary that had once belonged to Margaret Tudor, James IV of Scotland’s queen. In it are words that will alter the way she sees life and love, and of course, her royal identity. While in London, she falls in love with Michael Marsh, an obscure actor who soon gets international recognition, thanks also to Elspeth’s presence in his life. Life could have had meaning for the new couple, but Michael's long tours pose a dangerous threat to their relationship. Can their love help them beat the odds?

The book is well written, and features a wide range of themes — love, lust, faith, and redemption. The characters are compelling, and it will be interesting to see how they evolve. Stuart’s story is multi-layered, featuring different elements that fit in harmoniously to create a riveting tale that will set off powerful emotions in readers. A lot of things happen in the story, such as rape and incest, which some readers may find unnerving, but the author has done a great job in crafting characters that readers will immediately sympathize with. Dangerous Liaisons is a bold story that will have a strong appeal for those who love historical novels. The plot is well paced, and the writing allows readers to ask questions and to keep turning the pages to see what happens next. A good read, and one I would highly recommend.


Gripping and glamour filled tale with seasoning of mystery

This book reminded me of those by Jacqueline Suzanne and Jackie Collins. The glamorous world of stage superstardom and fans, the disruption to anything approaching a normal life, the strange and complicated sexual liaisons, all set against the undercurrent of a historical diary of royal lineage tying together the past and the present. The author handles difficult topics in a way that is admirable, and the story was a gripping saga throughout. The characters really stayed with me afterwards too.

Stuart Murray

Sarah Stuart writes in a crisp, elegant style that is all her own.

True love doesn’t run smoothly, and relationships are complicated, evolving interactions governed by needs, emotions and circumstance. And in Sarah Stuart’s debut novel, Dangerous Liaisons, she explores and presents these aspects of life in a way that is unique, interesting and highly entertaining.

The characters are relatable and Sarah weaves a story linking them in ways that reveal their ambitions, weakness, pleasure and pain. And just as importantly the love and support they offer one another.

Sarah also deals with the issue of forbidden temptation and forbidden love, presenting it in a way that has the pages flying by as hitherto perfect love is put to the test by close, interconnecting relationships crossing boundaries that threaten to ruin not only careers, but friendship and more importantly, family. And she does it all in a crisp, elegant style that is her very own.
I am giving this carefully crafted, well developed, entertaining book 5 well deserved stars. Highly recommended.

M T Tiger

A rollercoaster of emotion and steamy desire

A young Scottish girl finds a journal in the attic that has been passed down to the daughters of her family for generations starting with Margaret, Queen of Scotland five hundred years ago, proof that the girl has royal blood. Due to a loveless marriage of her own, the queen directs her descendants to ‘find love wherever they may.’

Pray you do not find a similar journal in your own attic, because nowhere in the journal does the queen warn her descendants that that pursuit will get really complicated and likely involve a lot of pain.

The contemporary characters, Lizzie, Lisette and Michael are all involved with theater in London, but none of the plays they perform will ever be as gripping as the real-life drama they experience.

Lizzie and Lisette draw inspiration and guidance from the journal’s entries written by women in their family before them, but those entries do little to help them avoid recurring pitfalls the family’s women have experienced before them.

The parallel experience of a family’s women separated by hundreds of years is an intriguing device that Sarah Stuart cleverly employs to create a rollercoaster of emotion and steamy desire, all based on accurate history.

The pull of destiny, the force of fate, the power of love found ‘wherever they may’ makes for a spicy stew, but you’ll want seconds when you’re done.

If you love history, the theater, or just a good book to read, you’ll like this one a lot.


With spell-binding writing and a plot that will keep you turning those pages, Dangerous Liaison, is a one of a kind.

This book is a carefully woven tale of that initially reads like a romance, but this book is so much more than this, and as the story continues, the darker it becomes and the more complex. It read a little like a Jackie Collins novel, with its glamours, and not so glamours, settings, and a family that seem on the face of it, "normal" but are actually anything but!

I thought the way Stuart wove the diary of Queen Margaret into the book was very clever and it worked really well. It was an interesting contrast ~ almost a comparison ~ of the struggles of a 16th Century Queen in a loveless marriage and the hunt for love in the modern day.


This is really like two books in one. The first half of the book is a charming love story of a young couple, Michael and Lizzie, in London who start out with nothing but wishes of a better life. They get married and discover in each other what they think is an eternal life of bliss and love. Michael begins to realize his dream of becoming a famous singer and actor of the theater. But then a Camelot marriage begins to unravel under the stresses of fame and fortune. Lizzie has an affair with unseen consequences and Michael has an incestuous relationship with his own daughter. This is a well written book that takes a scandalous and shocking twist toward its conclusion. The author obviously has a vast store of knowledge of the theater and the acting profession, and incorporates that artfully into the story to make it realistic.

Zara-Jo Palmer

It’s love at first sight between Michael and Lizzie. He’s a poor boy with a big dream; she’s a descendant of an illegitimate daughter of Margaret Tudor, a queen of Scotland. Queen Margaret’s secret diary, the Book of Hours, which has been passed down to Lizzie by her mother, commands her lineage “to find love where they may.”
Lizzie is instrumental in making Michael Marsh a big theater star. Act 1 depicts their struggle to make their love triumph, ending with the birth of their daughter Lisette.
In Act 2, Michael and Lizzie’s happily ever after is far from a fairytale romance. Michael is touring all year leaving Lizzie alone and vulnerable to another man’s love. Lisette and James, Michael and Lizzie’s children, are left to themselves, making all the wrong choices in life. Lisette inherits the Book of Hours and the suggestions she gets from her readings have a disastrous effect on her life.
Like in Shakespeare dramas, the protagonists always assume the worst and act according to their erroneous beliefs, which creates catastrophic situations. Michael disappoints with his lack of self-control, indulging in the worst possible act a father can commit. Lisette spins out of control, and Lizzie fails those she loves most. In an attempt to keep the paparazzi, the real villains of the story, from exposing their secrets, the Marsh family must take extreme measures. Will they succeed?
Sarah Stuart expertly conducts an opera-like story where love and lives are sacrificed to the motto “the show must go on.” Her writing in part I is melodic and musical. In part 2, it becomes more urgent. The author doesn’t shy away from a taboo subject like incest. Some of the protagonists may lose the readers’ support but never their interest. Dangerous Liaisons: A showbiz Family Saga is a compelling and original story.

Karen Burns

A complex, at times shocking, tale that moves across timelines and eras. Sometimes graphic, but never gratuitously so, it's an intelligent book that demands the reader's attention. Really original, and provocative, with a lovely lyrical writing style. Well worth your time.

Lila Mina

Dangerous Liaisons is an extraordinary story. Ms. Stuart's writing is sharp and a pleasure to read. I enjoyed the change of pace, of direction even, between parts 1 and 2, the second becoming quite dark and even disturbing sometimes. I applaud Ms. Stuart's choice to create characters who make questionable choices, giving them a realistic dimension that often is often lacking in the romance genre.
A gripping love story that will appeal to everyone with an open mind.

Lesley Hayes

Operatic, Shakespearean, seductive, with shades of Greek Tragedy and what Freud boldly named as The Electra Complex, Dangerous Liaisons lives up fully to its title. Having recently enjoyed another of Sarah Stuart’s titles, I felt confident enough to plunge straight in without reading the blurb, and was soon drawn deep into the emotional waters of this novel, fascinated by the authentic voice of history gradually unveiled in The Book of Hours which ran parallel with the unfolding events in present time. It was only in the second act of this drama that the waters became murky, and I had to come up for air and take a gulp or two before returning to the narrative. The story is beguiling, the characters so real you find yourself loving, judging, forgiving and accepting them, despite their questionable choices and their flaws. Sarah Stuart’s writing style is captivating, and she pulls back the curtain to reveal the backcloth of the theatre world and those in power behind the scenes in a way that rings with veracity. I like books that take me into uncharted and sometimes uncomfortable regions, as many of the classics do, causing me to think and evaluate my own moral compass. I particularly like books written by authors who have mastered their craft so well you soon lose sight of the person writing them and enter the world they have created. This is an author who achieves both, and one whose work I’ll be continuing to follow with interest.