By Royal Command by Laura Navarre
ARC, E-book, 274 pages
July 2, 2012
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Received for review via Netgalley
“Two brothers. One woman. Three hearts at war.
Katrin of Courtenay's husband is dead--and she doesn't mourn him. He was cruel and controlling, and she doesn't need a husband to hold her northern keep. But her vengeful uncle, the King of England, has other ideas: intent on marrying her off, he's ordered his Viking-bred warrior to return her to court.
On the journey, the Viking captures her interest, and for the first time Katrin understands passion. But her guard is honor-bound to deliver her to the king, and so it is settled--she must wed the mysterious Rafael le Senay, the Baron of Belmaine.
A forced marriage to a stranger slowly becomes something more, and Katrin realizes she is in love with Rafael. But with the shadow of her former lover hanging over her, and Rafael's powerful brother making dangerous plans, can Katrin negotiate the delicate balance between survival and happiness?”
This was one of the few truly historical romances that I have read, and based on previous experiences I expected to find a lack of real character development, lots of sex/passionate embraces, and the historical aspect only as the setting. Well, I was truly surprised with this novel, even though the 274 pages felt like 500.
The novel is set prior to the Norman Conquest of England with the Vikings raiding the shores and the countryside in turmoil. Historical events were peppered throughout as well as historical personages. Beyond this, there is a true feel for the atmosphere and way of life.
The characters were well crafted and had defined personalities. Despite the opening line of the book blurb, it really wasn’t the stereotypical two brothers and the woman caught in the middle unable to choose between two equally great men. There was an issue between two brothers, and she was torn between two men, but that doesn’t exactly go together. I was actually happy with the way the story progressed and wasn’t the cookie cutter storyline. In terms of dialogue, some of the lines that the characters came out with were repetitive and annoying.
In reference to my above comment about how the short novel felt at least twice the length – it wasn’t that the plot dragged or that it was not exciting. I think it was more of the fact that there was really a lot going on that made it feel much longer in the reading of it.
The romance was well done – there were sex scenes and passionate chaste scenes. However, they didn’t just fall into each other’s arms every second; there was a build-up of drama and passion which felt very natural. Overall I was very happy with this read and I would consider reading her other novels – although, truthfully, the reason I chose this one was because it was set in Saxon England and I LOVE that time period.
Author Laura Navarre also has written a couple other historical romances including: The Devil’s Mistress, The Devil’s Temptress, Magick by Moonrise, and Midsummer Magick. You can visit Laura’s website or blog for additional information about the books. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
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