- Saddle Horse Press
- Release Date
- February 2017
- Book 1 of Knights of the Royal Household
To protect what little family she has left, Lady Catrin Fitzalan switches places with her cousin when King Edward orders the pious girl to wed his royal champion, a vicious knight called the King's Raven. Rumors abound that this savage is responsible for the deaths of Lady Catrin's father and brother. How can she allow her sweet cousin to wed a murderer?
Bran ap Madog, bastard son of a Welsh prince, has devoted his life to serving the English king. His badge is the raven, a creature that feeds off rotting spoils, just as Bran feeds off the spoils of war. Now he wants a reward for his service: a wealthy wife and the land and power she can bring him.
But there's another side to the rapacious black birds Bran has chosen for his badge. Social and family-oriented, ravens mate for life. Which gives them something Bran never had—a family, a sense of belonging, and a rightful place in the world. Bran has fought for everything he's ever had. But his last battle, with his new wife, may cost him the one thing he isn't prepared to lose: his heart.
Book Review by Dawn (reviewer)
Jun 16, 2017 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
154 people found the following review helpful
When the king's champion is gifted a bride... but marries the wrong girl!
Catrin is out for revenge. After the loss of her father and brother, she has little else in this world to cling to other than her pain and anger. Along with the local gossip, she suspects the King's Raven is responsible for both murders. And when her look-alike cousin is given to the knight in marriage, Catrin sees a way to help her cousin escape the betrothal and get closer to the truth at the same time.
Bran has worked hard for his king and earned a fearsome reputation to boot. But he isn't guilty of the crimes he is being accused of now. He wants nothing more than to marry and settle down on some land. Maybe even produce a few heirs with his lovely bride. It's too bad that he has no idea he is about to make a vow to the wrong person.
When Catrin finally gets Bran right where she wants him, she begins to realize that things may not be as she originally thought. Her new husband isn't quite the brutal slayer that some might want her to believe. And there are others near her with secrets far darker. But even if she does somehow find out the truth, give up on her revenge, and fall in love with her husband, there's still one tiny problem. Her entire marriage is a lie.
This was a pretty nice story. It has a darker and more intense feeling to it than most other medieval romances that I've read. It isn't really light-hearted and there is little humor in here. But it does have a very interesting plot and a fairly high level of suspense throughout. I didn't want to put it down.
Bran was a fantastic hero and easily my favorite character. He was sometimes a bit rough but it was an accurate betrayal of his character and the time period. I felt terrible for him for pretty much the entire story. I didn't feel quite the same sympathy for Catrin. Her lust for revenge was understandable but even when clues began to surface, she still treated Bran harsher than I thought she should.
In fact, as for the romance in general, I would have liked to see the truth have come out sooner so our couple could have had more time to bond. It seemed like the ending was too rapid and Catrin's change of heart a bit sudden for my taste. But the secondary characters definitely added a nice touch to the story. I would consider reading more from this author in the future.
Secrets and lies around every stone corner. Four stars!
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