By Laura Navarre
Expected publication: July 12th 2012 by Carina Press
Word Count: 101,000 words
Courtesy of author & 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?
I admit it, it took me significantly longer to finish and get into the book than I would have initially thought. Especially as it’s a short book/story. Katrin views herself as strong and independent woman. Unfortunately, she’s living in a time where women have few if any rights. However, that in it itself isn’t justification for how she goes about ‘surviving’. Perhaps there is where my issue with this book lies. She believes that exploitation and deception is a woman’s tool for survival, which doesn’t make me like her very much. This book is divided into two parts. The first part we get to meet Katrin, find out about past and learn who the main characters are. We, the reader will feel bad for what Katrin has had to endure and may even understand her and her actions. Again, I had difficulties with how she went about certain things. Part two is where I was able to finally get into the story as we get to meet Rafael and see how their story develops. He, in fact is my favorite part of this book. This is where the “romance” in historical romance is truly showcased. I found myself warming up to Katrin and even liking her towards the end. She does grow as a character, which is always a good thing.
Overall, a pleasant quick read.