Series: Brotherhood of Fallen Angels #1
Author: Heather Grothaus
Format: eBook, 268 pages
Published: June 23, 2015 by Lyrical Press
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 2 out of 5 Wine Glasses
Introducing the Brotherhood of Fallen Angels—an epic new series set in the medieval Holy Land, where four heroic Crusaders find themselves caught in the crosshairs of revenge, devotion—and love…
He’s a man of passion and principle. But would he kill for his convictions? That’s the question that has Valentine Alesander fighting for his innocence. He’s been accused, along with three other Brothers, of orchestrating the horrific siege at the Christian fortification of Chastellet. Could this fatefully-named Crusader be a lover, a fighter, and a traitor? One woman from his past is about to find out.
Gorgeous, free-spirited Lady Mary Beckham has escaped her guardians in England to travel across the world—and find the notorious Valentine. Years ago, she was promised to him…and now she wants out of their marriage contract. Mary wants to wed another and requires Valentine’s blessing—until she discovers they share a tempestuous attraction. But with a vengeful band of sworn enemies at Valentine’s heels, is desire worth the risk of losing…everything?
Lady Mary has been sheltered in her keep for many years since her parents died. At the age of twenty-six in the year 1180, she is feeling positively ancient. When she starts to have clandestine meetings with a visiting knight, she finds herself falling in love. However, when the marriage talks begin, her priest reveals that her parents betrothed her when she was just a child. Her betrothed is none other than a wanted criminal, fearing others finding this information out and the loss of her intended along with her keep, Mary sets out to find her betrothed and get him to relinquish his claim on her. When Mary meets up with Valentine she finds a dashing, impetuous, and devil-may-care rogue but not a criminal. Valentine wants to give Mary her freedom and release her from his dangerous life but as they travel his road of ruin he just might find himself redeemed in her love.
In this first book in the Brotherhood of the Fallen Angels series we are introduced to Valentine, a Spanish noble who finds himself, along with three others, accused of being traitors. His friends are also introduced along with an introduction to how Valentine got wrapped up in the accused treachery. His view of the story is told while some of the story from the other's point of view is held back to be revealed in their stories. The reader is introduced to the villain and the why of the traitor plot but while A and Z are given, a lot of letters have yet to be told. This story thread was murky and interesting with four knights falsely accused but with the villain revealed and the why of it feeling kind of blah, it took away some of the intrigue.
The bulk of the story is basically a road romance with Mary and Valentine having somewhat of a buddy comedy. For being extremely sheltered for twenty-six years I didn't consider Mary very shy and found her to be a little bratty; there was some over dramatics. Valentine also seemed a little immature in his recklessness; I think I expected his character to be darker considering the time period and accusations leveled at him. In fact, I expected the whole tone of the story to be darker because of the time period and story plot, it threw me a little how Mary and Valentine's journey was suppose to be more lighthearted through Valentine's antics and theatrics. I saw our couple more as a brother and sister bickering and didn't quite buy into their romance. It was in the last twenty percent that Mary decides she loves Valentine and we get a peek into the bedroom.
The cover of this book is what drew me, it looked darkly medieval. However, I didn't find the setting or the character's speech and actions to have a real medieval feel and the story was more about Valentine's silly antics and Mary's reactions to them. At the very end, the villain's actions created a darker tone but after the previous feel of the story, along with the romance, it felt forced and out of place. This is the first book I've read by this author, so perhaps her writing style isn't for me. It's technically written well, just not what I was looking for.