Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: His Captive Princess by Sandra Jones

From the Back Cover:

Earned respect is sweet…but deserved revenge is sweeter.

Warren de Tracy was assured the Welsh village of Dinefwr would be an easy conquest, as would the widow of its fallen prince. Wedding her will appease the locals and win the respect of his liege, the usurper King Stephen.

Instead, Warren is ambushed, taken prisoner by a hooded Welshwoman with skin that glows like moonlight. If he must die at her hands, at least his honorable death will silence the whispers of disloyalty hanging over his name.

Princess Eleri has never seen a knight as stoic—and as eager to die—as Warren. She’d love to oblige the bastard, but something in his ocean-blue eyes stays her hand. Plus, suspicion nags at her, for the arrows that wounded him and killed his men are Norman, not Welsh.

A ghostly prophecy portends danger that thrusts the enemies closer together, where hate explodes into passion that won’t allow Eleri to surrender Warren to her vengeful clan. But returning him to his king breaks more than it mends…and for Warren, retaliation will be sweet, indeed.

Warning: Contains a Norman warrior with a thirst for justice, a Welsh rebel princess with second sight and a steady bow hand, magical prophecies, and a plot of royal proportions.

My Thoughts:

I am always looking for historical romances that stand out from the crowd, whether because of an unusual setting or time period or because of unconventional characters and plot lines, and so I was drawn to His Captive Princess. And happily, this book has all of those elements!

First, I loved the Welsh setting and the historical period. King Henry I has died and Stephen and Maude are fighting over the throne. England is in turmoil, and of course that carries over to their neighbors. The story makes good use of the historical background, and the political maneuverings are incorporated into the story, making this much more than a "wallpaper" historical romance.

The characters are also fantastic. A Norman knight, torn as to which ruler deserves his allegiance and anxious to make amends for wrongs committed in the past, travels into the wild forests of Wales to fulfill his duty and cement an alliance by wedding a widowed Welsh princess, though he finds much more than he bargained for. Ambushed, wounded, and taken prisoner, he can't help but admire the beautiful woman who takes him directly to a hostile Welsh prince and leaves him to his fate only to reappear and kidnap him again, this time for her own purposes.

Captivated by the enemy warrior with striking eyes and warned of impending disaster by the old crone only she can see, Princess Eleri takes things into her own hands. Determined to keep her deceased husband's clan from bringing war on their heads and to save the warrior from a cruel death, she forms a plan to deliver him into the bonds of slavery in her father's lands instead and leads a daring clandestine mission through the mystical forests of her homeland. But she never counted on the unseen danger lurking in the woods, or on falling in love with her handsome prisoner. When she realizes she's not the only person with plans for Warren, Eleri is forced to make a difficult decision.

Warren has plans of his own for the woman who loved him and abandoned him to an uncertain fate. But even the best-laid plans can go awry, and when he finally has the opportunity to wreak his own sensual brand of vengeance on the woman he can't forget, a new threat forces Eleri and Warren to work together to save themselves and the future they've only just realized they want to have together. But is their love enough to overcome the differences of their homelands and the enemy that wants them dead, or are they doomed to suffer a tragic fate?

There are two things holding me back from rating this higher. One, I think the romance could have been a bit more developed. It's obvious why Eleri and Warren would lust after each other in the early days of their relationship, but I would have liked to see more interaction to deepen their relationship and really make me feel that Eleri and Warren were falling in love with each other. We sort of skip over what lies between lust at first sight and true love. And two, the supernatural aspect of the story seemed superficial and served mainly as a crutch for questionable decision-making on Eleri's part. There's no insight into how Eleri's ability to see the old crone who predicts death has played out in the past, or how she connects with that part of herself. It just sort of seems to be tacked on, and if it were removed, the story would pretty much be the same without it.

But overall, I enjoyed this action-packed story filled with historical ambiance. The characters are unique and have great chemistry, and their relationship is surprisingly and deliciously sexy. I will definitely read more from Sandra Jones!

My Rating:  3.5 Stars out of 5

*This review originally appeared on Romantic Historical Reviews

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