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3.0 out of 5 starsthis guy made some very bad decisions and never once that I could determine did ...
Reviewed in the United States on June 6, 2018
I only gave this book a three because it was more of a "Harlequin" romance book than I expected. The "hero" is constantly overbearing and the "heroine" is constantly forgiving him and loving him to distraction. I understand that in the 13th century things were different and woman had just about no say in anything but I'm not sure she would keep loving him to distraction. I mean, this guy made some very bad decisions and never once that I could determine did he ever put her needs first and that's a bit much even for the 13th century. So, that being said, if you like this type genre then you will love the book. The back story (I call it that because that's how I find it) is good and altho the author took a lot of literary license which she admits, it's still a good historical picture of a time long gone. And a good picture of Edward II because he really was the worst king England had had up until then.
4.0 out of 5 starsDesire and honor clash in the England of King Edward II
Reviewed in the United States on January 19, 2020
IN THE SHADOW OF THE STORM is a must-read for those who like hot historical romance. Young Kit Coucy, bastard daughter of Sir Thomas de Monmouth, is forced to substitute for her nobly-born half-sister Katherine in marriage to hunky Sir Adam de Guirande. The two girls resemble each other enough to pass muster, but Kit is a virgin while wayward Katherine has reportedly had a fling with Adam's liege, Lord Roger Mortimer. Kit and Adam fall in love (Katherine having conveniently been murdered by accident), and the story revolves around the obstacles to their romance as Adam's sense of honor forces him to join Mortimer in a treasonous rebellion against King Edward II.
Author Anna Belfrage complicates their efforts by introducing a truly despicable villain: the king's favorite, Hugh Despenser, a cross between Black Jack Randall and the Sheriff of Nottingham as played by Alan Rickman. Despenser tries to have his way with both Kit and Adam (separately), even maiming Adam in a scene reminiscent of Wentworth Prison. Lots of people die as King Edward avenges himself on Mortimer and his fellow rebels. However, the reader can be optimistic about the survival of Kit and Adam, since they star in three more steamy novels in this saga.
Reviewed in the United States on February 24, 2016
I read in Anna Belfrage’s Historical Note that she was inspired by Ian Mortimer’s “The Greatest Traitor”. So was I, which is why I picked up this volume! I find the rise and fall of Mortimer to be as fascinating as it is unusual, so I was curious to see what Anna would do with it. Of course, this is the first book in a series, so I’ll have to be patient. But we’re off to a great start.
This book is about Kit, a spirited, clever heroine who is forced to marry a handsome young noble under false pretenses. While this seems a rather unlikely scenario, events prove that she is by nature preferable to the wildcat she replaced and everyone comes to accept her. There are some sticky scenes while this plotline works itself out, and then we get to the heart of the story: the rebellion of Mortimer and his allies against the treacherous king Edward II. In these early days, Mortimer gets the worst of it and his faithful vassals are dragged down with him, including our hero, Kit’s husband Adam de Guirande. Poor Adam ends up in a dungeon and is mistreated in a most horrendous manner by the dastardly Hugh Despenser whose wickedness knows no bounds. Hugh takes an especial delight in torturing Adam and attempts to dishonor Kit in the process, but she manages to get around him and aid her husband whenever possible.
So the book is pretty much a struggle between the loyalists (led by the despicable Despensers) and the dissenters, (led by Mortimer). Kit and Adam fall deeply in love and indulge in several bedroom scenes (they are married, for goodness sakes!) and some immature cold-shoulder arguments. But you can’t help but root for them. They live in a world full of danger and treachery, and manage to prove that love conquers all. It’s a sweet story and very easy to read. I enjoyed it
Reviewed in the United States on December 29, 2019
What can I say about this wonderful book? Kit is kidnapped and brought to a Monmouth castle where she is told she is to marry Adam, a knight is the service of Roger Mortimer. Kit is to be the missing Katherine, daughter of Monmouth. It seems Roger Mortimer has flirted with Katherine and wants her to marry Adam. Adam has hear gossip about Roger and Katherine--he is not sure he wants another man's leavings. As Adam finds that Kit is a virgin, he wonders about the gossip. Oh, what tangled webs we weave when we decide to deceive. Edward II is the King of England, supported by his special friend Hugo Despenser, and Mortimer rebels against the King. Adam is a prisoner of Despenser. Kit does her best to free her husband. I look forward to reading the next book in this series. I consume books this interesting.
I just discovered this author. I love British historical fiction especially about Roger Mortimer, a fascinating ancestor of mine. Some of my other royal ancestors are in it also. It's fun to see them in a novel. This is the first of 4 books in the series. I am reading the second one now. The central characters are Adam and Kit de Guirande and you are easily drawn into their lives. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series. Excellent author.
Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2020
Where to start? This book has it all! Love, betrayal, honor, murder, intrigue, revenge, suspense, all incorporated into true historical events! History was never one of my favorite subjects, but if the history books had been written like this one, I would have excelled in the subject!
Once you get started, you won't want to put this story down! It is a true page turner! It is so well written and edited beautifully! I very much look forward to reading the next installment and consider it a bonus to come away with a history lesson as well!
4.0 out of 5 starsA novel that allows no quarter for faint hearts!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 5, 2016
Set within the reign of Edward II and following the tradition of a “romance novel” the author presents the reader with a forced marriage on both counts, thus the hero, and the heroine are at odds from day one, but nothing is quite as it seems on the bridal side. Taking the mediaeval period into consideration, arranged marriages were commonplace so this scenario is more than apt for fiction novels set in the past and the not so distant past. That said, this novel isn’t entirely about fictional characters, for real-time figures of their day hold court within their own domains, and despite pledged fealty to King Edward II, royal politics, betrayal and counter betrayals takes hold and ultimately lead to rebellion against the crown. In the meanwhile Kit (heroine) who’s a feisty young woman learns that her marriage to a young noble (Adam) has added benefits to his benefactor, and no matter whether love blossoms between husband and wife, to refuse to lay down with a Marcher lord (Roger Mortimer) is to risk her husband’s position within the rank and file of Mortimer’s knightly entourage. But of course, Kit is far from a meek-minded wifely individual, and perchance Mortimer would do well to don a steel cod-piece just in case, as should an assailant of mean intent later on.
Aside from erotic episodes which abound alongside love and romance, the more gruesome aspects of war and imprisonment are part and parcel of novels set against the backdrop of feudal knights and kings. But I will say this; the torture scenes were so realistically depicted I felt the victim’s agonised pain, sensed his overt fear of a slow orchestrated death, and the stench of bodily fluids within a rat-infested dungeon seemed to permeate from the pages, and rats must have been there, thus I found Adam’s agony never left me. And no matter what came after I simply could not erase that dungeon cell from my mind. Ms Belfrage has excelled with impact upon this reader, and I dare say others were heartily drawn toward Adam’s plight. The very fact he survives is nothing short of miracle, and given I believe some herbs do have healing properties I had to sweep scepticism aside in favour of fiction. As for more books, there are sad times ahead for the Lord of the Marches and Queen Isabella. That much I do know and suspect Adam will face the awful truth that a greater price must be paid in fealty to a king’s son - the eventual loss of a dearly beloved, a tragedy in itself.
This is an epic historical that sweeps you straight into the politics and intrigues of 14th century England. With a feisty heroine, a hero who is almost too honourable for his own good, as well as a weak king, a despicable villain and a rebellion, this story draws you in right from the start and keeps you turning the pages. The author has clearly done a lot of research as the novel abounds with authentic period detail and historical background. You will want to start on the next in the series straight away! Highly recommended.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 4, 2015
Quite an enjoyable historical romance with some steamy romance parts. Our heroine Kit is swapped to take the place of her half sister in an arranged wedding in the early 14th century. Luckily her husband is a good match. Meanwhile there is an uprising against the king of England. This has interesting characters, a fascinating historical backgrounds and excellent insights into the politics of the time. The plot is original and I can't wait for the next book in the series. If you love historical romances and court intrigues then this is definitely for you. Loved it.
This is in essence a good story well told. It is not, however, a page-turner and I regularly put the book aside while I devoured others. When the pace of the action increased, so did my interest; but the book was incessantly disrupted by 'Mills & Boon' sex scenes ('everything came together into a roaring river of heat') and 'Boys Own/With One Giant Bound...' prose ('In a series of swift movements he grabbed the closest candlestick, leapt straight up in the air and brought the candlestick down on Guy's head'). Will I read the follow up books? Yes, because I am invested in Adam and Kat. Will I skim any sex scenes? Yes - as 'he loves her until all she can do is call out his name' etc etc
5.0 out of 5 starsPage turner and remarkably accurate
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2020
I am familiar with this period in history and was impressed with the historical background to this love story. The fictional characters are well drawn and fit well with the real characters. I love it. Highly recommended.