Book Blurb :
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?
Told in two parts, By Royal Command tells the story of Kartin of Courtenay, niece of the King of England. Since she was a young girl, Kartin has been a pawn for her uncle, King Ethelred. It has led to an early marriage to a cruel and controlling husband so that her uncle could strengthen his ties at the border of Scotland. Her husband died two years ago and Kartin has been fending for herself and using her skills to keep her northern keep with her servants, happy to be exiled and happy to not be a pawn in her uncle’s political games.
But things change with the arrival of Eomond a sword—theyn who has come to take her to Ethelred who needs her to make yet another political marriage to strengthen his defenses against England’s enemies. Here is where I started to lose interest in the plot: I knew the answer already—she will not go. She’s more wise and determined because she knows no purpose for high alliance since her father was only a half brother to the king and a bastard. Therefore we know the next thing to happen: Eomond, the Viking bred warrior, will use brute strength based on previous conversations between the pair and his wish to obey the order from the king.
At a stalemate, she decides she will go to her uncle, but her fiery spirit won’t let him get away easily. Like any other hot blooded male, he wants her but he can’t have her because of the difference in their classes so he does the closest thing to sex. He smacks her on her bottom and hopes for the best … but it doesn’t deter her and soon the couple break classes and start an affair.
Even then Karin doesn’t stop her in her bid to get away; when they arrive in town near the home of Ethelred and meet a friend of his, Thorkell, who is also in service, Karin makes the biggest mistake of her life and asks for help in escaping. Eomond finds out just before she is about to leave and decides to take her fully, partly to punish her but largely because he wants her.
The next few chapters capture the arrival at the keep of Ethelred where she finds out that her uncle is still as perverted as ever, lusting after her because she looks likes her mother. Therefore, she does the only thing she can think of—flaunts Eomond around, which results in him sent away . And to top it all off, she discovers she is carrying his child which she uses to try and get out of marrying another man but her uncle has a solution … Here once again, I knew what was going to happen, I could already figure out who she was going to get married to because of the family presence in the keep.
At the end of part one, we see Karin lose the baby she is carrying and discover she is marrying the younger son of dowager Lady of Argent, who she had previously asked whether or not her son was married. Part two sees us travelling to the older brother Borovic’s castle to meet her betrothed Rafael le Senay who has inherited his title from his second brother. Rafael was to become a bishop and was studying under the Pope until his brother died at the Viking hand’s. Karin is expecting to have a bookish husband who her uncle thinks she can control but is surprised to find that he is not what she expected. In fact, Rafael has been pretending to be one of his knights, the Black Fox, who gained a reputation as a daring opponent.
Rafael heard the rumours and he has resigned himself to marry Karin if she will agree but he doesn’t expect his brother to take an interest. Wait for it—because she reminds him of his first wife. NOOOOO! Please anything else! I can’t stand to have another character like this; we already have the king. So the second half turna into the first half and Karin soon is slowly falling in love with her husband and dealing with problems from her dowager Lady of Argent and her brother-in-law.
I really wanted to like this book and give it an excellent rating (5 couples) but things deterred me from the onset. It still is an interesting take on a younger woman’s life in the year 1005 AD, but even so, I give it 3 couples.
Pubisher : Carina Pres
Source : Netgalley
Released : July 12th 2012
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