In The Queen’s Vow by CW Gortner, Isabella of Castile was never meant to become queen. As a female royal, it was her duty to be married off as soon as possible and only for the benefit of her family or country. Fate intervenes, and she is thrust into the limelight as her half brother’s only heir. Isabella then defies her brother and custom by marrying her love, Fernando of Aragon, creating one of the ultimate power couples in history.
Let’s face it. Spanish history is not sexy. No one has done a series on cable TV about it. For the most part, when dealing with history, it’s always about King Phillip and his dealings with the Tudors or it’s an eye glazing account of the Spanish Inquisition. Gortner breathes life into this chapter of Spanish history. Any subject he touches becomes tangible and real to the reader. You feel as if you personally know these historical figures and you feel all of their emotions as the story plays out.
I honestly didn’t know much about Isabella. I had done some reading on my own about the Spanish Inquisition, her expulsion of the Jewish population in 1492, as well as her support of Christopher Columbus. Most authors I have read (either fiction or non), have made Isabella out to be cold and aloof, especially when her daughter Katherine is mentioned.
What an emotional read. Laytmer by Tracey Devlyn is the fourth book in her Nexus Series and full of surprises and gut wrenching emotion. Throughout the series Latymer has been the traitor. The bad guy. So, I was shocked when I found out the fourth book would be about him. It has a different feel to it than the other three books. The biggest to me is that the main love story in this book in my opinion is between a father and son, but it also shows the love that Latymer had for his wife.
In Latymer, we find a father and son on the run from all the people and choices Latymer has made. He wants to make a new life for him and his son, Giles and that means catching a boat to America. However, in true Tracey Devlyn fashion, things are never easy. There is always a spy from some country showing up at the worst possible time.
In this book, a big question is can a bad guy turn good? Maybe. Maybe not. However, learning the whys of Latymer’s actions sure makes you feel for the guy. Watching the way he treats his son and the love he once shared for his late wife also makes you really feel for the guy.
When you decide to read Banquet of Lies by Michelle Diener, make sure you have cleared your calendar because it will consume you. Michelle Diener is one of the best story tellers. She could easily write in any genre and I would be captivated by her stories. Banquet of Lies is a historical fiction/romance but it I was so engrossed in the story I sometimes forgot that they couldn’t pick up the phone and call someone rather than go looking for them. I have not yet read The Emperor’s Conspiracy, but Banquet of Lies is a follow up to that one with connected characters. I don’t think you need to read them in order, but after reading about Lord Durnham and Lady Durnham in Banquet of Lies, I can’t wait to go back and read it.
In Banquet of Lies the story opens with Giselle Barrington, often referred to as Gigi, witnessing her father’s murder. She holds a very important document in which her father was killed and is now on the run knowing the killer (the shadow man she calls him) will be after her. She can’t go to the authorities because she is not sure who she can trust. Instead, she hides out and pretends to be a cook at the house of Lord Aldridge (Jonathan) just a few down from hers so she can watch for the shadow man to come. Gigi thought posing as a cook would be a piece of cake, but boy was she wrong.
Oh my gosh, where to start with this book? I was really looking forward to A Lady’s Secret Weapon by Tracey Devlyn because the hero, Ethan, is the bad boy of the series and I have a thing for bad boys. They are usually more troubled than the good boys, so when they make the switch it is more raw and emotional. Pairing Ethan with the independent heroine Sydney was just explosive.
The third book in the Nexus Series is filled with several plot lines that are all wonderfully woven together to keep you on the edge of your seat. I have had to read each of these books carefully because there is so much going on I don’t want to miss a thing and they move quickly.
The character development is phenomenal. Ethan and Sydney are well developed characters with lots of internal conflict. There are some deep seeded issues they both reluctantly have to come to terms with before they can move on with their relationship. I was surprised at how some of the plot lines played out due to the way the characters matured over the story. Ethan and Sydney brought out the best in one another, even if it they provoked each other a lot with their bantering. They are a very entertaining pair and make each other stronger. I love seeing that in a romance. The major intimate scene in the book was done extremely well. It was very passionate, gentle and sweet and made me swoon at the end (and I don’t swoon easily).
I loved In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener. Seriously. I think this has been my favorite book of the series so far. A lot of the reason was watching Parker struggle so much while his betrothed, Susanna, was imprisoned and he was helpless. I don’t like to see people struggle, but the normally strong, calm, controlled Parker was out of sorts when he could not get Susanna freed easily. While Susanna didn’t wish to be imprisoned she did what she always does – she stepped up and was strong for everyone else.
If you haven’t read Michelle Diener yet, you must. Her stories are so smart and you will be captivated from the beginning with John and Susanna and the adventure they find themselves on, usually on behalf of the King or Queen. The romance in In Defense of the Queen is just lovely. This is the third book for John and Susanna and you can see their relationship grow stronger all the time. They are truly meant for and complement each other so well. You won’t get the steamy, detailed love scenes in this story, but you still see the romance and passion between the two of them when Michelle writes the more intimate scenes. It is the kind that makes you swoon because it is so beautiful.