Series: The Montagues, #5
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Let me start by saying, this book is written in the first person – I am not a fan of first person narrative.
Princess Isabel Plantagenet is the widow of the Crown Prince Hartman of Rheinbaden and daughter of King Edward I of England. Sent to Rheinbaden at the age of 6, Isabel is back in England for the first time in years and is faced with a very dirty, very angry Faulke Segrave. Faulke had arranged a betrothal to Avalene, but has learned that the King betrothed her to his assassin and is demanding Faulke marry Isabel or be tried for treason.
Isabel endured much in her first marriage and has no desire to be subjected to that kind of pain again, which she is sure will happen when Faulke learns the truth about her. Faulke has a reputation of womanizing and three wives who died under questionable circumstances, but looking at him, Isabel cannot fathom the first and completely believes him capable of murder! But she has no choice, she is but a pawn for her father and will do her duty.
Isabel is saddened when the captain of her English guard is found dead, poisoned and further investigation reveals his daughter and her family are also dead. Her father sends her a new captain and has Dante figure out who murdered him. When Faulke returns, Isabel is stunned at the change – he is gorgeous and he knows his effect on women- but she is determined to resist the pull, her father has promised that if marriage to him is unbearable, he will support her decision to live apart from him. Faulke is completely different today, today he is handsome, charming and more than willing to marry her. When he learns of the murder, he insists on moving in with Isabel and helping with the investigation. Her father agrees and when Faulke wants to push up their wedding, much to her dismay.
They marry and Faulke learns one of her secrets. He is patient and kind to her and helps her move past her fear. They grow closer and she begins to have hope for a happy marriage, but when a contingent from Rheinbaden is set to arrive and demand her presence, she feels bound to tell Faulke the truth and reveals her darkest secret. He is furious and she is heartbroken.
When he calms, he admits he knew or suspected her secret all along (?!?) and is angry that she deceived him, but he still cares for her and defends her honor. It seems like they will get their HEA, but Faulke’s enemies are not done with him yet and they will learn that his enemy is closely tied to her – but will the figure out why she has become the target of his enemies wrath or will Isabel pay the ultimate price?
The book is well written, but since it is first person, I never learned anything from Faulke’s POV, he was such an interesting character that I felt deprived not getting to know and understand him better. The mystery was decent, the love scenes were mild and the secondary characters were abundant and likable, the story and characters were an interesting mix of fact and fiction with a healthy dose of creative license. This book is part of a series, but it can absolutely be read as a stand alone title with no problem.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an uncorrected eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*