By Royal Command

By Royal Command

By Royal Command

Jul 02, 2012
Harlequin/Carina

Reviews

Library Journal

Jul 02, 2012

highly recommended.—Henry Bankhead, Los Gatos P.L., CA


 E Originals | First Look at New Books, July 6, 2012Navarre, Laura. By Royal Command. Carina: Harlequin. Jul. 2012. 998Kb. eISBN 9781426894008. EPUB $5.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
 E Originals | First Look at New Books, July 6, 2012Katrin of Courtenay, niece to the King of England, has been forced into a loveless marriage simply to secure English alliances. But when that horrible husband dies of pestilence, the King again sends for her‚ for another arranged marriage. Vowing to fight this union every step of the way, Katrin arrives at court sharing her bed with Eomond, the King’s sword-theyn. She struggles with the passion that drives this unlikely coupling, but it is Eomond who teaches her what love feels like in the bedroom. King Ethelred needs alliances, however, and announces her betrothal to the Baron of Belmaine. When Eomond refuses to run away with her, Katrin goes to her baron, Rafael le Senay. Expecting him to be the monk that he almost was, Katrin is excited and pleased by her attraction to the elegant noble. But all is not well, as Rafael must fight his own brother to keep his new wife. As the brother’s duel, Katrin realizes that she has fallen hopelessly in love with her new husband. After enduring life’s hard journey, Katrin finds safety, security, and love in the most unexpected place‚ her marriage.
Verdict Author Navarre chronicles the subterfuge of the royal court, transporting the reader to England in 1005 C.E. and bringing it to life. Her strong writing and dynamic characters will captivate readers in Katrin’s struggle with love and passion. A sexy and smart new addition to the genre; one love story not to be missed!—Judy Garner, ECPI Univ. Lib., Glen Allen, VA

Reviewed by Library Journal: Judy Garner

All About Romance

Jul 02, 2012

By Royal Command
 


Laura Navarre
July 2012, Historical Romance (1005 England)
Carina Press, $5.99, 275 pages

Grade:
B

Sensuality:
Warm

 


This eBook is available at Amazon and other eBook retailers.


 


If you love Medievals, definitely check out By Royal Command. Set in Anglo-Saxon England, a very colorful and under-utilized time period, this novel caught my interest from the dark and moody beginning and held it to the very end. It wasn't perfect, but it was quite good.



As the novel opens, we immediately get a glimpse into heroine Katrin's plight. Young and widowed, she is lady of what appears to be a desolate, sparsely populated holding in the north. Cut off from much of the world around her, she must find a way for the household to survive, as well as keep a watchful eye for the ever present threat of Viking invaders. It's a grim existence, but at least her holdings lie far away from court so that she does not have to encounter her uncle, King Ethelred, known to history as Ethelred the Unready.


This changes when the Viking Eomond and his men come to the keep, bearing orders from the king. As the king's niece, Katrin is a valuable pawn, so he has called her to court. She knows immediately that he plans to make yet another politically advantageous marriage for her. Her first marriage brought no happiness and she does not trust Ethelred, so Katrin doesn't exactly jump at the prospect of a journey to court. Nevertheless, after some sparring, Eomond prevails and Katrin finds her way to court. On the journey, Katrin and Eomond also find themselves growing more and more attracted to one another. For a woman married off in her early teens to a man whom she never loved, this is a new experience. However, Eomond is a landless knight who has sworn fealty to the king while Katrin is a niece destined for a political alliance. Not surpisingly, this causes tension.


The tension does not abate at court, even after Ethelred announces that he intends for Katrin to marry Rafael le Senay, Baron of Belmaine and younger brother of the Earl of Argent, a region whose resources and support Ethelred covets. Given that Rafael had been intended for the church, Katrin and everyone else around her expects a monkish man little interested in marriage, but when Katrin finally meets Rafael, she finds a man both handsome and intelligent, who is most definitely interested in consummating a marriage with her.


If you do not enjoy love triangles, this may not be the book for you. However, for me this ended up being one of the better love triangle stories I've ever read. It has a bittersweet quality at times, but it also had an ending I could believe. Eomond and Rafael are both strong characters, and I found much to enjoy in both. Eomond more closely fits the alpha hero mold, with his tendency to be somewhat overbearing and overtly strong. Sometimes he goes too far for comfort when sparring with Katrin, but there is believable chemistry between these two. Usually, I can't stand relationships that seem to swing back and forth between love scenes and power struggles between the leads, but with Katrin and Eomond, both the arguments and the romantics work. Rafael also shows great strength and intelligence, but lacks that overbearing, almost macho quality I would associate with an alpha hero. With his various talents and intelligent repartee, he actually reminds me most of Westley from The Princess Bride. I especially loved some of his conversations with Katrin.


Since both men are definitely hero material, the fact that the author keeps readers guessing for quite a bit who Katrin's hero will be certainly kept me reading. In addition to enjoying the heroes, I also loved the vivid setting and the heroine's journey as a character. In some ways, Katrin has a certain sense of maturity about her. After all, she enjoys a high position in society and she has had to run a keep independently. However, she was also married very young and has lived in isolation, so she definitely lacks some understanding with regard to relationships. She can be bratty at times in the first part of the story, but throughout the book we see her grow as a person as well as learning to trust other people. In addition, because both of the men in this book are hero material, the choice Katrin must make is a wrenching one, and readers experience that emotional journey with her. Even though women had almost no power to chart their own destinies in early 11th century England, Katrin's story shows her taking on her circumstances and making the best life possible for herself. It may not be kickass in the typical sense, but it definitely takes guts and resolve.


Beyond the characters, the plot itself is filled with twists and turns. Katrin begins her story in a remote keep, spends time at the royal court with all of its intrigues, and then finds herself sent by the king to Argent for a marriage. There she finds even more plotting and intrigues. In fact, it may look like I've given lots and lots of plot summary here, but this review really only scratches the surface of what goes on in this book.


With a vivid and sometimes dark setting, By Royal Command ends up being both an unusual and enjoyable Medieval romance. At times, the pacing felt a little rushed, but Katrin's love triangle still held my interest and the political wrangling in the background of this story makes for fascinating reading. Little is known about Ethelred as a person or about some of the personalities at his court, but the author fills in the blanks to create an unforgettable picture of what may have been. If you enjoy meatier historicals, this is one to try.


-- Lynn Spencer

Reviewed by All About Romance: Lynn Spencer

Novel Reflections

Jul 02, 2012

With a historical romance voice that oozes ‘period’ context, author Laura Navarre delivers a solid medieval romance that captivates effortlessly.


By Royal Command is a story with a foundation of political maneuvering set during a period of England’s volatile medieval time. The story especially captures the tale of one young woman whose life has essentially been shaped by her uncle, the king of England, Ethelred.


Katrin of Courtney’s first marriage was arranged by her uncle to secure an alliance that would protect the northern borders. Married at a very young age, Katrin was thrust into a marriage that held no love, kindness, nor passion. At eighteen, Katrin found herself widowed, on the verge of financial and land holding ruin, and once again forced into yet another arranged marriage to a man she’d never even heard of, and on the other side of England.


When the ruggedly handsome, viking-bred, sword thane comes to take her to her uncle – and ultimately to her betrothed – Katrin’s path unfolds like that of a woman starved for a taste of life filled momentarily with happiness, freedom, and passion, that has always been denied. Her fear, passionless and confined life drives her to make decisions that propels her down a path unforeseen.


Her attraction to the large, fair-haired Viking, awakens the first glimpse of sexual fervor she had never before experienced. Jeopardizing both his life and her future, their heated attraction is undeniable, but not enough to capture the dream of forever. Her uncle has no issues shipping her off to her new betrothed, disregarding her feelings entirely.


Enter the mysterious and oh-so darkly handsome, Rafael le Senay, the Baron of Belmaine. How can Katrin be so instantaneously attracted to this man, while feeling though her true love had been taken from her? But, Rafael is a different man entirely. Closer to her age, holding his own mysterious past closely guarded like herself, and with a quiet, yet intense disposition that leaves Katrin feeling at peace and … safe for once in her life, not to mention deeply attracted to this stranger.


Their relationship grows from respect into a passionate love neither was looking nor prepared for. The only problem is the castle is too small for Refael and his older and more titled brother who can’t seem to keep his eyes – and hands – to himself when it comes to Katrin.

Navarre writes a solid story that brings to life what it must have been like living as a female during the medieval time period. With a writing style that is both intelligent and gripping, historically rich landscapes, artifacts and daily life add a sense of life-like depth to the story that seems to leap and captivate.


While not depicted as such, this story almost has two different parts to it. The first half allowing Katrin the once denied passion that she’s able to find in her forbidden Viking lover, who also grants her her first true sense of what it must feel like to be wanted and cared for. And the second part of Katrin finding a true love. A love that blends both passion and a sense of deep devotion and respect together. Throughout the duration of the story, however, there is always a dark undercurrent of what all the players in the king’s game of political chess must feel and be part of.


The attributes of the different characters create for four convincing lead characters – each with a role to play, each a pawn in political maneuvering, yet all having flaws and obstacles that need to be overcome. Maybe they’re all alike after all.


I was first introduced and quickly deemed a fan of Laura Navarre’s work in The Devil’s Temptress ( a completely different historical romance). And after now having read By Royal Command, I think it’s safe to say that Navarre has a gift for writing historical storytelling with dark and political undertones that compel a reader to keep turning the pages to find out what’s next.


It is more than obvious that careful thought and research has gone into the making of By Royal Command, and I can safely say that I am officially a true fan of Laura’s.


The recommendation: I wholeheartedly recommend By Royal Command to fans of historical romance placed in the medieval time period. Fans who love to identify with real world hardships of what it must have felt like to constantly be at the whim of the king, a political pawn to be used at will, and a female, nonetheless, during this time. Fans who aren’t afraid to ask, ‘what would I do if I was placed in Katrin’s position’? And last but not least, fans who want to feel passion with a Viking, and fall in love with dark, handsome, mysterious, and protective man all while heating up the pages with their own form of passion.


I would definitely recommend By Royal Command with the intelligent and historical contextual writing style that transports the reader to the Medieval ages.

Reviewed by Novel Reflections--Tanya

Caveat Lector

Jul 01, 2012

I cannot rave enough about this book. I absolutely loved it, and I cannot find a single flaw in it. Honestly.


Katrin is the king’s niece, and has been used as a political pawn before. Now, years after her husband’s death and aged merely 18, she’s about to be married off again. She’s delivered to the king by a Viking’s bastard, who’s honour isn’t strong enough to stop him lusting after Katrin.


The whole book is passionate and breathless, and steamy, but it’s more than a story of Katrin’s loves and marriages. It’s a story filled with politics, and intrigue and suspense. Katrin’s relation to the king affords the reader a great overview of all the troubles facing England in that time, with the constant Viking threat.


The setting and the historical detail seem flawless (I say they seem flawless simply becasue I’m not qualified to really comment on it.)


I would recommend this to any fans of historical romances with more to the plot than “just” the romance. Well, let me clear, the romantic plot is the main plot here, it’s just that I loved all the background action and details.


Some reviews I’ve read have complained that Katrin is a weak character. I couldn’t disagree more. She struggles against her fate as much as any woman could in those days. And yes, there are nasty characters in the book (the king being a great example; he’s practically a criminal mastermind), but who wants sunshine and light all the time? It was a crappy time to be a woman, so of course Katrin is constricted in what she can do to prevent being married off. And there are awful people. And there was some amount of incest (the King kinda has the hots for his niece). Historical accuracy is to be applauded in historical romances, not condemned.


This book has a perfect blend of gritty historical reality and genuine romance. It’s a must-read for all historical romance fans!

Reviewed by Caveat Lector Book Reviews

Eye on Romance

Jul 02, 2012

This is an Official Review by an Eye On Romance Official Reviewer

Review for By Royal Command
Author: Laura Navarre
Date of Review: 05/21/12
Reviewed by: Heather

Reviewer Comments:

Katrin has a man problem. There are many men who want and desire her but she only wants one.

Katrin of Courtenay was quite happy living in her deceased husband’s holdings although the people there could have had more food and support. She is then ordered back to King Ethelred’s side so that he can arrange another match for her but more importantly shore his borders against the Danes. On the journey, she finds herself involved with Eomond, her protector for the journey. She is very attracted to Eomond and decides to seduce him to get her way in things. It is the reality of court life that brings things undone for Katrin and she is sent to marry a baron, a second son. Eomond had been sent away to fight but returns just as she is leaving and he feels very betrayed. Even the title and lands cannot repair the hurt he feels.

Katrin arrives at her new home and finds that the both earl and the baron, the man she is destined for, are rivals for her affections. When Katrin arrives at her future husband’s home and finds a tourney happening and the Black Fox is the main attraction, a man known to be close to the baron. He takes her and she discovers it is her future husband, and this is a secret she must keep. Rafael, an almost bishop in the church, and Katrin talk about their future and she indicates that she will not renege on the marriage contract. In the meantime, the earl has designs upon Katrin even to admitting that he should have married her when he had the chance instead of the Welsh woman. This causes all manner of complications but nothing more so than when her past lover, Eomond, arrives at the keep.

This story is told in two parts, Katrin’s life before her second arranged marriage then her new life with the de Senays. Her two lives are very different but Katrin has rules she lives by but does fear authority and realizes she is but a pawn in the game and outwardly complies with “the rules” even though she works them to her advantage if she can.

The intriguing part of this story is you really do not know which of the men Katrin will end up being with, Eomond or Rafael or Borovic, until much further into the story and Katrin is forced to make choices. It is the battle for her affections that frightens her the most and she and the dowager must work out an ego soothing solution to the problem.

I really enjoyed this story especially as it was a little different to the usual girl meets boy and have problems. She really did have her choice of men but did follow her heart. 

Reviewed by Tara Green--Eye on Romance Book Reviewer