Review: By Grace Possessed

Reviewed by Jen

I liked this book so much more than By His Majesty’s Grace.The story centers on Lady Cate Milton. She’s one of the so-called Three Graces, a trio of sisters said to be cursed. Any man who tries to marry one of them for a reason other than love, is destined for death. Cate’s older sister, Isabel, has managed a happy marriage, but Cate doesn’t believe it’s in the cards for her.

That doesn’t stop her from appreciating an arresting man like Dunbar. The sexy Scotsman saved her from a band of men who would have kidnapped her in the woods. Circumstances forced them to spend the night together, and he was a perfect gentleman. But in the 1400’s, appearances meant a lot. And before they knew it, the couple was betrothed at the insistence of the king.

Cate goes back and forth with her feelings. She wants Dunbar, but she fears for his life because of the curse. He is just as torn because while he wants nothing more than to bed the lady, he knows that if they wed, his father will disown him. On top of that, he wonders if Cate has anything to do with an attempt on his life. But when push comes to shove, the king gives neither of them much choice in the matter.

I enjoyed watching Cate and Dunbar come together. And there was plenty of intrigue going on in the background. It was a little too historically complicated for me at times, but there was enough action and danger to keep me interested. That, and watching the relationship between Cate and Dunbar unfold. (I am such a sucker for a burr and a kilt.) I was also excited to see that David… a favorite of mine from the last book… appears to be the love interest for the last sister and will be featured in the next book. Yay! Almost 4 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

By Grace Possessed
by Jennifer Blake
Release Date: August 30, 2011
Publisher: Mira

Review: By His Majesty’s Grace

Reviewed by Jen

If Lady Isabel had her way, she’d never marry.  She is so opposed to the idea that she constructed a so-called curse to dissuade potential suitors. Any man who tried to force a loveless marriage with Isabel or one of her two sisters would face disaster. But Braesford doesn’t fear the curse. He relishes the idea of marrying Isabel… and his friend King Henry has helped him, by giving him the lady in a royal decree.

At first, it seems that Isabel will be spared the marriage she hopes to avoid. Just before the wedding, Braesford is arrested on suspicions that he killed the King’s illegitimate newborn. The couple is summoned to the King’s keep, but even while the investigation is underway, Henry hastens the marriage. The story follows Braesford’s quest to prove his innocence, while a relationship develops between him and his new bride.

I understand that this is a different time. But over and over, I cringed to watch Isabel’s wants and feelings be completely disregarded. She is forced to marry Braesford. She is forced into a physical relationship. I felt her helplessness her indignity. Of course, she comes around as Braesford awakens her to sensual pleasures, but I had trouble getting past what she had to endure before then. And even as she came to enjoy her interludes with her husband, Isabel’s complete lack of control over her life, both in and out of the bed continued to bother me.

As circumstances worsen for Braesford, Isabel has a rare window of opportunity to make her own path in an attempt to exonerate him. It was nice to finally see her make her own choices and embrace her freedom while she has it. There was a lot of intrigue surrounding Tudor-era politics. It got a little complicated, when we got into the specifics of bloodlines and loyalties.

The best thing the story had going for it was the romance. I’m glad Isabel developed feelings for Braesford, since Lord knows she had so little say in the matter. He is a good man… stalwart, with a strong moral code. He clearly loves Isabel and despite the disparity of power between them, I did want them to have their happy ending. It was just a long road to get there. 3 stars.

*ARC Provided by NetGalley

By His Majesty’s Grace
by Jennifer Blake
Release Date: July 26, 2011
Publisher: Mira