Series: Wolves of Brittany #3
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Kindle Worlds
Released on January 22, 2018
IT TAKES MORE THAN A KINGDOM TO MEND A HEART...
As the daughter of the king who vanquished Vikings from Brittany, Gwened of Poher has a legacy to protect but doing her duty has left her in a loveless childless marriage. Aside from the artistry of her needlework, her life feels meaningless.
A hardened warrior, Bjorn Vargrsson was impervious to pain, until the tragic loss of his wife and son left a gaping wound that refuses to heal. With prayers and sacrifices unheeded by the gods, he lives an empty existence
The third brother arrives in the spotlight. Bjorn had me intrigued from book one. He’s quiet, a widower who still mourns the loss of wife and children, but he’s also a raiding Viking helping put his brother on the throne of Brittany. Ivar the Red was full of sensational action and intrigue along with sizzling passion so I was well primed to move into The Bastard of Brittany.
The Bastard of Brittany is the third of the Wolves of Brittany series. I have no idea if its the last book, as I felt there was room for more to come when this one ended, and yet, he is the final of the three half-brothers… so not sure there. But what I am sure about is that this series of stories must be read in order.
All three books cover roughly the same events, but offer parallel stories with the three brothers and the women in their stories. The first story, Breton Wolfe has Valdrick and Adele telling of the invasion of Brittany and takes things to the point of the siege on Quimper. Then Ivar the Red has Ivar and Emma summarizing the invasion from a new angle and taking things just past the siege to thwarting a retaliatory invasion from the Franks near the border. And now, The Bastard of Brittany summarizes the invasion from yet another angle and covers what was going on back at Vannes and on to Poher with Bjorn and Gwened taking over the narration.
I found this one went by fast for me from start to finish and yet it wasn’t any shorter than the others. Nothing really leaped out at me though I felt a quick connection to both Bjorn and Gwened. I loved that though they have private pain, they go on for the betterment of others. Bjorn is a caregiver whether it was to his lost family or to the people of the lands he now oversees. I love that. Gwened has the potential to be such and indeed kept things going in Poher while her boy-husband was growing up.
It was a steady-paced story taking the tone of the main characters in it. I do love how each pairing in this series are drawn well and very different from the others (no cookie cutter romances here). Gwened is rightly upset and angered about the invasion, but she is reasonable and practical, too. Bjorn doesn’t allow Gwened to rile him and is also reasonable and not uncaring of her plight. Gwened and Bjorn share the sorrow of burying lost loves and then forced to push on.
The element of the arranged marriage with a new romance for this pair while Gwened is still marriaged might have sat uneasy with me except for the character and circumstances of young Mateudoi who was Gwened’s husband. He was married to her when he was fourteen and he’s barely twenty at the time of this novella. Like Gwened, he truly is unhappy, not unkind or disrespectful. Sexual relations are distasteful to him and unwanted (yes, he is asexual and that is perfectly alright, though its not thought well of by others).
Truthfully, other than one real high point of conflict, this one is low-angst and its slow burn rather than sizzling. I adored Ivar and Emma’s story, but I also enjoyed the break from the drama with Bjorn and Gwened. They come together, but not in the beginning and not without the hesitancy of a virginal heroine and a hero who is finding his way through the confusion in his mind about his past grief and moving on.
My only real niggle was that I felt things were left at a suspenseful point and somewhat unresolved. Now, this might be intentional and left for another book- I suspect it is, but I get so caught up in things that I am impatient for all the threads to be tied off.
All in all, I have really enjoyed this trip back to ninth century Brittany with events and circumstances of the characters feeling historically accurate even while the romances pull one in with sensual enemies to lovers pairings. Those who love good historical romance and don’t mind novella-length reads should definitely give these a try.
My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
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