Release Date: 27/11/12
Publisher: Harlequin (Love Inspired)
Target Audience: Young Adults/Adults
Genre: Historical Romance/Religion
Synopsis: Despite her protests, Princess Gisela, headstrong daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne, must enter into a diplomatic marriage. Yet en route to her wedding, her ship is attacked and she's gravely injured. Rescued by a renowned healer, King John of Lydia, Gisela recuperates at his Mediterranean castle. The handsome, widowed ruler soon has her reevaluating her beliefs on love and marriage
but only if King John could be her groom. Their love is forbidden, and duty requires him to deliver her to her betrothed. Unless they can find a way to join their hearts—and kingdoms—with love, faith and honor.
Review: When I first started reading this I was enjoying it immensely and then the Religion heavy content kicked in and it started overshadowing the Historical Romance side of the story. Now don't get me wrong, I have nothing against religion in novels or in general. In fact i read the Amish Romance stories but they are a lot less Religion heavy than this book (odd considering they are set in a religious community). I also think it prudent to point out that I am NOT an Atheist just to make it clear that this is not an anti-god splurge.
At the beginning of the story it is the peril and romance that takes center stage, followed swiftly by the threat of war and some fighting. But then the religious side creeps in, sneaky and not so there at first, but then it hits you like a hammer and I found it hard to focus on Gisela, John and there budding romance. One part that particularly annoyed me was that John seemed more alarmed at the thought of the church splitting than losing the woman he loves and the lives that would be lost during a war that would cause said split of church. Now I understand that this was a different time period but still, it bugged me a lot.
If you can get past that and focus on the romance and the complicated military plots and betrayals then there is a good story underneath it all. And I was thrilled with the ending. The idea that Love will conquer all has always been a big thing for me and I love the idea. So for that reason this book still gets three out of five, because it is, underneath it all, a compelling love story. It helped that the characters were well fleshed out and with personalities that could be related to. I could understand the reasoning for John and Gisela trying to avoid there feelings even if i didn't like there stubbornness.
Maybe I'm a good old fashioned romantic but if you love someone, really love someone, then they are most definitely worth the struggle to be with.