Two brothers. One woman. Three hearts at war.
Katrin of Courtenay’s husband is dead—and she doesn’t mourn him. He was cruel and controlling, and she doesn’t need a husband to hold her northern keep. But her vengeful uncle, the King of England, has other ideas: intent on marrying her off, he’s ordered his Viking-bred warrior to return her to court.
On the journey, the Viking captures her interest, and for the first time Katrin understands passion. But her guard is honor-bound to deliver her to the king, and so it is settled—she must wed the mysterious Rafael le Senay, the Baron of Belmaine.
A forced marriage to a stranger slowly becomes something more, and Katrin realizes she is in love with Rafael. But with the shadow of her former lover hanging over her, and Rafael’s powerful brother making dangerous plans, can Katrin negotiate the delicate balance between survival and happiness?
This blurb came from the author’s website here.
I was browsing Netgalley last month when I saw the cover to this book. It looked interesting because I could tell it was a historical but it was missing the typical overflowing bodice complete with partial cinch with a man who manly boobs were almost as big as the woman’s. Thanks to my curiosity I had to click to see what it was about. The blurb intrigued me so I went ahead and requested it. Once I started reading By Royal Command it seemed like I was reading one of the epic historical romances from yesteryear.
It took a little while for the heroine to grow on me. Her attempts to get out of following her uncle’s command struck me as a combination as crafty and then immature likewise her affair with the Viking. Then I met her uncle…and I could see the reason behind some of her behavior. I really started liking her when she went through a traumatic event, not one I would wish on anyone, and was actually forced to grow up. She took stock of her options and decided to go with the one that had the best chance for her life/safety and the life/safety of her Viking lover. I will admit I was concerned about Katrin’s sense of morals when she arrived at the home of her betrothed but luckily for me part of Katrin’s maturing process included the fact that she would now keep her word.
Rafael was another character that had to grow on me. I liked him initially but then he displayed his immaturity when it came to dealing with women for more than sexy times. I felt that he violated the bargain that he struck with Katrin before their marriage and never gave her a chance tell her side of the story. He did come through for Katrin in the end in a very moving fashion, which I liked. I was slightly let down when it came to his big secret because I thought it was going to be more.
Overall I think my favorite character happened to be Rafael’s mother. She was such an enigma from her initial entrance into the story and then, while maintaining her character, she was instrumental in several key moments. I had my hopes that sometime after the book ended that she would actually become one of Katrin’s supporters. I enjoyed reading By Royal Command but had some issues with the logic behind the behavior of some of the characters. I did buy into the HEA but I thought that Rafael and Katrin would need to continue to watch their backs because of the combination of her uncle and his brother.
I give By Royal Command a B-
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