Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sharon’s Review: Valiant One by Jay Hughes

Jay Hughes
Valiant One
Ellora`s Cave/Jasmine Jade, September 30, 2011

Links: Author’s website | Goodreads | Buy book here

Ragnar, a hardened Scottish soldier, is indifferent to English rule of his homeland until he falls in love with Gylis McIvoy, a fellow Scotsman. They have a brief and passionate affair, but circumstances tear them apart permanently. Ragnar swears vengeance, and soon becomes a freedom fighter modeled on the recently captured and executed William Wallace.
Ragnar manages to raise a ragtag army that rains terror down on Longshanks' occupying forces, but in the process, he has a chance meeting with the king's son, Prince Edward of Wales. Sparks fly between them despite the impossibility of an English prince taking a Scottish enemy soldier as his lover-giving new meaning to "the love that dare not speak its name". These two star-crossed lovers may cross swords on the battlefield by day, but they still manage to heat up the night.

Genre & Keywords:
M/M Romance, Historical, Scotland, Battle strategies, Politics of Feudal England, Prince, Soldier

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Heat level: 1 out of 3

Reviewed by SharonS.:

I was disappointed with this story. Maybe because I was expecting something different. There isn’t much romance and the sex wasn’t…sexy. The author spends most of the story talking about battle strategies and the politics of Feudal England. There are too many secondary characters and subplots for a story of this length (novella). The author wanted to impress upon the reader that the Scots are fierce fighters and proud people. But it was mentioned so much it became a distraction to me.

The story of how Ragnar met his first love Gylis is told as a flashback. They met in a pub and talked. Then realized they had a connection and walked into the woods holding hands. Ragnar, a virgin, ends up the bottom and decides that this is what has been missing from his life and this must be love. Just didn’t ring true for me. I thought the story would be about Ragnar and the young Prince Edward, but they spent very little time together in the story, yet fell in love. I just didn’t buy it. I didn’t feel any passion between the characters.

The author obviously did a lot of research about the thirteenth century and put a lot of work into the story so it surprised me when the characters kept referring to the guerilla warfare of the Scots. That phrase didn’t appear until the 1800’s.

I am not sure what audience would enjoy this story. It didn’t work for me.

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