Daughter of a slave…
…wedded to the warrior!
Livia Valeria is furious when she’s ruthlessly gambled away by her intended bridegroom. Luckily, it’s tall, muscled and darkly handsome Roman centurion Marius Varro who wins her as his bride! Livia must hide her Caledonian roots, but when Marius faces a barbarian rebellion at Hadrian’s Wall she must make a choice: her heritage or the husband she’s falling for…
Well, what a book!! As soon as I heard that Jenni Fletcher was writing a romance set in the Roman era, I couldn’t wait to read it. After I read my first Roman romance earlier this year I was instantly hooked, now have a love of this era. I knew that this would be good as Ms Fletcher has a real gift at story-telling, at entwining history and romance to create an enchanting story, but this surpasses all my expectations. As always Ms Fletcher has woven a historically accurate, sensual and evocative romance.
After the death of her abusive and malicious husband Livia’s equally horrendous brother, forces another marriage on to her, one that will benefit him and his greed. This time to a spoilt tribune with a gambling debt owed to her brother. Livia is basically destitute, she doesn’t have a penny to her name, no home, nothing after her cruel first husband cut her and her daughter; Julia off she was forced back to her brother’s protection. Now she is yet again a pawn in her brother’s game for power and money.
Which is when she meets dark and brooding, yet dazzlingly handsome Centurion Marius while on her way to meet her soon to be husband. She is instantly enthralled by the intelligent and protective man, who treats her like a proper lady and charms her little daughter. I love that moment when Marius meets little Julia, his stern countenance disappears and his light playfulness shines through all to make a little girl smile.
Livia is tough, she has had to be after all she has seen and experienced. She is like a she-wolf always ready to rip apart any who would harm her young cub. She may have been treated despicably, but she is fierce and passionate with ingrained values that have made her the marvellous woman she is. Marius sees that fierce and slightly wild side to her as soon as he meets her, it is really that part of her persona that really impresses Marius and make him want her all the more. At first when they meet it is a simple lust that sizzles between them, they are both inexplicably drawn to the other. Yet once they learn more about each, that rampant lust turns into mutual respect and affection.
Marius cannot bare to think of Livia and Julia in the clutches of such a bully, a man who doesn’t care about hurting even a child with his malicious words. Even if he and Livia hadn’t shared the most earth-shattering romantic kiss, he would do anything for her. So when the opportunity arises that he can help get Livia away from the tribune, Marius takes it, even though it does mean career suicide. Once married their troubles are for from over as pasts and secrets soon rear their heads, tough choices must be made all in the midst of a rebellion.
Marius, oh, Marius! What a gloriously strong yet vulnerable man he is, he is a man who believes strongly in right and wrong, he lives by a code of honour that he believes all men should live by, no matter their rank. I love that he is so principled, he is a thinker and he has strong opinion’s of how thing’s should be done. He is charming in his own stern way, he wants nothing more than to rebuild and regain that family honour that was cruelly taken from his father all those years ago, but the one thing that made me go weak at the knee’s was the way he accepts Livia for who she is, he admires her for her strength and treats her with up most respect, and you can see that Livia is quite taken back by him – which is not surprising, you would probably have to pick me up of the floor if I saw this rock of a man walking towards me in his centurion armour. 😉
I am so in love with everything about this story, there is something very special about this book. The story is wonderful in-depth, an emotional roller-coaster ride through Roman Britain that will keep the reader turning the page. The descriptions of life during the time, especially once Livia and Marius reach Hadrian’s wall is astounding, it is rich in history and the scenery is so vivid and real. Then there is the chemistry between Marius and Livia, which is ablaze with mutual passion and desire. Jenni Fletcher is going from strength to strength, she is such a wonderfully adaptive author who tackles many different era’s and with each book her skill, dedication, research and passion shine through. I personally hope that she writes more Roman as there is so very few authors out there willing to take on this era.
A mesmerising romance!
This was an ARC copy via the author in exchange for an honest review.
The Warrior’s Bride Prize is to be released 4th October and can be pre-ordered at Amazon.
A hardened survivor of more than a dozen gladiatorial combats, Valens’s raw masculinity fuels many women’s sexual fantasies. He is outside polite society, and Roman noblewoman Julia Antonia knows she should have nothing to do with a man who is little more than a slave. But with a wisp of scandal clinging to her stola, Julia is drawn inexorably toward the forbidden danger he represents. For Valens, Julia is a tantalizing reminder of the life he’d been torn from. To claim her, he must fight one final time–and win!
Before I begin, please forgive me for the amount of gushing I will be doing about this book. This is my second book by Michelle Styles, and oh my word what a doozy this is. I have quickly become a huge fan of Ms Styles work, I love her raw and vivid writing style. Her stories are wonderfully engaging, hugely romantic and flow with ease.
I hadn’t read a Roman romance before this and I can say with absolute honesty that I have been missing out on something, this is more than good. In fact, good is not the word for it, this is amazing! Everything about this era is very new to me, I have learnt so much from reading this book – and at times when something was mentioned I was intrigued and for the first time ever while reading a book, I did Google some of the items and terms, thing’s that were mentioned so that I could learn more.
Set during ancient Rome in the reign of Julius Ceaser, after divorcing her abusive husband, Julia Antonia is now back living with her father and step mother. She is plodding along, trying her hardest to evade her step-mother; Sabina’s match making. She has her best friend Claudia – who is a real laugh out loud character and her faithful dog Bato, not quite as happy as she would like to be, she feels like a disappointment she is basically stuck in a rut the only good thing about her present existence is that she is free from her ex-husband Lucius. Her regular and boring routine is set off kilter when she meets devilishly sexy and Oh, so charming Gladiator Valen’s – who wears his toga way shorter than fashionable, leaving very little to the imagination.
Valen’s having been stolen from his past life and sold to into slavery, he has literally fought for his life to become one of the best and most respected Gladiators. He knows what his destiny is; to die in the arena, Valen’s also knows that if he can win these next games he can gain his freedom, as long as he can stay alive. He has everything planned out, that is until meets beautiful Julia and suddenly his life is far more complicated than he would like it to be.
For the games all the high-ranking Gladiators have been billeted with diplomats and ambassadors, Valen’s is sent to live with one of Ceaser’s closest diplomats who turns out to be the father of the little nymph he met in the market. Being around her brings back painful memories of his life before he was sold into slavery, but as much as he tries to keep clear of her knowing that she is well out of his reach Valen’s can’t help himself and even on his day in the villa with her family he steals a passionate kiss from her – Oh, my that first kiss! My goodness me, it’s sexy and luscious and very hot. No wonder Julia goes all weak at the knees, she can barely restrain herself in that first passionate embrace all she wants to do rip off both their toga’s and have her wicked way with him…I really don’t blame her 😉
I absolutely love these two, they are passionate, sexy and so adorable. They fit together beautifully she is the calming beauty and light that his tormented heart and mind needs she soothes him and makes him realise that there is something else out there, something more than just fighting. She makes him believe that maybe there could be a future for him. Whereas he gives her something that she thought she would never have; to be able to feel alive again, to feel safe and secure and to feel loved. Something she has missed out on over the years.
Oh, my goodness; Valen’s! I don’t think I have ever come across a man who is as virile and alive as this seductive Gladiator. Valen’s is supremely sexy, quietly determined and masculinity personified – I mean his muscles have got muscles! He has secrets and a painful past that torment’s him and all you want to do is give him a huge hug. His steely gaze, saucy grin and grumbling voice could make any women with a pulse swoon, but he also has a wonderful mind, he is caring, very loving and protective. How he treats his friends and Bato the dog is sweet and tender, he shows that even though he is a huge, brawny man. A man who can kill when needed and man who wields a sword like it is a third arm, he shows that he can be gentle and sensual. Oh, how much have a fallen head over heals for him!
As I said earlier in my review, I have definitely been missing out on something when it comes to Roman Romances, this is swoon-worthingly perfect. A story line that is engaging, it takes hold of your and doesn’t let you go. Two incredible and fascinating character’s who just want love, the banter between them is witty, seductive and believable. I love every part of this.
There really isn’t anything I don’t like about this, in fact it has started off a love of this era and I am so looking forward to reading more Roman Romances. The Gladiators Honour has proven what I knew already that Ms Styles has a real gift with Historical Romance and I will be reading more by this wonderful lady.
Just one word; Perfection!
This was a gift from the author and I chose to write a review on it.
The Gladiators Honour can be purchased from Amazon.