My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley.com
The blurb for Betrayed makes it sound awesome!! Add that to the dozen or so 5 star reviews, and I was so excited to read a great medieval Historical. I really loved the plot. The author is English and I think that gives this book a flavor of authenticity, and her writing is good, in fact I loved a few lines, that I will definitely put in this review.
However, this book struck a couple discordant notes for me.
Amber, our heroine and an English lady, is the niece of the cruel Jardin laird, and her father has recently died, so her uncle took her in…for nothing more than to have her break a curse he thinks her mother and father set upon him. For the first hundred pages or so, I really felt for Amber, I thought she’d been through a lot, and I cut her some slack. Well, she has a friend in the neighboring rival clan who lets it slip that there will be a raid that night on her clan…so her maid is beaten by her uncle until she tells him everything. Amber decides then and there that she and her maid must escape before her cruel unlce marries her off to one of his cronies. So she tries to run away, but is kidnapped by the laird of the Johnstone clan in retaliation of the raid. He fears her uncle has one of his men prisoner-Amber’s friend. His clan hates her at first since she’s the enemy, and there are several parts with his leman that pissed me off, no matter how nice she is, I don’t want to see my hero sexing up his mistress while he’s thinking of the heroine. It happens several times. Then amber walks in on them, and never tells him. She wastes a lot of time being pissy and mad without telling him why. He had no clue she’d seen him. Amber also is such a rude spoiled brat to some people throughout the book that I wanted to smack her. She spends the whole book trying to run away from Krayne. No really. Even when it’s apparent she has nowhere to go and no money. Really.
Well, Krayne and Amber immediately feel lusty towards one another, which I totally felt, it was great…BUT the laird, our hero, was more cruel than I’d normally find in an Historical. Not to mention, I believe he’s in his thirties (I think he was mentioned being 35), and Amber is…wait for it…17. I know that is an appropriate age for marriage for the times, but Amber is very childish and an incredibly selfish heroine. He complains she acts like a child. SHE IS A CHILD! It feels like the author is making her childish on purpose, but I have no idea what that purpose is! It makes her unlikeable.
I understood her desire to leave Krayne…at first…but once their relationship was established, it became idiotic to leave. I mean where would she go? She thought only of herself. Always.
“She usually barged forward, merrily doing things her way, with the view that is someone didn’t like it, they could leave it.”
That was a comment the heroine thought about herself(major epiphany time!), so I was all gung-ho for her to change, or be nicer, or at the very least explain a VERY BIG HUGE SECRET to her husband, But NOOOOO, she just keeps acting like a selfish child!
A huge thing that bothered me was that Amber is constantly saying her body is a weapon. She teases men, tries to seduce her guards, and is caught doing it twice. Krayne has her learn to wield a sword…sort of . She’s too small, and the broadsword too big. So he has one specially made for her and she half-asses her attempts to learn to use it. At the end, Amber is about to be gang raped and she, instead of using her body for a weapon, snags a sword she can barely lift, all because of a promise to Krayne-that she’d never use her body as a weapon again. Okay, yay for not breaking a promise, but hello? It’s your life at stake!
And what does he do? He thinks to himself “please seduce him, you can’t lift that sword.” He actually was okay with her seducing the man, after all that…the author validates the female using her body to get her way. Pissed the feminist in me right off…and to be honest, I’m not that big of a feminist, so that’s saying something!
I just never felt that the reason Amber did what she did during the HUGE SECRET part was justified. Even after Krayne figured it out-that’s right, he figured it out…she did not confess! Not once. Even then, her reasoning was totally childish.
Other than that it was a good story, but (and this is all me personally, it might not bother anyone else) the points of views fluctuated between so many people without warning. It was mid-paragraph, then wait, who thought that? I thought this was Amber’s section, no wait it’s her uncle’s for like 3 paragraphs then back to Amber, or Krayne, or his mother, or some random guy who we heard from once. We’d have chapters from one character, then a few paragraphs from someone else, then back to the main character. I don’t mind the pov shifts if there are breaks in the paragraphing, or the storyline, but it’s just too random and all over the place for my taste. Again, not something that will bother most people, just one of my pet peeves.
So my final verdict is that it is a good historical read, but don’t expect much from the heroine, she’s a selfish and egotistical brat who thinks whatever she wants is justifiable by whatever means necessary. In fact, Amber made me drop this from a 4 star book for the plot, to a 2.5 star rating.
My favorite quotes (and this book had a lot of great quotes):
“She needed his body flush against hers, his touch caressing and stroking, she needed him inside her. The assurance that she belonged to her husband and only him.”
“Kidnapping is a national past time to these Scots and they do it for the sheer pleasure of making each other miserable.”