Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review: The King's Man (Guardians of the Crown #2) by Alison Stuart

Book coverThe King's Man (Guardians of the Crown #2) by Alison Stuart
Purchase link: Amazon

My rating: star star star starstar

Heat rating: Flame  Flame

The second in a tantalising trilogy from award-winning author Alison Stuart, about warriors, the wounds they carry and the women that help them heal.

London 1654: Kit Lovell is one of the King’s men, a disillusioned Royalist who passes his time cheating at cards, living off his wealthy and attractive mistress and plotting the death of Oliver Cromwell.

Penniless and friendless, Thamsine Granville has lost everything.  Terrified, in pain and alone, she hurls a piece of brick at the coach of Oliver Cromwell and earns herself an immediate death sentence. Only the quick thinking of a stranger saves her.

Far from the bored, benevolent rescuer that he seems, Kit plunges Thamsine into his world of espionage and betrayal – a world that has no room for falling in love.

Torn between Thamsine and loyalty to his master and King, Kit’s carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. He must make one last desperate gamble – the cost of which might be his life.

This book is a reflection of the time it was set it. It is full of turmoil, tragedy, and heartbreak. It is at times poignant, at times intense and at times heart wrenching.

This reads more like a historical fiction with touches of romance (enough to make my romantic heart glad) then a historical romance but it is brilliantly written and thoughtfully presented.

The English Civil War is a terrible time in England's history, where brother turned against brother, neighbours sold each other out and friends became enemies. This is the setting we find Kit and Thamsine in, thrust in a play beyond their control, where betrayals were common and trust was a precious and often lost commodity.

Kit is everything the book says he is - a scoundrel, a rogue and a charmer, but he also has a secret agenda and is beholden to a very powerful man, unable to control the ebbs and flows of his own life. We see Kit struggle with his integrity as he dances to a puppet master's tune and ache for him as he tries without success to do what is right, living with his conscience and believing that he is trading his integrity for the life of a loved one. He suffers so much throughout this story and my heart breaks for him as tragedy after tragedy befalls him. At the core of it, he is a good man, with strong morals and an upright sense of honor. It drives him to do the things he does even if that does not keep the nightmares at bay.

I am in awe of Thamsine. She is thrust into a world where betrayal is a common currency and she has no one to trust. The one person she does choose to trust betrays her and sets her on a path much like Kit's. Thamsine is a survivor. She's strong and she has hope. While she finds herself in dire circumstances, driven by desperation, she does what she can to survive. In fact, she's so strong, she makes my teeth ache. I could never be the person she is, to have endured all she endured, suffered what she suffered and still stay the caring, compassionate person she is.

I don't normally mention the villain of the story, but Morton was a very villainous villain. He was evil to the core and deserved everything he got for all the pain and suffering he inflicted. Ms Stuart did a great job painting him with a very black brush. He had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.

Ms Stuart has once again managed to bring the English Civil War to life in this story and I look forward to the next in the series. I'm certain it will be another stunning read.

View all my reviews

Other books in the series


About the author

auAlison Stuart is an award winning Australian writer of cross genre historicals with heart. Whether duelling with dashing cavaliers or waywards ghosts, her books provide a reader with a meaty plot and characters who have to strive against adversity, always with the promise of happiness together. Alison is a lapsed lawyer who has worked in the military and fire service, which may explain a predisposition to soldier heroes. She lives with her own personal hero and two needy cats and likes nothing more than a stiff gin and tonic and a walk along the sea front of her home town.

Author links: Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads

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