I'm still utterly bemused as to what on earth was going on in this novella. Upon finishing it, I actually went to the author's Amazon page to figure out where it fit in the series... to discover that it's not part of a series at all. It's a standalone. Which is really strange, because it reads like the last 25% of a full historical romance novel, which I thought might have been serialized.
The problem is that there is no beginning to this story. It picks up at the resolution of an established relationship. We have no idea where, when and under what circumstances Arianne and Marco met. Where did Arianne come from? Why was her sword so important? Why did Marco leave his life in England and change his name? This is all important stuff and we are left wondering about all of it; nothing ever gets explained.
I spend a fair bit of time reading and writing in the world of fanfiction, and this totally reads like a Jack/Elizabeth 'Pirates of the Caribbean' fanfic (especially because of her dead friend 'Young Will') with the names changed to make it 'original'. In fanfiction, the author has the luxury of not having to explain the backstory because the audience is already familiar with the source material, but you absolutely can't do that with original fiction because your readers are left shaking their heads wondering what the heck is going on.
This needs a major, major rewrite with all the backstory laid out from Arianne and Marco's first meeting onwards.
Generally I reserve one star reviews for books riddled with horrible errors or featuring appalling racism, homophobia or misogyny. Honestly, that's the only reason I'm being generous enough to give this one two.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through ReadingAlley.