Protected by The Beast
Undone by the man
Racing cross-country pursued by danger, widow Lady Ellena Swein isn’t pleased to be taken back to her father’s castle. But with his knight Sir Braedan Leofric, also known as The Beast, as her captor, she has little choice! Ellena is surprised by his honourable and protective nature, even if she shouldn’t trust him. And when all seems to conspire against them, Braedan’s secret could either extinguish the spark between them or make it burn brighter.
Medieval romance is an under-served genre, and one I thoroughly enjoy, so I opened this new one with a pleasurable sense of anticipation. And a lot of things in it are well-done; Ellena’s travelling back to her father’s home under the guard of his most trusted warrior, Braeden, after being widowed leaves her a wealthy marriage prize, and the sparks flying between the two make this a very believable relationship. Ellena’s frustration with being treated only as a commodity was tangible and her rage with a persistent (and dangerous) suitor entirely justified.
Where this story fell down for me was the extreme vagueness of it all. When, exactly, was this supposed to be set? And where? ‘The king’ is mentioned, but there’s no identification beyond that, which means I couldn’t even pin it down to a century. And I’m also pretty sure there weren’t any earls in England at ANY point (where I THINK this is supposed to be set) where it took more than ten days on horseback to travel from one end of their lands to another. Plus, the concept of Ellena being ‘compromised’ to the point where she’d have to marry Braeden after spending a few days alone with him was so nonsensical I laughed. That’s a Regency/Victorian era concept, and when the author had spent so much of the book building up that at least one man was desperate to marry Ellena because of the property he’d gain as a consequence it made no sense whatsoever. A soldier of Braeden’s rank might as well have been a guard dog for all the consideration a high-ranking, power-hungry lord would have given his being alone with Ellena - who was a widow, with no virginity to prize.
I felt a little too much emphasis was placed on the marital abuse Ellena suffered at the hands of her first husband, to the extent that it needs a significant trigger warning. It’s brought up repeatedly in more detail than I really felt comfortable with, and then she just kind of… forgets about it when Braeden kisses her a few times? That’s really not how this works.
Honestly I think there’s a good story in here, but it needed a stern editor to pin the author down to a specific time period and place and then to cut the anachronisms which had crept in. At the moment this honestly reads more like a Fantasyland Romance than a real medieval romance, and that’s a shame, because I did like Ellena and Braeden and wanted to buy into their relationship.
I’m going to give this three stars. I’d read more by this author, but I’d hope they pinned their time period down a whole lot more specifically and stuck to it.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.
Author Bio – Ella Matthews lives and works in beautiful South Wales. When not thinking about handsome heroes she can be found walking along the coast with her husband and their two children (probably still thinking about heroes but at least pretending to be interested in everyone else).
Social Media Links – Twitter @ellamattauthor,