Under the Warrior's Protection by Ella Matthews
After a traumatic adolescence, all Katherine Leofric wants is peace and stability, and to see her beloved younger sister Linota comfortably settled. With their guardian suggesting a match between Linota and Jarin, Earl of Borwyn, Katherine isn’t keen - since she just overhead the earl discussing his distaste for the idea of an alliance with her family! Under the earl’s escort as they travel, Katherine is thrown into his company when they are attacked and Linota is abducted. The earl must marry Linota to preserve her reputation, but Katherine is beginning to wish things could be otherwise.
Jarin’s a difficult man to get to know. Youngest son of a father who considered him weak, he inherited an earldom in trouble, and it’s been plagued by issues since - including, he discovers, sabotage. The hefty dowry offered for a suitor for one of the Leofric daughters is tempting, but it’s not pretty Linota he finds himself attracted to, but Katherine, she of the disconcertingly independent streak.
Couple On The Run Together is always an interesting trope, and it’s done nicely here as Jarin and Katherine are separated from their escort and forced to travel together, hiding from their enemies for several days. This gives them the opportunity to get to know each other, revisiting and revising their preconceptions and falling for each other.
While I believed in the romance between the two and the sabotage plot hung together pretty nicely, there were a couple of things I really didn’t get, principally that absolutely nothing was done about Katherine’s abuse at her mother’s hands. It was brought up, made quite a lot of because of the physical pain she was in, and then… nothing. We never even found out what actually happened to her mother, or why neither Katherine’s guardian nor her brother had ever intervened, and to be honest I didn’t like that because Katherine’s mother was set up as an antagonist from the beginning - the book literally starts with the sisters running away from her - and it was never resolved.
Overall a good romance but there were a few things which didn’t quite sit for me; I honestly didn’t think Katherine’s background was properly addressed and it did matter. Four stars.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via Rachel’s Random Resources.