This was my first Sandra Lake book, I was afraid that not reading the first two books in the series would be a problem but nope. The previous characters are there but their stories are each stand-alone, like this one. I had a hard time getting into the story, not to any fault of the author or story I was preoccupied at the time and it couldn’t keep my attention, but once I was able to get into the meat of the story I was hooked. This book takes place during a time in the Scandinavian countries of civil war all the ruling Kings and Jarls were constantly fighting and making peace treaties and then finding something to go to war again. I love how Sovia was educated and smart enough to realize this.
Sovia is merely a pawn in her father’s political power plays. When she accidentally seduces the wrong brother her father, the manipulative bastard he is, quickly changes tactics from marrying Sovia to the oldest to blackmailing them into an agreement. Hök fell in love with Sovia at first sight and when he learned her original intent he was heartbroken. Seven years later Sovia is accused of treason and is going to be put to death. Hök can’t let her die and does the only thing he can think of he offers to marry her and he does. Sovia is her father’s only daughter and she is the granddaughter of a Norwegian royalty and has a great land holding and Sovia only wants to go back home. Hök uses this information and holds it over her head. Sovia will do everything in her power to get back home.
Sovia is a hard character to like at the start but you quickly realize the situation she has been forced into. Hök you feel sorry for but he really shows just how fine the line is between love and hate really is. The harder he tries to show Sovia that he hates her is really just much he still loves her. That’s one thing I had to keep reminding myself was that he was just posturing, because through three fourths of the book he’s an ass and it seems like a sudden turn around when he finally does start to show his true emotion but he always loved her he just didn’t want to let himself love her again. The political manipulations doesn’t stop with Hök’s marriage it only complicates matters when the Rus that they were previously fighting makes a play for Sovia and no way is Hök or his family going to give in easily.
Overall, the ending really payed off. It’s a historical drama romance, very emotional. You really want to hate Hök throughout most of the book.
**ARC provided by Publisher**