Reviewed by: Linda Tonis
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
This is a story of two people from two totally different worlds. Janel Redhu is the child of two warriors and is part of the Sword Squad. The King of Purdha, Leonelle, has died and according to the law, the youngest son is to assume the throne. The youngest son is Crispin; he is seventeen and so sickly and frail that he cannot even attend his own coronation. It is imperative that he has someone with him at all times to protect him. Janel is the one chosen for that position. Although she is the same age as Crispin, she is experienced in the ways of the world, whereas he has barely left his bed since he was born. With Purdha’s enemy, the Nord’s, constantly attacking them Janel must keep Crispin safe at all cost.
When Janel meets Crispin she is shocked by just how sick the new Vicomte is, and realizes he is the leader in name only. For months Janel lives in Crispin’s room, eating with him, protecting him and finally becoming his friend. One night on her way back from showering, Janel overhears Crispin’s brothers talking and she is convinced that they are discussing doing away with him. His mother has been sent to the tower, and Janel is the only one left to keep him safe. Purdha’s enemy, the Nords, is launching an attack and, hopefully, Crispin’s brother’s will be too busy planning a counter attack to notice when Janel and Crispin escape from the castle.
Crispin’s weakness is a hindrance in their escape, but Janel is determined to save her new sovereign no matter what it takes. Their only hope is to get to Sudelain, a neutral country, where they know they will be safe. Unfortunately, they meet up with Nord soldiers, and the outcome is not good. While trying to get Crispin to safety he is attacked by a pack of Nord hounds and falls off a cliff into the water, the only thing that surfaces is the hound. With no concern for her own life now that Crispin is dead Janel lets herself be captured with the hope that she will be killed.
Janel can’t face Crispin’s death but it is not because she failed him but there are deeper emotions at play, his death leaves her feeling an emptiness she never experienced before. Could her friendship with him have been something more?
For five long years Janel prays for a death that never comes. Torture and starvation are her constant companions. She begs for death but the Nord’s have other plans for her. When an opportunity presents itself she doesn’t hesitate in jumping off a cliff hoping to bring about her own death. But fate has something else in store for her.
Janel has suffered for years but what about Crispin, is he really dead? Could he survive a fall from a cliff in his weak condition? This is a story of love and courage. A story of a boy who would be King. A story of betrayal and neglect. More than anything it is a beautiful love story.
I loved reading about Janel and Crispin and what happens after they escape the castle. Once again Ms. Sweeney has written a beautiful story.