Title – In the Shadow of the Storm (The King’s Greatest Enemy #1)
Author – Anna Belfrage
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 396 Pages
Publication – Nov 2015
My Rating – 4/5 Stars
Adam de Guirande owes his lord, Sir Roger Mortimer, much more than loyalty. He owes Sir Roger for his life and all his worldly goods, he owes him for his beautiful wife – even if Kit is not quite the woman Sir Roger thinks she is. So when Sir Roger rises in rebellion against the king, Adam has no choice but to ride with him – no matter what the ultimate cost may be. England in 1321 is a confusing place. Edward II has been forced by his barons to exile his favourite, Hugh Despenser. The barons, led by the powerful Thomas of Lancaster, Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun, have reasons to believe they have finally tamed the king. But Edward is not about to take things lying down, and fate is a fickle mistress, favouring first one, then the other. Adam fears his lord has over-reached, but at present Adam has other matters to concern him, first and foremost his new wife, Katherine de Monmouth. His bride comes surrounded by rumours concerning her and the baron, and he hates it when his brother snickers and whispers of used goods. Kit de Courcy has the misfortune of being a perfect double of Katherine de Monmouth – which is why she finds herself coerced into wedding a man under a false name. What will Adam do when he finds out he has been duped? Domestic matters become irrelevant when the king sets out to punish his rebellious barons. The Welsh Marches explode into war, and soon Sir Roger and his men are fighting for their very lives. When hope splutters and dies, when death seems inevitable, it falls to Kit to save her man – if she can. ‘In the Shadow of the Storm’ is the first in Anna Belfrage’s new series,The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his baron, his king, and his wife.
I’m going to be 100% honest from the start of this review.. I’m not a romance fan.. it’s not my genre but I do enjoy a good historical fiction book when the romance is done right and this is what Anna Belfrage has done perfectly. Sometimes I think authors put in a sex scene just for the sake of it but when Anna has done this it brings something to the story.. makes the connection between the two main characters believable
The tale starts with the abduction of Kit..she has been sheltered her whole life but now her mother is gone no one is there to protect her and she is thrust into the life of Katherine.. unbeknown to Kit at the time that they share the same father. Kit is brought in to help when Katherine runs off from an arranged marriage..they need some to take her place
This is where we met Adam, loved his character. Loyal and brave to fault.
Mix in with this wedding a tale of politics, blackmail, deception and murder and you have one hell of a tale.
The romance the book is just the underlying story that plays out, the true story for me was about loyalty which I loved. Adam de Guirande is split in two wanting to fight for his lord whom he owes so much or to stay with Kit who has given him another purpose in life. Kit’s tale is also focuses around loyalty..the love that grows for Adam overtime bringing her to risk everything for the man she loves
For me the way these two interacted throughout the book worked well, at times both were stubborn and annoying but it made the relationship feel real rather than forced. I really enjoyed that the tale was shown from both sides and highlighted a woman’s worth back in that age when they were viewed more as property but at the same time it was great to see that love could still spark
The only thing I would have liked to see was at the beginning when Kit replaces Katherine would be more of a struggle for her. She seemed to take to the role quickly and didn’t have too many problems fooling people who Katherine met beforehand..one in a intimate way.
I won’t spoil the plot any more but seriously I really loved the tale. With rebellion afoot you know not everyone will make it out alive and there are some very interesting and manipulative characters to meet along the way. Two of the best characters are Adam’s brothers.. i’ll say no more than that 🙂
While Adam and Kit are completely fictional characters the rebellion itself is fact and this led to the perfect setting where the author could let their wonderful imagination go. The book relies more heavily on the plot than some books which focus a lot on historical detail like descriptiveness of locations and events but that helped the book flow better and the plot definitely had me hooked.. I didn’t even care where the characters were.. I just wanted to know what would happen next
This is the perfect historical fiction book if you are looking for a little less battlefield action..this tale works well without the extra bloodshed.