Review and Book Tour: Warrior's Surrender by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

Friday, 12 June 2015

Series: Standalone 
Genre: Medieval Romance 
Release Date: November 7th 2014
Source: Received as part of the book tour in exchange for an honest review
Overall Rating: 5/5 Stars 
Cover Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Synopsis: A shared secret from their past could destroy their future…
Northumbria, 1077. In the years following William the Conqueror’s harrying of the North, Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick returns to her family home after seven years in exile. But instead of returning victorious as her dead father had promised, she returns defeated by Baron Sebastian de la Croix, the Norman who rules her lands.
To save her gravely ill brother's life, Alfreya offers herself hostage to her enemy. As Alfreya gets to know her new husband, she finds he’s not the monster she feared, and their marriage of convenience soon becomes a bond of passion.
But Sebastian is a man with a secret—one that could destroy him. As a series of brutal murders haunt their nights, the man who betrayed Alfreya’s father returns claiming to be her betrothed. He has learned Sebastian’s secret and will use it to further his own ambition—using Sebastian’s own family—which will destroy Sebastian and mark him a traitor, and plunge an unprepared England into war with the Scots…
First Line: The flare of a pitch-soaked torch lit the corner of the timber long-house.

When I read historical fiction I really do tend to love it however I do not pick it up very often for reasons unknown even to me. Therefore, obviously, I haven't read very much historical fiction but I was a huge fan of Phillipa Gregory so I thought I'd give another historical fiction a try and I'm so glad I did. Carter's Warrior's Surrender vastly surpassed anything Gregory ever came up with, and that's not just because it name-dropped a few areas really close to where I live! In fact, it was by far the best book I have read in a very long time. I know reviews always say things like 'I couldn't put this book down' and I always look upon those reviews and recognise exaggeration but now I get it. I literally couldn't put it down. The moment I read the excerpt (which is below so that you can see what I mean) I was gripped, I had to read it. This is one of those books that you speed through all the while mourning how fast it is going. I wanted so much more.

The characterisation of a novel is always the most important part to me, as I know it is to many other reviewers. How can you possibly fall in love with a book if there are no love-worthy characters? It's impossible! I loved almost every character in this book, even the ones you were supposed to hate, because they were all so well developed and relatable. Alfreya, or Frey, was one of the best heroines I have come across. She managed to be both feisty and in love - at the same time. There are so many authors out there who keep their feisty heroines cold with the men in their life in order to keep their independent spirit (Katniss Everdeen comes to mind) but that is not how it has to be and Carter realised that in her portrayal of Frey. She managed to create both a tender and feisty character and that is so rare, I was very impressed. It is not often that I love the heroine of a story as much as the hero but in this case I did - Frey and Sebastian were perfect. Despite this, it was indeed Sebastian who I became most invested in, he had the typical characteristics to begin with: he was cold, guarded and witty. However, unlike most characters who fit these qualities, he had genuine reason to be - given that Frey was his enemy for a long time - and he did not keep these qualities any longer than he needed to. Sebastian, alike Frey, managed to balance his strength with his loving nature. Seriously guys, I loved these two!

The plot itself was unbelievably tense! A compromise for many authors who focus on characterisation is that they sacrifice the plot, it gets slow and uneventful a lot of the time. Once again, this was not a problem for Carter. The plot really kept me on my toes - me! The queen of working out endings in record time. From start to end the plot kept me wanting to turn the pages (aka swipe my phone screen) faster than humanly possible. I will definitely be re-reading this one, it was too good not to. As many of you know, one of my favourite series' of all time is the His Fair Assassin series and this book reminded me of it so much. Yes it lacks nuns, assassins and the god of death but in writing style and characterisation it was on par. Anyone who loved HFA like I did will absolutely love Warrior's Surrender. I can't wait to read more of Elizabeth Ellen Carter's work and I fully intend to get my hands on some more very soon. In the meantime I am praying for a sequel.

Seriously, enter the giveaway or you will really regret it!


By the light of the fire she could see the abandoned chair. To see the second chair Frey must peer around the door. 
It too was empty.
Frey frowned. Did she doze and Sebastian slipped past her unseen? She took a further step or two into the room and looked.
The bed was…
Before Frey could complete the thought, she was grabbed roughly from behind and held firmly against a man’s broad chest. A large hand covered her mouth and suppressed an involuntary scream.
The man recognised her and relaxed but did not remove his hand.
“You picked the wrong night to slit my throat while I slept, princess.”
Sebastian’s whispered voice filled her ear. He held her still for long moments before speaking.
"Are you recovered? You will not scream?”
Frey nodded and shook her head in answer to each question and she was released, her heart pumping furiously.
“Do you suggest I pick some other night then?” she said, wiping her mouth to rid the sensation of his hand. 
Sebastian ignored her barb and poured a small measure of spiced wine into his goblet. He handed it to her and watched as she drank.
“Why do you assume the worst of me?” she asked.
“Habit,” he answered, arms folded across his chest.
“Now tell me what you’re doing in my chambers while others sleep.”
“I have to speak to you.”
Sebastian’s eyebrows rose in surprise. It might have been scepticism, but Frey couldn’t be sure.
“And it couldn’t wait until morning?”
All of a sudden Frey’s courage left her and she wondered if her senses had taken leave of her too.
She was an unmarried woman, alone, late at night in the bed chamber of a man whose mere presence made her feel powerful sensations that she struggled to understand. What on earth was she doing?
She shook her head softly. 
“This was a mistake.”
As she turned to leave, Sebastian grabbed her wrist.
“It’s a mistake to not finish what you start.”

About Elizabeth:

A future with words was always on the book for Elizabeth Ellen Carter who started writing her own stories when she ran out of Nancy Drew mysteries to read when she was 10.
Using her mother’s Olivetti type writer with the italic keyboard, she spent endless school holidays making up her own stories and then using the Dewey Decimal System to arrange and categorize her bookshelf. Somewhere around the age of 13 she determined to become a journalist and at 17 was awarded a cadetship to the Gold Coast Bulletin. She covered news, council, education, health but had the most fun as the paper’s entertainment and features reporter covering film, TV
and music. Best of all she met her husband there and together they started a small award-winning media, marketing and advertising agency and now she works as marketing manager for an international organic skin care company. In 2012, Elizabeth also returned to the keyboard to write
stories (and laptops are so much better than manual typewriters). Her debut, Moonstone Obsession  was shortlisted for the 2013 Romance Writers Of Australia’s Emerald Awards for unpublished

1 People dared to comment.:

Avril Tremayne said...

Medieval is one of my favourite historical romance periods, and this looks like an absolute cracker. I'll be adding this to my reading list.

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