Raul de Porcelos, a dedicated Knight Templar, is duty bound to bring orphaned Irish Princess Cahira O’Donnell to wed the Earl of Orkney, Raul’s lord. But Cahira has a mind of her own and resists the handsome Templar, refusing to relinquish the castle and lands that her family died to protect.
Thrown together by fate, they come to know each other and a forbidden passion is kindled. Who will be the first to surrender to desire, the warrior-princess or the warrior-monk?
Publisher and Release Date: The Wild Rose Press, November 2013
Time and Setting: High Middle Ages, Ireland
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars
Review by Susan
The Princess and the Templar by Hebby Roman takes place during a transitional period in European history between the High and Late Middle Ages. During this time, King Edward I who is the King of England, the Lord of Ireland, and dubbed the Hammer of the Scots, is fighting the Scottish Highlanders while simultaneously subjugating the Irish. Meanwhile King Philip IV of France, who owes money to the Order of the Knights Templar, pressures Pope Clement V to disband the Order and place the Templars under arrest, torturing them and burning many of them at the stake. Roman portrays all these events through her characters in the story, a Knight Templar, an Irish Princess, and a Scottish Earl at war with the English.
Raul de Porcelos is the Spanish-born Knight Templar set on a mission for his liege lord William Sinclair, to the Earl of Scotland’s Orkney Islands. Raul is given the task of escorting Cahira O’Donnell, an Irish Princess, to Sinclair. The earl has forged a betrothal with the Princess whose family has died leaving the lands and castle she inherited up for grabs. Roman portrays Cahira as a warrior-princess, a Xena-type woman who can wield a sword as nimbly and accurately as an Olympic champion with an impulsive nature that makes her leap before she looks. She has no desire to marry Sinclair and resists Raul’s attempts to deliver her to the earl. There is a constant tug-of-war going on between Raul and Cahira, making the two recognize qualities in each other that they find admirable and arousing.
Raul’s standards of chivalry make him a dreamy hero. Readers are continually reminded of the remorse he feels for the killing of innocents people during the Crusades and his need to make amends for his sins. The depth of his contrition makes Raul a passionate character that opens the audience’s consciousness about themselves and those around them. The author brings out a human quality in Raul that allows people to become enamored of him. He has the strength of a superhero and the compassion of a saint.
Hebby Roman’s descriptions of the period are vivid, giving readers a sense of the social and political climate influencing the plotline and actions of the characters. The story oscillates between putting Cahira with her love, Raul, or her predator, Sinclair. The suspense is somewhat redundant as the reader knows which way Cahira’s story should end, but her path keeps being diverted to the point that the obstacles feel contrived. The dialogue has a natural flow and the moments of reflection and introspection by the characters are compelling. Roman delves into Medieval history through her characters, showing the turmoil and relentless desire for happiness.