Warrior’s Surrender by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

warriors surrender

A shared secret from their past could destroy their future…

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…

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Publisher and Release Date:Etopia Press, November 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Northumbria, England – 1077
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by: Claudia

Warrior’s Surrender is the first book I have read by this author, and I was impressed by her world-building and with the storyline. Equal parts romance and action, the story also provides a very detailed picture of life of the period. We get a lot of information on clothing, food, customs and rituals which is skillfully woven into the story of Sebastian and Alfreya (Frey).

Sebastian de la Croix is a powerful leader of men, a just and merciful man who holds the loyalty of his own men and the people he inherited through conquest. He has his own fears and secrets but is always fair and determined to do what is right. He is a strong character who is not afraid to allow the people around him to develop and exercise their strength and to make the most of their lives – which gains him the devotion of his people. He also understands Alfreya’s character and her need for time and understanding, which gains him her love.

Both of them together are an interesting and enchanting combination as they rival each other in passion and sense of loyalty and honor.

Of course there is also a villain in the person of Drefan, a well-connected, well-funded rebel with few scruples, who uses everything and everyone to get what he wants; as well as some interesting secondary characters who are not all impressed with the development of the relationship between Sebastian and Frey. I especially loved Dom, the honest priest, who is not afraid to speak his mind.

The book is well written and we get to know the two principals well, Frey especially. Her gradual coming to know Sebastian leads to her falling in love with him, and this part of the story is very engaging. The problem, however is that the reader sees very little from Sebastian’s PoV. Ms Carter can clearly write with emotion and intensity, but this is not applied to Sebastian’s side of the story, which is a disappointment. At one point in the book, Sebastian and Frey are forced to spend an extended period of time apart. During almost the whole of that time, we are in Frey’s PoV, seeing her anguish and unhappiness, but we get almost nothing from Sebastian’s PoV; and the eventual resolution to the situation is dealt with in just a couple of sentences. This could have been a very emotionally intense part of the story, but as it is, it falls completely flat and is a big disappointment.

I also got the impression that Ms Carter was given a strict instruction as to page-count, because the final quarter of the story feels rushed and I felt cheated out of an ending that was as well-written as the rest of the book.

Warrior’s Surrender is a passionate story about honor, chivalry and love, set in tumultuous times; and although I have some misgivings about some parts of it, I would certainly read more books by this author.

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