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FEARLESS: A Medieval Romance (Age of Conquest Book 2) Kindle Edition
|Length: 466 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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- Book 2 of 5 in AGE OF CONQUEST
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- Publication Date : April 23, 2019
- File Size : 5166 KB
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print Length : 466 pages
- Publisher : Tamara Leigh (April 23, 2019)
- Language: : English
- ASIN : B07PDB6HQQ
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Simultaneous Device Usage : Unlimited
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 1942326408
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #84,352 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Sweeping story, the romance blooms organically and realistically rather than the trope of forced marriage, kidnapping, grudgingly falling in love. Flawed, but great characters. H/h shrug the typical, gritty warrior/plucky woman roles and there's a lot more nuance and complexity to their choices. The attraction is less with the eyes and more with the heart...which is also refreshing. PG-13 clean read with expected, time appropriate violence, but not gratuitous.
Novel length review for long time fans of the author and people who like more detail (spoiler free):
I have read all of Tamara Leigh's books (most of them a lot more than once), so there were things I appreciated in Fearless because I'm familiar with the canon in the other books as well as her writing style in general. Ms. Leigh does make a disclaimer at the front of the book that certain parts of the story are going to feel like a retread of Merciless. There were some complaints regarding the Baron of Blackwood for the same reason, myself included. Of the 3 books in the feud series, it was the hardest to get into because there was no suspense. Happy to report, I didn't struggle with the same issues in Fearless. In fact, I really loved it.
My biggest struggle with Merciless (book 1 in this series) is that i felt like the novel was juggling too many loose threads, and you didn't get a feel for the relationship between H/h. Having read book 2, I understand a lot better why Ms. Leigh set the books up this way. It would be hard to understand the events of Fearless without first knowing about Merciless. The downside, of course, that it almost feels like Cyr/Aefled were more of a vehicle to get Guarin/Hawissa together rather than their own, stand alone characters. The novel did start off a little slowly for me because I was waiting for things to get moving past Hastings, but once it did, I was hooked. I legitimately had no idea how these two crazy kids were gonna eventually go riding off into the sunset.
Having read and re-read, and then re-re-read the Age of Faith series, the easter eggs and nods to the books are awesome. If you pay close to attention to some key characters' names, you'll see hints of future Wulfriths. You'll find out where "lessons" come from, the origin of the "Wulfrith dagger," "unworthy," and other things you see later come out of the mouths of heroes in the Age of Faith series. I didn't struggle with the dialogue like in Book 1, just felt a few pieces of talking were more historical exposition dump to explain plot choices, but that's honestly just a nitpick. I have a feeling that Merciless will actually be an easier read now that Fearless has explained some things that didn't quite come together for me as a standalone.
If you don't read Merciless, some things in Fearless won't make sense, but not enough to ruin the story. It actually makes me want to go back and re-read, so kudos to the author for that. I don't know that H/h went through your typical character arc with the big "aha" revelation and change, only that their paths converged at a time when both were stretched to the limits of their faith and of themselves and the two stories became one (literally and figuratively). Definitely one to read and re-read.
Guarin D'Argent is one of my favourite heroes, even among the many worthy knights and barons written by Tamara Leigh. The reason is not only his above actions, but also his willingness to understand the pain and grief of the Saxons even while they spend their anger in beating him; his willingness to train the weak, even the women; his keeping his control over his anger and keeping his faith even during his lengthy captivity and repeated humiliation and torture, and his ready forgiveness. I was very sorry for Hawisa for being in a difficult situation where as a leader, she had to do things against her conscience (though I didn't quite agree with her at some of them) and make decisions against her love for Guarin to keep her loyalty to her people and the Saxon cause. I liked that she wasn't willing to sacrifice her honor in sinking to fanatic evilness or murder. The one thing I disliked was that Hawisa was unaware and powerless to stop most of Guarin's suffering - repeatedly so. However, I accept this is the only way for this situation to work, to really show Guarin's mettle without making Hawisa directly responsible.
I really liked how aspects of a former book in the same setting (Lady of Conquest) were worked into this one seamlessly. Other reviewers mention that some of the plot is a repeat/retelling of events already told in Book 1 (Merciless). I have read that book, but quite a long time ago, and in this setting, I felt the amount of repeated material was not wrong or jarring. All of it was explained from different point of view characters, from aspects that had remained in the background in the first narrative, so it did not feel repetitive to me - though it is likely different for each reader.
The romance itself was not the most prominent thread in this wonderful Medieval story, it was sort of natural that those two shining honorable characters were drawn together and fight together even while standing on opposite sides. Their union was even so quite fulfilling and rewarding in the lovely and romantic ending.
I can't wait to see more of the D'Argent clan and their worthy partners in future books of the series!
Top reviews from other countries
What I love most about Tamara Leigh’s medieval novels is that they’re neither medieval-lite nor pseudo-medieval. Rather than being a story placed into a medieval setting, it is the medieval setting that has birthed this story—more specifically, the Battle of Hastings and the years of unrest that follow. Not only does she plumb the depths of that unrest in this novel, but in Hawisa and Gaurin’s story, she creates a nearly-impossible tangle of conflicting loyalties, sympathies, and desires that thrilled me to the fingertips. Enemies-to-lover is a favourite trope of mine, and this is about as good as it gets!
In Guarin, Tamara Leigh has created a hero whose physical and mental strength captivates even as his situation threatens to strip him of both. She also excels at creating heroines who are strong and intelligent, yet who also retain authentic femininity. I loved the conversation between Hawisa and Sir Maël towards the end of the novel, when he puzzles over two of his cousins falling prey to the charms of Saxon women:
Sir Maël: “What is it about the women of England that so ensnares, especially with your warrior’s ways that ought not appeal in the absence of soft and sweet?”
Hawisa: “Perhaps the blood of long gone shield maidens yet courses our veins—the determined, hard, and fierce appearing when it is not enough for our men to defend family, home, and country. . . . But you are wrong to believe there is no soft and sweet when armor and weapons are shed, Sir Maël. For the right man.”
See what I mean? And it’s not just what is said, but the WAY it is said—something that is true of so much of this novel.
And I mustn’t forget the growing regard between Guarin and Hawisa and the circumstances under which it flourishes. For many authors, a situation where one character is held in the captivity of another would rely on physical attraction to carry the romantic storyline, but Tamara Leigh makes it so much richer and more complex than that. And thus, so much more satisfying.
In closing, it’s worth mentioning that the nature of this series means that the stories overlap. The author notes at the beginning of the book that there will be some repetition of scenes that appear in previous books, and there was even a pivotal scene from an earlier novel, Lady of Conquest, as well. These scenes are all presented from a different perspective than in previous books, and I loved getting the different angles and even filling in some blanks that were previously unknown. But most of all, I LOVED having the huge blank that was Guarin and Hawisa’s story filled in. Now if only I didn’t have to wait so long for Dougray’s story. It promises to be another great one!
Isa: Based on her portrayal in book 1, she came across as mean and unforgiving and I was hoping book 2 would do more to remedy that but it was not to be. I also found that as a strong female lead, she spent too much time contemplating and not acting- this means I had no qualms skipping parts about her as I knew these thoughts would never see the light of day
Guarin: as much as he is displayed as a chivalrous character, I found some of his decisions questionable and I found it hard to understand his ‘love’ for Isa given that he spends most of the book in captivity. I could only think ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ every time he thought fondly of her.
I hope book 3 moves on from the ‘recap’ premise and gives some more insight into the future of all characters involved.