Title: The Lion and the Crow (2nd Edition)
Author: Eli Easton
Genre: Historical (Medieval England)
Length: Novella (144 pages)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 19th, 2015)
Heat Level: Low
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts
Blurb: In medieval England, duty is everything, person honour is more valued than life itself and homosexuality is not tolerated by the church or society.
Sir Christian Brandon was raised in a household where he was hated for his unusual beauty and for his parentage. Being smaller than his six brutish half-brothers are, he learned to survive by using his wits and his gift for strategy, earning him the nickname the Crow.
Sir William Corbett, a large and fierce warrior known as the Lion, has pushed his unnatural desires down all his life. He’s determined to live up to his own ideal of gallant knight. When he takes up a quest to rescue his sister from her abusive lord of a husband, he’s forced to enlist the help of Sir Christian.
It’s a partnership that will test every strand of moral fibre, and, eventually, his understanding of the meaning of duty, honour, and love.
Published by M/M Romance Group at Goodreads, 2013
Product Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5961
Review: This is not your usual historical romance. Sure, it has all the elements of one (hunky knights, noblemen, damsels in distress, cunning plans, archery and swordplay – the kind with metal weapons), but the way the story was told meant that it didn’t come out exactly like “the rest”. In addition, yes, it also had some tender love scenes and some grittier scenes. I won’t tell you at which point, but yes, I did find myself crying.
William sees Christian, a young man who excels in just about everything. He is known as the Crow because he has learnt to retreat is how to survive in a hostile family of older brothers. William is desperate to help his much beloved sister out an abusive marriage and in the end it is Christian’s help and strategy that gets him closer to his goals. Both these guys are knights in shining armour – just not to each other, which I thought was pretty cool.
Christian starts off as almost the damsel in distress but as he learns more and more about his character, we know he is not. He isn’t naive either, which William assumed (Christians account of a confession he made probably highlights this point the best). William is a very loving and caring brother and his family has had its own fair share of tragedy, which is why he needs to get his sister and nieces out of a bad situation.
He is also the epitome of a noble knight, he is muscle-bound, strong, and handsome and has a sense of honour you think couldn’t happen in real life. However, it is quickly evident that their positions among the peerage are what leads them to do what they do.
I think what I admired most was the lack of angst in this book. These guys knew that in their society, they were morally wrong but they just got on with doing what needed to be done as well as exploring their attraction. As I said, both these guys are nobles, but they aren’t the type that can abuse any sort of power and damn the consequences.
These guys even spoke out their sins and pushing away their urges, but in the end, a minor character tells them, there are different kinds of love and the love they have is the best kind of love. It is a wonderful moment where our heroes can come to terms with things before the happily ever after-type of thing. Ultimately, they know society would not see them so kindly, this point is thankfully not over killed.
In saying all that, the journey William and Christian take together, with the sexual tension hanging between, them is great because we do see these characters change – or how we see them is change. Not only in how they interact with each other but how they, individually in their minds, reminisce of their respective pasts, we see who they are and where they came from.
Final note: the epilogue. In a word, it’s great. I loved it because of what it told me, yet at the same time I found myself questioning “why?” I won’t say anymore so I don’t ruin the surprise. Well written, loved the historical context and both characters are just more than the average earl, duke, or knight.
* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through http://mmgoodbookreviews.wordpress.com *