Emma's Reviews > The Warrior's Bride Prize

The Warrior's Bride Prize by Jenni Fletcher
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really liked it

Livia Valeria is travelling north to Coria, to be married to Lucius Scaevola, whom she has never met, but is in debt to her half-brother, Tarquinus. She is also harbouring a long held ambition to see Hadrians Wall, or rather the other side of it, as, unbeknown to her intended husband, Livia is actually half-Caledonian.
Admittedly, we don’t really meet Lucius in great detail, but, needless to say, he appears enough to establish that he is not a nice man (apparently, at the age of twenty four, Livia is too old, and, no one thought to tell him that she is also mother to a four year old daughter.) Thankfully, also present is the hero of the story, Marius Varro who feels an instant attraction to Livia (the feeling is mutual; indeed, Livia rather hopes Marius is her intended husband when she first meets him), and, when Scaevola drunkenly stakes Livia as the prize in a game of tabula, Marius finds himself betrothed, and also provides Livia with an escape route from Tarquinus’s plan - not before she gets chance to empty a glass of wine over Scaevola’s head though!
Set in Roman Britain against the backdrop of a threatened Caledonian rebellion, the story gathers pace as Livia gets her much longed for glimpse of the wall, and Marius navigates his change of circumstances as he realises that perhaps the promotion he has always aimed for is not worth as much as making his new wife happy.
Livia and Marius are well created characters who have a believable relationship founded on mutual attraction, but are thrown together in unusual circumstances. Indeed, Jenni Fletcher should be praised for not making this a regular marriage of convenience story where hate turns to love, but rather allowing Livia to escape an unsuitable marriage and seek to find happiness with a more suitable man, and the story is delightful as we follow this journey, all the while wondering when Livia’s secrets will come to the fore.
The action sequences as the threatened rebellion begins are well described, and the reader is transported to the Roman battlefields as Marius fights to protect Roman rule. If you are familiar with Hadrians Wall, the talk of mile castles is quite interesting as you are able to imagine what the wall would have been like at the time. Whilst the author does not claim the rebellion described to be an actual event (there is a detailed historical note at the beginning of the book), the setting has obviously been well researched, and allows for the backdrop of a genuine threat from the Caledonians as the story progresses.
Without spoiling the story, Livia’s dilemma about her background is obviously an important factor in the plot, as is Marius coming to terms with his own history, however, given the two genuinely care about each other, you really do root for a happy ending for them when the truth inevitably emerges.
The supporting characters are also well written and add depth to the story, and you do wonder whether Scaevola and Tarquinus have any redeeming features that would make them more likeable, however, it is Marius and Livia who take you on a memorable journey of choosing what is more important: love or duty as the author leads us towards the end of the book.
Enjoyable with a healthy dose of romance, this books makes for good reading as a piece of historical fiction, and provides a good insight into life in Roman times.
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Reading Progress

September 9, 2018 – Started Reading
September 9, 2018 – Shelved
September 9, 2018 –
page 35
September 12, 2018 –
page 49
September 15, 2018 –
page 103
September 18, 2018 – Finished Reading

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