Honor and Roses (Swordcross Knights Series) by Elizabeth Cole
Overview by Amazon:
The knight Alric of Hawksmere has endured years of war and survived dozens of battles in the service of the king. A new challenge awaits him when he returns home to renew his bond with a childhood friend. Alric instead discovers she is now a spirited woman of rare beauty whose kiss makes his blood burn. But the lady Cecily de Vere has been offered in marriage to another man, and Alric’s duty is to escort her to the wedding.
Cecily wants to behave as a proper lady. But she yearns for her childhood flame and knows he shares the same desire. When a sudden twist of fortune puts Cecily in mortal danger, Alric takes an unimaginable risk to rescue her. Left alone in the wild, Alric and Cecily must make a choice that will change their lives forever.
Elizabeth Cole is a great author! She came to my attention with her series, Secrets of the Zodiac. I really enjoyed the series, so when Elizabeth announced she had a new series starting, I was very interested in seeing what she had started. I did a Q & A with Elizabeth a few weeks ago and it made me even more excited to read the book!
Honor and Roses is the first book of a medieval series. The story is full of great historical information, if that is important to you in a book. I find the lives of the wealthy and servant class to be so interesting. The class structure is important to the story as Alric is a Knight that serves Cecily’s family. While he has the distinction of being a Knight, he is really another vassal to the Lord. I guess I didn’t realize that a Knight was so constrained in his freedom and choices. In some aspects, this book reminded me of the movie, First Knight. A Knight in love with the lady who can never be his.
I’ll get to the romance between Alric and Cecily in a moment, but first I want to continue with the politics of the day. Cecily has been betrothed to a Northern Lord. Alric and the other Knights are to take her to him for the wedding. This is after Alric and his fellow soldiers have returned after five years of fighting for King Steven. This is a time when loyalties are shifting like quick sand and it’s challenging to know who is a loyalist and who is engaging in treason. All is not well in Alric’s circle, as his closest friend is acting suspicious as well as others in the castle. While Alric wants to be with Cecily, he is honour bound to protect her and deliver her to the wedding. What could possibly go wrong?
A lot! Cecily has always harboured a crush on Alric. Now that he has returned to her home, she is excited to spend time with him and the relationship between the two changes from friends to longing glances and a few kisses. Alric is very aware that he can’t have Cecily. She is sheltered enough that she harbours hopes they can be together, until she finds out that she has been betrothed.
I really liked the character Alric. He is full on honour and strength. Exactly what you would want in a medieval Knight. He knows that it is wrong to want Cecily, but he truly can’t help himself as he loves her. Through that love he seeks to protect her. When Cecily is in danger, he does what he can to help her. Cecily may have been sheltered in the home she shares with her indifferent Uncle, but she is smart and strong. I think people had to be strong in those days otherwise they wouldn’t survive the harsh living.
This book is full of twists and turns. I never saw the big reveal coming – it was so surprising! I did know that Alric and Cecily would have a happily ever after, but it was difficult to see how it would come about. The social hierarchy, her betrothal, betrayal and greed all play a part in bringing them together, yet also keeping them apart.
This is a great start to a new series and I really enjoyed the medieval setting! Can’t wait for the next book!