When I first picked this up, I was really looking forward to it, since I do love a romance set in something different from the regency era. And I have just enjoyed Sara Bennett's books in the past. My main concern was I had issues with the heroine...I just never liked her much through most of it, the hero was way more approachable and I found I was drawn to him.
Briar and her two sisters have been on her own since their father was claimed to be a traitor. Briar has done everything possible to protect her family. She has had to sacrifice herself and has only come out burned. She doesn't trust any man. One night while singing in a Hall, she meets Ivo de Vessey whom she believes at first is the one responsible for their circumstances. So her plan is to seduce him, and then when he trusts her, to hurt him as much as he has hurt her family. After a surprisingly sensual night together, she learns that he is not who she thought. She feels at a loss, now having caught the attention of a gentle knight who is enamored with her. Ivo is a disgraced knight, by no fault of his own, but his brother who despises him. Ivo has gone through the world and is afraid of losing his heart to another woman, until he meets Briar, who stirs his blood and makes him believe that they could have a chance, if only Briar would learn to trust in their love.
Ivo is one of those knights that you want by your side. Even though he hasn't has the best of luck, he has some powerful friends that know how loyal and trustworthy he is. I really enjoyed what strong character he had. He was so patient with Briar, when I wanted to string her up a tree at times and throw her into the ocean. Ivo was very romantic and never took Briar too literally, he seemed to understand her fears and it was interesting seeing his manner with her. Ivo won me over from the first few chapters. Now Briar, I had a difficulty with. I could never get to the point where I liked her. She seemed to take away much from the story. I think it could have been better if Briar hadn't been so bitter and offended at every turn. No matter what Ivo did or said, it was a major fight for her. She was very confrontary, and always looking for a fight at times. Frankly she was annoying and I was constantly frustrated with this character. I admired Ivo for his patience with her.
Even though this is my least favorite from this author, I do want to read the first two in the series, since we see one of Ivo's friends (his is the first book in the series), and I loved how he and his wife have a positive involvement. I found that despite me not liking the heroine in any way, and even though she took a major enjoyment of the story, there were other aspects of the story that were enjoyable. I really liked how the plot plays out, and the way there is a bit of a mystery and a danger aspect to the story that only adds to it. A story that doesn't exactly stir you up, but is one that you can enjoy at times.