Heat Factor: This is a very mild heat, closed-door romance
Character Chemistry: They have undeniable chemistry and it’s pretty clear to anyone in the room
Plot: Aurelia has delayed marriage for years because she wants to marry for love. When her father dies and she learns her disabled brother may be forced into the military to serve, Aurelia has to choose a marriage of convenience in order to protect her brother. HOWEVER–the dreamboat soldier tasked with delivering her to her elderly groom throws a huge kink in all her plans.
Overall: This book was surprisingly gripping–the path to happiness is not easy and they are both somewhat powerless. I was very entertained with this sweet read.
This book was a real change of pace for me–not only is it set in Ancient Rome, it’s also a very sweet romance.
Aurelia, after delaying marriage for years, learns that her brother could be forced into the military despite being unable to function as an adult. In order to protect him, she decides to accept an offer of marriage to the much older governor who agrees to sign a dispensation for her brother exempting him from service.
But on their way to the governor’s land, Aurelia and her soldier/protector Cassius find themselves alone and on a long and accidentally intimate journey together. It’s not a steamy book by any means; the romance is a slow build and it’s definitely more touching than it is touchy. But there’s this one scene where Cassius has to use his shield to protect Aurelia from a field of brambles, and she clings to his back while he cuts down the vines and let me just say, it’s a very vivid scene that ratchets up the romantic tension by a lot.
I can’t tell if I would have liked them to hook up–I think the idea is that Aurelia is like this pure and wholesome ideal of womanhood, and the governor’s sister is pretty clear that she’ll destroy Aurelia if she finds that she’s impure. I kind of felt that it would have been a nice gesture of “screw you” if she’d gotten together with Cassius at one point (I shan’t spoil it), but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment. It’s just that I think it might have moved Aurelia into a more powerful and independent version of herself, I guess.
Some books are just sweet and tender and hands stay where they ought to and this is one of those books! If you’re looking for something mild and engaging but not overly stressful, you’ll love this.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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