Monday, March 24, 2014

A King Ensnared by J.R. Tomlin

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Read: March 17, 2014

On the dangerous stage of medieval Scotland, one man--in an English dungeon--stands between the Scots and anarchy. Robert III, King of the Scots, is dead, and Scotland in 1406 is balanced on a knife’s edge. As he eyes the throne, King Robert’s ruthless half-brother, the Duke of Albany, has already murdered one prince and readies to kill young James Stewart, prince and heir to the crown. James flees Scotland and his murderous uncle. Captured and imprisoned by the English, he grows to be a man of contradictions, a lover yet a knight, a dreamer yet fiercely driven. Hardened by his years in the Tower of London and haunted by his brother’s brutal murder, James is determined to recover his crown and end his uncle's misrule. But the only way may be to betray Scotland and everything he believes in.

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I didn't have many expectations going into J.R. Tomlin's A King Ensnared. This being my first experience with her work, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into, but looking back on the book I can I honestly say I was somewhat surprised by this piece. 

First off, and I'm grateful for this since it's a pet peeve of mine, Tomlin doesn't overwhelm her readers with an overabundance of political exposition. Those familiar with the facts don't have to wade through exaggerated accounts and those new to the material won’t feel like they're drowning in facts. She struck a really nice balance which is something I really appreciated considering the turmoil against which the story takes place

James himself is an interesting character. Not to put too fine a point on it or make comparison to a grossly inaccurate movie, but he's something of a warrior poet. There is an intensity about him, a drive to obtain both his freedom and his crown, but there is another side to him as well, softer endearing qualities that really round out his personality and endear him to the reader.

The romantic story line was not expected but again, I think it played well within the narrative. To be fair I've been reading a bit of heavy romance of late so the observation isn't entirely unbiased, but I really liked how Tomlin developed the emotional attachment between James and Joan. 

Well-researched and pleasantly entertaining, I enjoyed the time I spent with this piece and look forward to future installments. 

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"Sanctus Michael Archangelus te vigilet, et te custodiet ab omni perculo, et inimicos tuos ponet scabellum pedum tuorum." The hand fell on Jame's shoulder and squeezed. "Go wi' God, my prince. The saint protect and shield you whilst you and gone from us."
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Check out all the stops on J.R. Tomlin's A King Ensnared VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR

Monday, March 24
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Spotlight & Giveaway at HF Book Muse-News
Tuesday, March 25
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, March 26
Review at Historical Tapestry
Review at Historical Fiction Obsession
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, March 27
Review at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Friday, March 28
Interview at Confessions of an Avid Reader
Guest Post & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

...Tomlin doesn't overwhelm her readers with an overabundance of political exposition.

Great observation! I'm with you, Erin.

And isn't that the challenge for the writer of historical fiction? To know a lot, but to but allow facts to seep into the narrative instead of overtaking it.

Oh, how I'd love to show off my research! But as you observe, so often it's fatal to good storytelling.

Isn't it funny how (in real life) we are consumed, not with political events, but with what's going on in our personal lives? Larger issues receive only a passing glance, like background noise.

Thanks for the review.