Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Commander's Desire by Jennette Green

TITLE: The Commander’s Desire
AUTHOR: Jennette Green
PUBLISHER: Wild Rose Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 83k)
GENRE: Historical romance
COST: $6.00

Their kingdoms have been warring for years. So when Elwytha’s brother the King suggests a fake peace to get revenge for their murdered brother, she agrees whole-heartedly. She wants this to end, and even more, she wants to destroy the man responsible for stabbing her favorite brother in the back. But the Prince of the warring kingdom refuses her proposal, suggesting instead she marry his intimidating Commander. He’s the most menacing man on any battlefield, and also the man responsible for her brother’s murder. Though it makes her sick to agree, Elwytha does so, if only for the chance to get revenge. Except the Commander is nothing she expects, and the truth she knew disintegrates…

I seem to have better luck with historicals set in Medieval ages than later years. I’m not sure why that is. Maybe because there are fewer of them, so they seem more unique. Maybe because I like the era. I just don’t know.

But The Commander’s Desire was a win for me on a multitude of levels. I started this book on a lazy Saturday morning, then had to load it onto my iPhone when an impromptu road trip was scheduled, then ignored everybody during the trip to choose to read instead. Then, when we got home that night and I still had fifty pages left, I shut myself up in my bedroom so I could finish it uninterrupted. I think my family was a little annoyed at me, or at least, annoyed at the author who captured my fancy.

The single biggest draw for me – and I will freely admit this type is one of my weaknesses in romances – was the Commander. As the Prince’s second in command, he is fierce and deadly. When Elwytha meets him, she is shocked by his appearance. He shaves his head, has a nose that was broken and mutilated because it was never set properly, and has nasty scars across his forehead. Half of his face is a grotesque mask. It’s classic Beauty and the Beast, and it only gets better as she discovers the Commander is a man of real honor and incredible gentleness. The juxtaposition of such disparate qualities creates a fascinating character, and I fell for him almost immediately. Hard. So hard that I was utterly invested in seeing him clear his name and claim the happy ending he so desired.

Elwytha isn’t quite as sympathetic for me, even though she’s coming into the story from a position of vulnerability. She spends a lot of time crying when she first arrives, because she doesn’t have any control at all over her situation. As soon as she gets past that and becomes the equal the Commander wants and needs, it’s a lot easier to care about her as much as the Commander does, but that’s a much slower path for me than my reaction to him.

Winding their romance together is the intrigue surrounding her brother’s murder. The Commander claims innocence, but the proof is stacked against him. They work together to discover the truth, and along the way, get to know each other. These are the elements of the story that work the best. The quiet moments when the Commander breaks through her defenses had me breathless, each incident adding to the ones previous to make their journey believable and heartbreaking.

I did have some issues with the author’s overuse of “verily” in dialogue and thoughts. At times, it was every other sentence, and got annoying. Too much of a good thing, if you ask me. But many of the other details felt authentic, though I’m the first to admit that I’m nowhere near an expert on this. Still, I sank into the story, and have already ordered this in print. I do love the Commander. He absolutely stole my heart.


8/10 – Aspects of the dialogue start to grate a little by midway through, but I couldn’t put this down


9/10 – I’ll admit it. I fell for the Commander, hook, line, and sinker. Alpha and broken, but strong anyway.


7/10 – For someone who professed to be a warrior, she sure spent a lot of time crying. Still, I wanted her to get a happy ending as much as I wanted the Commander to have one.

Entertainment value

9/10 – The romance of this completely swept me away.

World building

8/10 – The Medieval setting makes a nice change of pace, though some of the terminology seemed overdone.



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