I am so excited today because I am back in my beloved Dark Ages with Jayne Castel The Breaking Dawn.
I love reading books by other authors in this era and Jayne Castel writes so passionately about her area of interest. She bases her stories on actual 7th Century historical figures and the protagonist of The Breaking Dawn is Cynddylan ap Cyndrwyn - the Prince of Powys (Wales).
Let's waste no time and have a quick look at the story.
Summer AD 641, Mercia, Britannia
Merwenna of Weyham's betrothed has gone to war. He promises her that he will return and when he does they will be married. But the months drag on and there is no word. She fears the worst, but she cannot wait any longer to find out his fate. She travels with her brother to Tamworth - the seat of Penda, the Mercian King - and their liege lord - only to discover that she is too late and her betrothed is dead.
Lord, Prince Cynddylan (Dylan to his friends) has allied himself with the King of Mercia. But the alliance is fragile and he is wary, for he trusts Penda about as far as he could throw him.
Dylan remembers Merwenna betrothed and it is he that breaks the news to her that the man she thought to marry is dead.
Dylan is attracted to Merwenna from first sight, but she is grieving and a peasant whereas he is a warrior who will, when he returns to Powys, be crowned King.
Fate intervenes and Merwenna finds herself at the mercy of Dylan. She does not fear for her life so much as she fears for her heart, because there is something about this Welsh prince that she cannot resist.
But dark forces are plotting against the Prince. Merwenna is determined not to lose another man she loves to war. She will do everything in her power to protect him, the way he once protected her.
So what are my thoughts on the book?
The Breaking Dawn is a beautiful historical romance set in one of my favourite periods. Castel paints a vivid picture of Mercia in the 7th Century. It is very easy to get lost in the world that she has created.
The Breaking Dawn has all the ingredients for a great romance story. The only issue I really had with it was how quickly Merwenna seemed to get over the death of her betrothal. She clearly loved him, and risked her father’s anger to find him, and when she discovers that he is dead, she weeps and grieves and thinks her life is over. However, one minute she is crying and the next she finds herself in the arms of a prince - it all happens rather suddenly. Although, she can be forgiven for this... I think any woman would find it difficult to keep her head when Dylan is around!
The romantic tension between the protagonists is very well written. I would go as far to say it is one of the most believable relationships that I have read about in the last six months. It is beautiful.
The story is fast moving and a real page-turner. I started reading it before I went to bed, but I set the alarm early so I could finish it before breakfast. It is one of those books.
I really enjoyed it and I am looking forward to the next book in the series.
If you love historical romances then you will not be disappointed in The Breaking Dawn. Although be warned - this is the type of book where you need to find yourself a couple of hours of solitude, turn off your phone, make yourself a hot chocolate and curl up under a blanket next to a warm fire - because you are not going to want to put this book down.
Two of her novels DARK UNDER THE COVER OF NIGHT and NIGHTFALL TILL DAYBREAK, reached the quarter finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards in 2013 and 2014.
Jayne writes historical romance adventures about warrior heroes and strong-willed heroines. She weaves powerful love stories into meticulously researched stories about honor, valor, loyalty and vengeance.
Her KINGDOM OF THE EAST ANGLES series spans a decade and the reigns of three kings: Raedwald, Sigeberht and Annan. The series is a 'must-read' for anyone who loves reading historical romance set in a warrior-dominated culture.