His Captive, His Conquest
by Ashe Barker
“His Captive, His Conquest” is the second book in the ‘Love, Honor, Conquer‘ historical fiction series. This book takes place in 1490 and 1491. You do not need to have read the first book, “Right of Conquest”, in order to enjoy this one. They absolutely are standalone stories. If you did already enjoy the first book, you’ll recognize the lead male character in this one as the half-brother of the leading man in that story.
Stephen is a fierce and fearsome but intensely honorable man. Entrusted with the difficult task of trying to maintain peace at part of the contentious border between England and Scotland, he’s an English lord who takes his responsibilities seriously. Flora is a young woman incredibly frustrated by the fact that her life is decided and controlled by the men in it. She is the daughter of a Scottish nobleman and clan leader, and she’s very conscious of her responsibility to her people. When a group of her clansmen do something foolishly destructive, Flora is in the wrong place at the wrong time and gets swept up in Stephen’s plan to have those who caused the destruction to make things as right as possible.
I don’t want to write much about the action-filled plot, but I promise it’s an entertaining one. There are acts of dishonor and honor, cruelty and kindness, justice and retribution, compassion and passion. There are moments of sweetness and moments that will make you cringe. Through it all, Stephen and Flora are attracted to one another with an intensity that neither has ever imagined possible. The fact that the Scots and the English are perpetual enemies, and the English king wants Stephen to marry a specific other woman, plus other complicating factors, all combine to make for an involving and interesting story.
Stephen and Flora both are characters with remarkable internal strength and courage. She, especially, endures incredible trauma at different points in the book. There are some truly heart-wrenching moments. The secondary characters are depicted with great clarity and purpose. They add to key parts of the story, as well as to the broader depiction of the time period. Flora’s relationship with her father goes in a heartbreaking direction that can be identified with by people in any century, anywhere in the world. The ending is a lovely blend of inescapable tragedy and inspirational triumph, along with a great surprise. I’m really looking forward to the next book in this series.