I recently finished the second book in a fantasy romance series and wanted to buzz about it here - connecting to my review of book one of course - only to realize that I hadn't reviewed book one! Amazing. And a serious lapse on my part. One that likely happened for the same reason I'm now not going to talk about book two - it wasn't in LINKcat yet. So backing up, here is the first. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is a marriage of convenience romance contained within the political plotting in a a fully-realized and lush fantasy world.
When Velasin vin Aaro is discoverd, by his father and a dipomatic envoy, with another man in a compromising position, he is disowned by his father. But while his father now knows of his preference for men (something that is forbidden in his country of Ralia), he's still determined to send him to the neighboring country of Tithena for an arranged marriage to a young woman in that country's noble family. Velasin, who knows of the importance of the diplomatic union, goes along with the plan, partially because he knows how important the marriage is and partially because what his father saw was an assault rahter then a willing assignation and he's feeling deeply shamed. Velasin's determination to do what's needed, even if it's bound to make him miserable, is laudable, but turns out not necessary. The Tithenai envoy has a different solution (because Tithena has very different views on sexuality): Vel can marry the brother of his purported intended instead, Caethari Aeduria.
Vel and Caethari have never met before. And yes, they are both feeling extremely nervous about their marriage (for different reasons), there is an instant attraction between them. As they begin to get to know one another, their growing bond is threatened by an unknown faction who seem to be willing to kill to make sure the union (between Vel and Caethari, and Ralia and Tithena) falls apart. The two men will have to rely on one another to make sure they not only survive but thrive.
Loved this. And loved book two (though not quite as much as this one) - All the Hidden Paths - due out in December.