Book Review: Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian (Tina St. John)

This was my initial introduction to author Lara Adrian (Tina St. John) and second entanglement with the historical romance genre after Perfect Strangers by Rebecca Sinclair, and I think it may have just become my favorite in the subgenre. It seriously amazes me the research these writers had to have done in order to get the setting and dialect just right.

Did I ever mention I hated history in school? Too many dates and names. The events were interesting, but as soon as the teacher started spouting this year and era, and this man or woman, I was lost!

But with these sorts of novels, I feel that I can truly lose myself in the events, become immersed in the environment surrounding these wonderful characters rather than worrying that I have the right generation in mind.

Now to the goodness that is this novel!

Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian (Tina St. John)
Rating: 4.75 out 5

Raina d’Bussy had only ever loved one man in her young life, her father, but after meeting the dark knight, Gunnar Rutledge, she found herself captivated by him. As we are introduced to the young heroine, we find her to be innocent, but stubborn, naïve, but smart, and of course, beautiful. After a near miss of her virtue, saved by the rogue man, Gunnar then attempts to murder her father for reasons far beyond Raina’s knowledge. As she puts herself between the blade and her father, Gunnar is forced to retreat, only to return to act again on his promise. While his second coming is again thwarted, Raina finds herself actually captive of the knave, and set on hating him no matter how enticing he seemed.

“Nay,” she whispered. “You seek vengeance. You’ll find no honor in that.” – Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian (Tina St. John)

Gunnar Rutledge knew nothing but the hatred and anger that consumed his entire being. It controlled his every breath, every movement to the point that all he knew was the pain he was forced to relive day in and out caused by none other than Baron Luther d’Bussy. At the loss of his father and mother by the Baron’s hands, Gunnar bore not only their deaths on his shoulders, but a scar the length of his back as a reminder that he should’ve died that day as well. For years he thought of nothing else but the day to avenge his parents and make them proud until he met Raina. She stirred emotions in him that he swore he had casted out long ago, weaknesses in his mind’s eye.

“He prayed for deliverance from his suffering, from the anguish of his shame. His family was gone, his home destroyed. What reason had he to live? What purpose?
The answer came swiftly, softly at first, a dark whisper that curled around him, anchoring his soul to the earth with shadowy tethers. It called to him, beckoning him to hold on, entreating him to fight.
And, as the healer carried him into his hut and went to work on his wounds, the whisper grew in strength and meaning until it filled his mind, his heart, his soul. It was a single word. A mantra. A vow.
Vengeance.”  – Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian (Tina St. John)

Powerful writing! I can feel his anguish as it builds within him to create the monster he facades.

As the days go on with Raina as his prisoner, Gunnar is less and less able to control his feelings, tamper them down and lock them away as he always had. And even though Raina wanted only to despise the man for the lies she believed he told, she found herself falling for him with each passing encounter. The only piece of their puzzle keeping them from experiencing what the other had to offer was the truth, albeit ugly and unlike anything Raina could have ever imagined.

“Whenever she was near, he found it next to impossible to keep his eyes off her. But more maddening was the fact that he could not keep his off her even when she was away from him. Whereas his eyes could not drink in her every move and expression, it seemed his mind eagerly conjured her image, unbidden and unrelenting.” – Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian (Tina St. John)

“..for a love as strong and true as that seeks no permission. It knows only that it must be.” – Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian (Tina St. John)

“Sometimes the promises we don’t make are the most important ones to keep.” – Lord of Vengeance by Lara Adrian (Tina St. John)

There are so many moments in this novel that I absolutely love! Gunnar is now the pillar to my historical romance expectations with his dark and brooding personality that overcomes a past of pain and hurt to find love and learn to live again. The love scenes are so steamy! I grant it the shower worthy trophy. The character development throughout the novel is so perfected, but I feel like Raina could have used a bit more progression. I still love her as a heroin, but I felt she could have went farther in her maturity by the end of the novel after all of her unsheltered experiences. The old English usage once or twice confused me, but the writing absolutely saved me! Adrian (St. John) gave me an experience unlike any other novel I have read this far of passion and redemption. I am already looking into her other works!

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