This review will contain spoilers.
Reviewing book #4 and #5 together because of the continuation of the books.
The Shortcoming and The Concubine have cause quite a bit of drama between readers. The Shortcoming brings a lot of new people into the story and war. But that is still not as alarming as what the ending of the book brings. For the short period Alexandra and Brandford have been married, they still are childless; to historical romance, heirs and thrones are always a thing, so understandably that cause a stir and gives rival kingdoms a reason to get involved in the plot. The ending of the book suggests that another woman will be entering the plot. As a concubine.
I remember when I read that part the first time – as a fanfiction – I was shocked. But more importantly I was on the edge, I wanted to read it, I wanted to devour it, I wanted to know how these two will get over it and read it I did. Why? Because it’s historical romance. Unlike contemporary – in which sex with another person is cheating – historical romance – history itself – has a history of blurring the lines and getting things done (heir) no matter what.
I’ve never been a King in my lifetime, but I guess taking my wife and saying screw it I’m not doing my duty – which I’ve been groomed for my entire life – and living this place, you people are mean and you suck, I’m in love with my wife and the kingdom can go fuck itself. Said no King. Ever.
What I don’t understand though is the double standard. The Handmaid made it clear that Princess Whitney was supposed to be the one that Brandford should have chosen; instead, he bypassed her and basically ridiculed her in front of her court. But literally not one reader gave a crap about her. No one said, you know what, there’s something going on between those two and he treats her like crap, shame on him. But when it comes to the lead character, everyone looses their mind.
You either want your historical books to be historically accurate, or you don’t. You either want your male lead character to be noble or you don’t. You can’t choose moments and reject others. Books have moments we love and moments we hate, those can be back to back, or in different parts of the book, we hate some parts because we are emotionally invested in the story and it personally hurts us; but it hurts because we love it. Can you truly hate a book you’ve loved so far because you hate a part of it?
That rant being said, I understand that The Concubine may not be everyone’s cup of tea and cheating is a no-no for a lot of readers but also it would help to keep in mind the setting of the story. This isn’t set in 2016, it’s the medieval times where Kings would take mistresses from their Queen’s court no less
– anyone who didn’t love watching The Tudors? Because he was all over that court. Having a character like Branford so torn and so broken up about it but also Alexandra in this huge character arc should be noted. Kings and Queens are not ordinary book characters that can afford to break the rules and go out of the norm – for them – just so the plot can be pleasant.
Overall, I love Shay Savage’s books and I look forward to the next one, that will be a stunning book!
other books in the series
Shay Savage lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her family and a variety of household pets. She is an accomplished public speaker, and holds the rank of Distinguished Toastmaster from Toastmasters International. When not writing, she enjoys science fiction movies, masquerading as a zombie, is a HUGE Star Wars fan, and member of the 501st Legion of Stormtroopers. When the geek fun runs out, she also loves soccer in any and all forms – especially the Columbus Crew, Arsenal and Bayern Munich – and anxiously awaits the 2014 World Cup. Savage holds a degree in psychology, and she brings a lot of that knowledge into the characters within her stories.