Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Release Blitz ARC Review + Giveaway: Unexpected Circumstances: The Handmaid by Shay Savage

by Shay Savage
Release Date: May 31, 2016
Genre: Historical

In a bold political move, Sir Branford claims a handmaid as his bride instead of the expected princess in an attempt to spark a war. Poor Alexandra knows little of how to behave as the wife of a future king and knows nothing of the man who is suddenly her husband.

Alexandra knows she is being used as a pawn and must do her best to avoid scheming noblewomen and the scorned princess, accept her position as her husband ascends to the throne, and overcome her fears of the man with whom she now shares a bed.

Sir Branford is determined to have it all – the kingdom, a wife of his choosing, and the revenge he seeks for the death of his father. He doesn’t expect the na├»ve handmaid to become more important than he ever could have foreseen.

It had been a long time since I picked up a historical romance and I'm surprised Shay Savage had decided to treat us to a seven part series with Unexpected Circumstances. Game on!

With this first part, The Handmaid, we are headed to a great start. This was told entirely from the heroine, Alexandra's POV. She is a young handmaid of who is innocent and naive and live a simple life serving the princess. When Sir Branford, heir to the throne, chose Alexandra to be his new wife, she was more than perplexed. What on earth is happening?

This is one short engaging read whereby I'm fascinated with the hero, Sir Branford and his blatant rebellious act to incite a war. Although he used Alexandra as a political pawn, he is still very much a gentleman and a man of his words. I enjoyed seeing how Alexandra try to navigate her new life that had turned up side down all of a sudden. 

There seems to be a lot going on in just the first installment alone. I can't imagine what Shay Savage had in store for us for the subsequent six installments. Things are gonna be interesting for sure.

Sir Branford led me back to the table where he quickly finished a glass of wine before pulling me back to the dance floor with him. We stayed on the dance floor for some time, occasionally switching partners. When another man danced with me, I felt unsteady, and once I nearly stumbled. I managed to get through the evening without falling to the floor in my white dress and found myself relieved when Sir Branford took my hand again and informed me it was time for the last dance.
“You’ve held up well, my wife,” he said softly before twirling me one last time in a slow circle under his arm. The minstrels stopped playing, and the crowd cheered for us again. Branford smiled and waved, perfectly at ease as the center of attention, while I blushed and hoped I wasn’t doing anything wrong. Many of the wedding guests came to us again, offering their congratulations and wishing us well. Branford seemed to know each one by name and spoke eloquently to them all while I tried not to cower behind him.
“The reception was beautiful,” yet another lord commented to Sir Branford.
“I think it was splendid,” Sir Branford replied, “especially when you consider my eagerness to wed.”
The lord laughed and walked away.
“As splendid as it has been,” Sir Branford said, turning toward me, “I am tired of celebrating with the populace. I think I would rather take you back to my chambers alone so we can complete our union.”
He tilted his head slightly, and his gaze burned intensely into mine. He raised his eyebrows, and his half smile returned though I did not find it as joyous and carefree as it has appeared before. Now it displayed something more primal, something…hungry.
My heart raced, and I found it difficult to take a deep breath. I had been so overwhelmed by the wedding itself and the idea of marrying someone I did not know, I hadn’t even considered the expectations he would have of the wedding night.
Unlike the Princess Whitney, I was a virgin. My first kiss had occurred not four hours ago, right after Sir Branford slipped the ring on my finger. I knew what I was supposed to do. At least, I thought I did. Accounts of the act of marital relations were varied depending on who told the story though most seemed to agree it was for the benefit of the husband and for the creation of his heirs, not for pleasure of the wife. If she were lucky, he would not hurt her much, and it would be over quickly. A brand new panic permeated my head.

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. Savage holds a degree in psychology, and she brings a lot of that knowledge into the characters within her stories.

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