Series: Tang Dynasty #1
Published by Harlequin on October 1, 2010
FINAL DECISION: Lush and romantic. Set in the Tang Dynasty, this is the story of two people who have no business being together and fighting the whole world and themselves to be together.
THE STORY: Princess Ai Li flees the man she is supposed to marry. On the way to meet him, she has learned that the man she is arranged to marry, province military governor Li Tao, is a traitor. Fleeing from the anticipated marriage, Ai Li depends upon her butterfly swords to protect herself and finds a protector in Ryam. Ryam is a blue-eyed foreigner who is trying to return to his home base and avoid capture. A swordsman, Ryam is convinced by Ai Li, who is in disguise, to help escort her home, even in danger to himself.
OPINION: This story has adventure and a really sweet romance. The characters are delightful together as they are clearly attracted to one another, but their differing status keeps them apart. Ailey keeps her identity a secret, which complicates things in this story.
Ailey is determined and, at times, very fierce. Having trained with her brothers, she does not fit into what society expects from her. Instead, she is honorable and a fighter, believing in her obligation to help her family and warn her father.
Ryam is somewhat broken as the story begins. While he travels home, he is on the run, an outcast, and in danger. Having been engaged in a mission that went wrong, Ryam has lost some of his easy self-confidence and questions everything around him.
Ryam wants to protect Ailey, especially from himself, and Ailey knows that she cannot surrender to Ryam. At the same time, the two are clearly attracted to one another from almost the start. They bond over sword fighting, and although they come from very different backgrounds, they feel a physical connection and an understanding of being an outsider.
I really enjoyed this book’s road trip plot as the two travel through this world, meeting intriguing characters (who have books of their own!).
WORTH MENTIONING: The story takes place in the Tang Dynasty in China, and presents a setting different from typical historical romance novels, yet is wonderfully romantic and sexy.
CONNECTED BOOKS: BUTTERFLY SWORDS is the first book in the Tang Dynasty series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.