You all know I love unusual historical romances, especially when they are set during different periods and settings from the usual Regency and Victorian eras. Add a Roman warrior and a druid in the mix and I am so there. I previously read and enjoyed the first two books in Christina Phillips fantasy romance series set during the Roman invasion in Britain. Unlike the first two books, this is a stand alone which features a druid called Nimue who is given the mission to save the British Queen and her daughter from being captured by the Romans who are close to conquering the land. However, while fetching water to tend to the injured daughter, Nimue is captured by a Roman soldier, Tacitus, who is entranced by her and makes her his concubine despite not knowing she is a druid which is a certain death sentence for her.
I was impressed by Nimue who was tough and resourceful and even though she was captured by the Romans, she didn’t fall into the trap by making silly mistakes, and she bided her time to try to outwit her captors. Nimue’s dynamic with Tacitus was fun and sexy, and I loved that she challenged his notions about women. One of my favourite scenes has Nimue confronting Tacitus about her sexuality and not being ashamed about it which was delightful and funny because he was not accustomed to being with a woman who was confident and upfront. And while Tacitus underestimated Nimue’s abilities, I liked that there was no forced tension because they were enemies. It was enjoyable and refreshing to see that despite their differences they really did yearn for each other, and Nimue felt torn and betrayed because she was falling hard for her enemy.
Their romance was also set up really well because the conflict between Nimue and Tacitus should have been really fraught because they were enemies. It was also good to see that Tacitus never used his authority to dominate and was quite protective of Nimue. I also loved the romantic tension between them despite the insta-lust which overshadowed the tone of the book for me, especially at the beginning. However, the emotional side of their romance was built-up really well and the tension developed beautifully over the course of the book.
I also really enjoyed how Christina Phillips incorporated Celtic mythology into the story which added a mystical and dark atmospheric tone. The glimpses of the gods and goddesses along with Nimue’s beliefs in them included another dimension to the plot, and I loved the twist at the end linked to it. It really combined a twisty edge and dark layer to the plot and I loved how it connected and directed with Nimue’s fate and faith.
However, there was an issue that I disliked with the sub-plot that involved Tacitus commanding officer and how that tied in with Nimue’s past. It was a huge twist but it felt out of the blue and it was full of a coincidences. Although, I could appreciate how entwined the themes were with Nimue’s past and present but for me it felt out of the blue and too convenient.
Although Berayed didn’t have a lot of action, the story really focuses on the romance between Tacitus and Nimue which was erotically charged and sweet at the same time. The period setting was also well researched and vivid. But overall, I loved the rich mythology and paranormal elements and along with the heartfelt romance with lovers who are torn and divided about their loyalties but succumb to a true love. This is a fun book that has the enemies turn to lovers trope and was an enjoyable installment in Christina Phillips paranormal historical series.
I give Betrayed a B-