Series: The Three Graces, book 1
Genre: Historical Romance
Source: Review copy from publisher
“The Three Graces of Graydon are well–born sisters bearing an ominous curse: any man betrothed to them without love is doomed to die.Much to her chagrin, Lady Isabel Milton has been given to Earl Rand Braesford—a reward from the Tudor king for his loyalty to the throne. The lusty nobleman quickly claims his husbandly rights, an experience Isabel scarcely hoped to enjoy so much. But youth and strength may not save Braesford from his bride's infamous curse…Accused of a heinous crime with implications that reach all the way to King Henry himself, Braesford is imprisoned in the Tower, and Isabel is offered her salvation—but for a price. She has the power to seal his fate, have him sent to the executioner and be freed from her marriage bonds. Yet the more Isabel learns of Rand, the less convinced she is of his guilt, and she commits to discover the truth about the enigmatic husband she never expected to love.”
Lady Isabel Milton has been betrothed four times and her four betrotheds have died from various causes before their wedding day. Lady Isabel has used these events to create a cursing tale widely known as The Curse of the Three Graces. This curse says Lady Isabel and her sisters are cursed and any man who would want to join them in a loveless marriage will die victim of the curse.
The last thing Isabel wants is to marry. She saw how her mother’s spirit was decimated thanks to the abused received by her stepfather, culminating in her mother’s dead. Fortunately her stepfather died just months after her mother’s demised, leaving them under the (hard) care of their stepbrother Lord Graydon.
After Henry VII ascent to the throne Isabel and her sister are place under the King’s guardianship.
Rand Braesford is the bastard son of an earl with no title but under the favor of the king for services rendered to him during his exile and in the fight for the ascension to the throne. For his help and loyalty to Henry VII he has been given the lands that used to belong to his father and the hand in marriage of Lady Isabel Milton.
Lady Isabel is appalled she is to marry a man beneath her station but she doesn’t see any way out, what the king decrees is law and Rand doesn’t seem to care or believe about the curse.
Just before the wedding is to be performed emissaries of the King interrupted the dinner banquet. Rand has been accused of murdering a child and his and his bride’s presence is required before the king.
At their arrival to the palace Lady Isabel thinks she is going to be free from this engagement too, just to realized the king has plans for them to wed next day and to reside in the palace while investigating the allegations against Rand.
What Lady Isabel has seen of men has made her afraid of marriage and especially of the wedding night. But Rand despite his warrior body is sweet, tender and caring with her, disconcerting her and maybe changing a little bit her impressions, at least in regards to her new husband.
Days later things change suddenly when Rand is apprehended and taken to The Tower to await for his conviction.
Lady Isabel has two options, to do nothing and wait for his husband execution or to help find out the truth about the accusations against him.
I really enjoy By His Majesty’s Grace. I think Mrs. Blake did a great job intertwining real historical events with those of fiction.
It took me some time to warm up to Lady Isabel, but after learning more of her background and where she was coming from is easier to understand her abhorrence towards marriage and men in general.
I cannot imagine living in a time where women were almost a commodity, given in exchange of favors or where young girls were married to very decrepit old men just because it was a beneficial marriage.
At the end I liked Isabel very much, she is smart and strong willed. She cares deeply for her love ones and is willing to recognize when she has been wrong.
I love Rand since the first moment I met him. He is a teddy bear in a polar bear package. This means he can be caring and loving or a killer and protector is the need arises.
Rand and Isabel’s relationship was a believable one. Even though there was an attraction their affection towards each other was not an instant one, but one that grew through the pages thanks to their interactions.
From the secondary characters I really like Rand’s squire, David. I think (hope) there is a story behind him and I really would like to learn more about him.
This is my first historical set during the reign of Henry VII. And as I said before I love the historical setting thanks to the accuracy of events in Mrs. Blake writing. By His Majesty’s Grace is one of those books that after you finish it you will have the need to do some research about this era and the characters depicted in it.
By His Majesty’s Grace was my first book by Jennifer Blake and I can guarantee you I won’t be my last. By His Majesty’s Grace is the first book in The Three Graces series; the following two books would be about Isabel’s sisters, Cate and Marguerite. I’m planning to read them when they become available.
My Verdict: 4 Paws
Other books in the series
By His Majesty’s Grace
By Grace Possessed (08/23/2011)
Seduced by Grace (09/20/2011)
Other reviews Goodreads