Author: Shay Savage
Promotions: Lit Slave
Summary: 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 naïve handmaid to become more important than he ever could have foreseen.
Flirty Review: Four-ish
Okay, if you have read any of Shay's books raise your hand. *All the hands* It's no secret I have a love of Shay's writing. She writes a male character's mind so well it's a little creepy. Plus, she's dirty and we all like the dirt. Her newest title released today is from her Twilight Fanfiction days by the same title Unexpected Circumstances. You remember this one, right? It's the famous fic that Michael Sheen read out loud on VH1 many moons ago. If you missed it, you can see it HERE. Can you even imagine waking up one day and hearing an incredible actor like Michael Sheen reading your work. I would die. I'm sure she did. Anyhoo, it launched her story into the stratosphere. I read it back then and loved it, so when I saw she was publishing it, I was excited to see what she had done to the original story.
It's been many years since I read the fic as it was published, so diving into this version of Unexpected Circumstances Book 1: The Handmaid, I was not so surprised to see much hadn't changed except for the names. Sir Edward is now Sir Branford and Isabella is now Alexandra. I recalled the story well, and it felt like I was reading it for the second time. Which isn't bad, just not overwhelming for me. Shay has published some of her other fics to Amazon and has kept a lot of the original integrity. Just to make note, I'm not against P2P at all, but I do appreciate when authors approve upon their fics when they do publish to Amazon or other outlets. Authors grow overtime and I can certainly see Shay has grown in her other books I have read, in UC here, I felt like there wasn't as much growth.
While I enjoyed the story, I felt that some of the character dialogue and inner thought was too modern in places. It's a historic romance (bodice ripper) but I would have loved to see more authenticity in the era. I don't know, I could be picking it apart too much. It is a romance, not Game of Thrones. I wasn't going to go all Jon Snow on Shay and tell her she knows nothing about writing historic romance. Hell, I think she did a fabo job. I don't have the boobs to do it. So I appreciate the fact she took the step into the genre. It's enjoyable and interesting to read.
Book 1: The Handmaid seemed too short to me, though. I felt it need more setup of the plot and characters. We know Sir Branford marries Alexandra as a political ploy, but I felt it was glossed over in favor of focusing on the developing sexual relationship between the newly married couple. Basically, I wished book one displayed more action as well as sexual tension.
Do I still want to read the next book? Heck ya! I loved this story back in the day and want to read it again. I just hope that the actions and romance can keep me engaged like it did in the fic. I think splitting the book up was risky, so I hope that the next book will completely hook me for the rest of the series.