Her Castilian Heart

The Castilian Saga Book 3

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
498 Pages
Reviewed on 10/08/2022
Buy on Amazon

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Free Book Program, which is open to all readers and is completely free. The author will provide you with a free copy of their book in exchange for an honest review. You and the author will discuss what sites you will post your review to and what kind of copy of the book you would like to receive (eBook, PDF, Word, paperback, etc.). To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Review Exchange Program, which is open to all authors and is completely free. Simply put, you agree to provide an honest review an author's book in exchange for the author doing the same for you. What sites your reviews are posted on (B&N, Amazon, etc.) and whether you send digital (eBook, PDF, Word, etc.) or hard copies of your books to each other for review is up to you. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email, and be sure to describe your book or include a link to your Readers' Favorite review page or Amazon page.

This author participates in the Readers' Favorite Book Donation Program, which was created to help nonprofit and charitable organizations (schools, libraries, convalescent homes, soldier donation programs, etc.) by providing them with free books and to help authors garner more exposure for their work. This author is willing to donate free copies of their book in exchange for reviews (if circumstances allow) and the knowledge that their book is being read and enjoyed. To begin, click the purple email icon to send this author a private email. Be sure to tell the author who you are, what organization you are with, how many books you need, how they will be used, and the number of reviews, if any, you would be able to provide.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite

Her Castilian Heart: The Castilian Saga Book 3 by Anna Belfrage is a continuation of the journey of Sir Robert FitzStephen, the lowborn bastard son of a baron, knight of the realm, and his beautiful Castilian wife Lady Eleanor (Noor) d’Outremer, in thirteenth century Great Britain and Europe. King Edward (Longshanks) rules England with an iron fist and Robert and Noor have not only returned to English shores minus the Castilian Pomegranate jewel they had been tasked to recover but also with the young son of a Welsh rebel they had been instructed to leave behind. None of this is likely to please Queen Eleanor and Robert and Noor must walk a dangerous tightrope between unwavering obedience to the crown and their desires to raise the young Welsh orphan as their own. On their return to Orton Manor, Robert and Noor are seeking a quiet life reveling in each other and their growing family but fate has other ideas for this couple. When it becomes obvious that Robert’s insanely jealous half-brother Eustace de Lamont is determined to kill Robert and anyone else who may lay claim to his father’s fortune and title, Robert and Noor must do all they can to protect their hard-won peace and freedom in a world where title and privilege are everything and even the foulest of crimes can be pardoned or forgiven if you have money and power.

I have been fortunate enough to have read the first two books in this series, so I was waiting for its continuation with excitement. Her Castilian Heart surpassed all my expectations for this series. Anna Belfrage has become a master at the historical romance genre and I can recommend all she has written. When reviewing a continuing series I always ask if this book can still be enjoyed as a stand-alone novel. The answer is an emphatic yes! The author does an exceptional job of dropping in the salient points from previous episodes so the reader is never left wondering about what went before. Her mix of fascinating real events and characters from history combines perfectly with the fictional experiences of her main protagonists in the story. The romance is real and you can feel the love and passion between Robert and Noor pouring from every page. The love scenes are sweet, romantic, and intensely passionate. What I particularly love about Noor is her strength of character and her unwavering courage to speak against those in power who make decisions, when she vehemently disagrees with them, despite the possible consequences. She was a woman not afraid to speak her mind at a time when women were very much decorative collectibles or tools for men to form alliances. For those who love medieval battles and fighting, they will slake their thirst well in this story but for me, it was the tender, beautiful, sweet moments between Robert, Noor, and their expanded circle that I will remember the most. I am so looking forward to the next iteration in this journey that is promised with the next book. This is a fantastic read and one I can highly recommend.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Politics, power, and greed have marred humanity since the beginning of time. The era of Queen Eleanor, the very powerful wife of Edward I, is full of strife and power struggles. Sir Robert FitzStephan was a nobleman and military leader during this era. He and his wife, Noor, have attached their affections to a foundling, Lionel, of mixed noble blood. Queen Eleanor had ordered Sir Robert and his wife to abandon the boy in a monastery, but they had refused. That did little to improve the relations with the queen. Add to that the fact that Sir Robert’s half-brother, Eustace de Lamont, who’s trying to kill him, plus the ongoing conflicts with Wales and Ireland, and the plot thickens.

Anna Belfrage’s historical fiction novel, Her Castilian Heart, is the third book of the Castilian Saga series. With a historical plot that will have readers sitting on the edge of their seats as one conflict after another evolves, the story follows Sir Robert’s campaigns, as well as the subtle plotting that is carried on in his wife’s private chambers. I love the opening scene where Noor, Sir Robert’s wife, is working on a historical tapestry, one of the many that noblewomen worked on over the centuries. The scene evolves into a very domestic one with her actually nursing her infant son, an anomaly for noblewomen of this era. The reader instantly connects with this woman and her attendants and feels compassion for her and her loved ones. The author knows her history and she creates a compelling narrative based on facts. Like Sharon Penman's The Queen's Man and other books in her King Henry II and Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine series, this book takes a behind-the-scenes look at the intensity and danger of political intrigue that was ripe during this era (and regrettably still is). A fascinating, entertaining, and educational read.