Honestly, this book has everything that I dig in a romance story: forbidden love, denied passion, torn between mind and heart, but no, I did not love it.
A book by Monica McCarty from her Highland Guard series has a very similar story line (there are few new things under the sun) and I LOVED it to pieces. Michelle Willingham's Her Warrior King has a very similar plot and characters, and I wonder why while I "loved" Monica McCarty's book and could only say that I "liked" Michelle Willingham's Her Warrior King.
In this book Patrick, King to his tribe, was forced to wed Isabel, A Norman lady. The story is about how the Irish and the Normans despised each other but were forced to reconcile. Isabel became a pawn in the political game. She was forced to marry Patrick but quickly resolved to do right by what was expected of her.
Patrick had something else in mind. He never intended to make Isabel his Queen and was planning on annulling the marriage as soon his tribe was ready to defeat the Normans. The book's focus is on how Isabel tried to become part of a tribe which did not want her and how Patrick repeatedly turned down Isabel and refused to give them a chance.
I think the major difference between McCarty's book and this book is that in the former, I could almost taste the desperation of the lead characters. They despaired of the hopeless feelings they had for each other and the denied love became that much better because of its hopelessness. In this book, it was more rejection than desperation. Patrick rejected Isabel repeatedly and I never really did feel that he wanted Isabel more than anything. Naturally he was written to be torn between his duties and personal feelings. I just wasn't convinced. I had the impression that for Patrick, it was his tribe that mattered more and while not a decision he enjoyed making, it was never a difficult decision. And when he finally changed his mind, I was surprised because I couldn't see what would resulted in the change. The story of course tried to make sense of Patrick's 180 turnabout. But it was just not as convincing and heart-wrenching as Monica McCarty's book.
I am sorry that I keep comparing this book to another author's work. Because of the similarities in the plot line and characterization, I expected to love this book as much as I did McCarty's book. But this is not the case. The comparison is only done for me to analyze what was different in this story. And I conclude it is because in this book all the hopelessness seemed fabricated while in McCarty's book, I felt the despair of the lead characters and their wish of things being different.
But all this being said, I liked this book well enough. For me it rather pales in comparison to my favorite book of 2015 (said McCarty book) but is a good read nonetheless.