The Lion and the Crow

Title: The Lion and the Crow
Author: Eli Easton
Publisher: Pinkerton Road LLC
Release Date: August 26, 2019
Genre(s): M/M Historical Romance
Page Count: 153
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Blurb: Read book blurb here

Set in England in the year 1300, Sir William Corbett begins a desperate mission to rescue his beloved sister Elaine from her abusive husband, Lord Somerville. He requests help from Lord Brandon but only Brandon's youngest son, Sir Christian Brandon (striking with his black hair and dark brown eyes, combined with broad shoulders and a wicked skill in archery) agrees to help. In the process of their journey to Somerville, William realizes that he has underestimated Christian's considerable skills, but also his honesty and integrity. Williams finds himself falling in love and struggling with his terror of of being gay in a time period where it could be a death sentence.

Easton does an exceptional job of setting out Christian's philosophy and why he is willing to embrace his nature:
I care not for God's law! Or man's either. There should have been laws of decency, laws of conduct, laws of family that protected me when I was young, but there was none. No law saved your sister from a husband who is a monster, nor helps her now. So what allegiance should I have to man's laws? Should I believe it more of a crime for us to love each other than the harm my brothers did to me without any fear of retribution from my father or the King? Never!

And William's slow capitulation is also beautifully done: "In that moment, William knew that this was it for him [...] This was the moment he would take to his grave." After the drama and intense emotions of the love story, the rescue of Lady Elaine is a bit of a let-down with Christian's cross-dressing heroics, and also a major plot point at the end seemed over the top and awkward, but those are minor niggles that did not distract from the core of this story.

I never read the original 2013 short version of "The Lion and the Crow" but really really admire this expanded version. The ending is equal parts heart-breaking and incredibly moving; Eli Easton gives us the original "gentler" epilogue, as well as the updated one. It offers an interesting contrast between the glowing HEA ending that we want for William and Christian, and the more likely ending given the time.

4.5 stars for this beautifully written historical romance. An emotional read that I highly recommend.

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