The Royal Companion

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Title: The Royal Companion (Series)
Author: Tanya Bird
Genre: Fiction/ Romance/ YA/ Fantasy
Source: Kindle Recommendation
Rating: 4/5

Favourite Quote: ‘“I suppose you wouldn’t believe me if I told you she was different from the others?”
“On the contrary, it can be the only truth. I cannot imagine any other reason you would be so foolish with your heart.”‘

Synopsis

Aldara knew that she wouldn’t be able to live on the farm with her brother for much longer. Now sixteen, her mother will undoubtedly sell her off to the highest bidder in attempts to give their family a chance to survive a few more winters. Ensuring Aldara is in the path of the cruel obnoxious Prince Pandarus when he comes to visit their village for a new companion is just the opportunity that secures her family’s fate. Thankfully, she hasn’t been purchased to become an addition to Prince Pandarus’ companions, but rather a gift to Prince Tyron, his brooding little brother who wants nothing more than to hide with his inner demons than spend any time with her.

Prince Tyron has lived his life making himself strong for battle, but no matter how many times he leads his troops to victory, he can’t help but be devoured by the haunting memories of the dead that keep him up at night. His family believe he needs to find a distraction, so when his older brother purchases a young woman to be his companion, Tyron wants nothing to do with her. Another seductive woman filled with rules, proper instruction and false emotions to roam the castle and annoy his mother and sister like the rest of them. What he didn’t expect was Aldara, a beautiful girl with light in her eyes, a skip in her step with an unexpected honesty he found delightfully refreshing.

‘That is when she noticed a figure standing ten feet away, watching her.
It was Prince Tyron.
“He is an old war horse”, he said, gesturing to the scars. “I don’t have the heart to replace him. I owe him my life. He has saved it enough times.”
“You are lucky,” she said. “My mare would abandon me at the front line at the first sight of the enemy. She could not be trusted to return me safely from berry picking.’
A smile flickered on Tyron’s face. “Spirited mare?”
“My father said we were well-suited”
“You are too well dressed to be a groom,” he said.
She laughed without meaning too. “Apologies, my lord. My name is Aldara. We almost met on the path earlier when I miraculously saved myself from falling at your feet.”

My Thoughts

I enjoyed this series and finished them all in one go. I found I couldn’t put them down once I started. The story was interesting, the plot started off slow in the first book with the slow romance but as the books went on the plot became more gripping. The characters were all uniquely written and built up well through out the series. Even the scenes were carefully detailed, whether they were walking around the castle, enjoying each other’s company in the stables, riding horseback through the forest or even facing the enemy on the front lines. I got so caught up in the story that I don’t know where one book finished and the other began so I decided to write just one review for them all (without spoilers).
I do have to warn readers that this first book does include rape for any who wish to avoid this subject.

I adored the slow burning romance throughout between Tyron and Aldara. Both different temperaments than what they were expected to be, both lost in their world trying to find a way to get through each day. Their connection was instant and I enjoyed reading the interactions between the two of them as they became more confident around each other and the status surrounding them. As a hired companion for the Prince to pass the time, Aldara was never supposed to be anything more than her paid position, so when they started to feel more, they did all they could to keep it hidden, knowing Aldara would be sent off far away without a word of warning if anyone found out. A forbidden romance that pulled at your heartstrings.

I liked Aldara as a character, she was resilient in her means to remain who she was, even with lessons to remove her carefree spirit, she held true to herself and only put on an etiquette front around the royal family, aside from Tyron of course. Being sold to help save her family was expected but she couldn’t help but wish she was back at the farm with her brother. Her friendship with Hali was sweet, both in the same new status in life without a future to look forward too, their pact to stick together was just what they needed to pull through. Aldara’s feelings for Tyron were young and innocent as she was only 16, experiencing love for the first time with her employer knowing full well she would never get her happy ever after.

‘”How am I to know if you speak the truth? I will not settle for Fedora’s version of you. Do you really want to be here?”
She reached up and touched his face again. “I did not want to come here. I did not want to be your Companion. That was my truth, right up until the moment I met you. Something changed that day.”
“What?”
She shrugged and her hand fell away. “I don’t know. This” She gestured between them. “I know where it leads, and I know where it cannot. Leaving here today will not erase what has happened. Or you.”‘. 

Prince Tyron was a great love interest, as unavailable as he was as a Prince of the kingdom. He stood true to what he wanted, even if he couldn’t truly have it. His dark inner demons controlled him when he came back from each battle, and after a while he realised the only one who could help settle the dark thoughts were Aldara. The fact that the Queen noticed the transformation was satisfying, giving a small measure of hope to their story. Tyron’s feelings for Aldara were delightful, you could see the change in his character when she started taking over this thoughts throughout the story as much as he tried to fight it at the beginning by putting distance between them. He tried his best to keep her pure so she could return home in one piece and have the future she wanted.

The additional characters were unique and their temperaments made clear from Prince Pandarus and his selfish obnoxious behaviour towards others, especially his Companions, Prince Stamitos and his relaxed carefree playful nature compared to his brothers, and Fedora and her determination to do her job and to make Aldara into the perfect companion, little did she know her efforts weren’t overly necessary for the most part for Tyron. My favourite addition character was definitely the sharp tongued Sapphira who was strong and daring for a Companion with a desire to keep her passion of archery close to her, something she wished to share with Aldara to keep her sane in the castle.

‘Each day Aldara threw herself into archery as though her personal safety depended on it. Her progress both surprised and impressed Sapphira.
“I hate what happened to you, but I like this new version of you,” Sapphira said one day. 
Aldara looked at her, puzzled. “What do you mean?”
“Feisty. I suspect you carry a blade under your dress also.”
Aldara looked down the arrow and released it. “I don’t, but that is an excellent suggestion,” she said smiling.’

This heartwarming romance continues for a further two books in the series; The Common Girl and The Majestic Imposter. They continue with Aldara and Tyron’s burning romance with an exciting plot that will keep you on your toes. The two of them come to face war, kidnapping, and heartbreak in this wonderful fantasy romance you won’t want to put down.

My Rating

Small Kitty 4

Goodreads Review:
Companions are the kingdom’s most beautiful and educated women—possessions of Syrasan’s royal men.
Aldara is sixteen when she is sold to the obnoxious crown prince as a gift for his brother. Forced to leave the only life she has ever known, Aldara is sent to Archdale Castle, where she is mentored to become Prince Tyron’s perfect Companion. But no amount of lessons can prepare her for the troubled man marked by war. He sees straight through the polished exterior presented to him. He sees her. She must keep the facade together or deal with the repercussions.
Prince Tyron has just returned from war. All he wants is privacy to grieve the men who died at the border. So when his brother gifts him a Companion upon his return, he is forced to embrace a tradition he has so far managed to avoid. Except Aldara is not like the others. She walks with her face to the sun and arms swinging. Her laughter makes him forget the lie. But if they ignore the rules that safeguard them, there will be consequences…

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I moved to Japan with my husband and cat 2 years ago which has been one big adventure. The only downside (besides missing my family and dairymilk) is that I've moved to a country where English bookshops are limited, plus the idea of transporting so many books back home sounds dreadfully expensive. I've grown to love my Kindle which is why I'm fixated on ebooks. It connects nicely to my goodreads and netgalley account also which means I'm always adding more to my never ending list of books. I read fiction and love all things fantasy, YA, historical fiction and classics. Add a bit of mystery and I'll be hooked!

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