Pride does not wish to owe and vanity does not wish to pay. – Francois de la Rochefoucauld
But for the unforgiving whims of fate could a man’s quiet seafaring existence be suddenly and inexorably altered by happenstance, by an event so incapable of being foreshadowed that he finds himself in the service of the heir to the throne of England before he can even fully reconcile himself to the idea of being the First Gentlemen to a prince.
Emmett Fielde sailed on his father’s ships and trained himself in the ways of accounting for the business until the day he and young Aleyn, the cabin boy Emmett offers his protection in an effort to save the boy from a life of a very different sort of servitude, make a trip into the city and come face to face with their destiny.
Prince Andrewe is the epitome of everything that defines both the good and the bad of monarchical rule. He possesses a cool and regal beauty, and has been well groomed from birth to assume the yoke of the throne upon his father’s passing. But he is also spoiled and arrogant and fairly drips with a sense of entitlement and the expectation of unquestioned obeisance, something which does not bode well for Emmett’s smooth transition into his new role as his prince’s keeper.
Honour is a story of pride and of the way in which that single word becomes an agent of indignity and betrayal. It is a story of respect and the way in which that single word becomes an agent of conflict and chaos between a commoner and his prince. It is a story of duty and the way in which that single word obliges and dictates the difference between free will and the absolute absence of choice. Or worse—the absolute presence of choice but opting to ignore one’s heart and conscience in favor of vanity. It is a story of regret and the way in which that single word brings a man to his knees in despair, knowing that he would rather die than to live in a world where love exists and remains out of his reach. Ultimately, it is a story of redemption and the way in which that single word becomes the catalyst for a love affair that is the difference between the wish to possess and the need to belong.
A.F. Henley has written the story of a man who is not only a traitor to his prince but to his own heart, as well. The writing is lush and lyrical, erotic and romantic, rife with emotion and conflict between two men who must fight for every moment of unity while, at times, they seem bent upon tearing themselves apart.
I loved this story for exactly what it was: a grim fairytale with as happy an ending as was realistic for the prince and the man he refused to live without.