Friday, May 3, 2019

Review - - The Claiming of the Shrew

The Claiming of the Shrew
by Shana Galen
The Survivors - Book 5
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: April 16, 2019
Reviewed by PJ

Lieutenant Colonel Benedict Draven has retired from the army and spends most of his days either consulting for the Foreign Office or whiling away the hours at his club with his former comrades-in-arms. He rarely thinks about the fiery Portuguese woman he saved from an abusive marriage by wedding her himself. It was supposed to be a marriage in name only, but even five years later and a world away, he can’t seem to forget her.

Catarina Neves never forgot what it felt like to be scared, desperate, and subject to the whims of her cruel father. Thanks to a marriage of convenience and her incredible skill as a lacemaker, she’s become an independent and wealthy woman. But when she’s once again thrust into a dangerous situation, she finds herself in London and knocking on the door of the husband she hasn’t seen since those war-torn years in Portugal. Catarina tells Benedict she wants an annulment, but when he argues against it, can she trust him enough to ask for what she really needs?

My thoughts:

I've enjoyed all of the books in Shana Galen's The Survivors series and have eagerly anticipated the journey to love of each of the men hand-picked by Lieutenant Colonel Benedict Draven. Like most readers, I thought Draven was a forty-something, confirmed bachelor dedicated to his career and his men. What a shock it was to learn during the last book in the series that Draven has a wife. A fiery, much younger, Portuguese wife! I couldn't wait for The Claiming of the Shrew to learn all the details of this stunning revelation and I'm happy to report that Draven and Catarina do not disappoint!

Galen takes one of my favorite historical tropes, marriage-of-convenience, and folds it into one of the most difficult (in my opinion) types of relationships to successfully portray: a May-December romance. That she does it with such ease and accuracy speaks to her skill both as a wordsmith and as an author who does her research. As someone who was the younger member of a happy, 25 year, May-December marriage, I can say with confidence that she nailed the dynamic of this particular type of relationship. I was especially moved by the strength of Catarina and the vulnerability of the older Draven, a man who - on paper - should have held the power in the relationship. Separating them for five years immediately following their vows gave each the opportunity to evolve and reunite on a more level playing field. It works beautifully. 

Woven into the romance is a suspense thread that brings danger to the mix along with a villain who is pure evil. Galen also introduces new Survivors to readers, ones I'm hoping we'll be seeing a lot more of in future books. 

While characters from previous books make appearances in this book, The Claiming of the Shrew stands well on its own and can be enjoyed equally by readers new to The Survivors as well as fans of the series. 

How do you feel about large age gaps between your fictional romance heroes and heroines? 


  1. I think for me, just as in real life, it depends on the story and characters. It isn't a trope I gravitate towards, but in the hands of the right writer, I'm sure I'd love that story...

  2. If I'm enjoying the characters (good or bad) I'm good with it. It happens in life. I've enjoyed her stories.

  3. If the age gap works with the story and characters, I enjoy reading about it. I pretty much expect some age gap with Historicals because of society and expectations for both men and women. In contemporaries, I do want the younger character to be at least an age of consent.

  4. Personally, I don't mind it. There was a 15 year age difference between my mom and dad and they had a wonderful marriage. I did read this book as I do nearly everything Shana has written to date and loved it. I agree that she handled the age difference very well. It's a trope that could be used a little more, IMHO.

  5. I don't like a huge age gap. I prefer for the "heroine" to be in her early twenties rather than a debutante.

  6. Personally I don't mind it. It happens in real life and as long it isn't a huge age gap, I'm okay with it

  7. It all depends on the story and how it's written.