The Crimson Outlaw - Alex Beecroft 3 1/2 Hearts

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Vali might be heir to the local powerful boyar but it doesn't make him exempt from punishment, when he tries to save his sister from an unwanted marriage Vali begins to learn that his father isn't a good lord like he thought. Escaping from prison Vali is determined to return when he has proved himself, but he gets caught up in the plight of a local village and succumbs to a bandits seduction. Mihai is a bandit who wants revenge, his lord and many of his friends were killed when Vali's father, Wadim, wanted their land, now he does what he can to make life easier on all the villages under Wadim's rule. When he comes across Vali he expects to take him hostage to force Wadim's hand but he discovers the son is far different from the father and begins to fall for him. Both men have to fight for what they want but will they be able to get the results they both want without bloodshed?

This is a cute little story of wanted adventure and hard reality, of men from different walks of life meeting and loving and of a tyrant whose son finds it hard to hate him. Vali is a young man who doesn't realize his actions affect others, he doesn't think that his father is a bad lord even though he is a harsh father and he still has rose tinted glasses of what is happening in the world outside his castle. Mihai knows the truth about the tyranny of Wadim, he has lived through it and wants nothing more than to make the man pay, and he does so in a small way when he helps local villagers. When these two men come together they find common ground and an instant attraction that neither one fights.

This is a pretty good story that takes us back to a time when lords were god and everyone else were fodder. Vali is nineteen and sometimes comes across as whimsical in his feelings, he also seems to war with himself about his feelings for his father. He finally sees what his father is really like but still can't believe it, wanting to give his father the chance to do the right thing. Mihai has plans for Vali when he first discovers him but rapidly changes his mind, and the two together make a great couple as they recover and make plans. Vali doesn't make as much progress in the maturity stakes as you would expect with everything that he sees and goes through, it was more superficial stuff he thought of.

I recommend this if you love historicals with great details, bandits ravishing innocents, taking control of your life and finding happiness against the odds.