Title: KING OF THE SOUTH
Series: BELGRAVE DYNASTY #1
Author: CALIA READ
Publication Date: FEBRUARY 21, 2020
The year is 1919, and the Great War has ended. As everyone picks up the pieces of their lives, I have only copious amounts of alcohol and women keeping me together.
Most of the men I went to war with didn’t make it home, including my best friend, Miles. I thought I knew everything about him until I discovered he made me the executor to his little sister Rainey’s dowry.
Rainey Pleasonton is anything but pleasant. Most men in Charleston found her wild and carefree ways to be terrifying, which explained why she was twenty-eight and still unmarried.
I have sixty days to help her find a husband before she loses her inheritance, her family’s legacy, and I lose the rest of my sanity.
The only problem is, I’ve watched her go from a little girl who chased us around with a bow and arrow to the only woman in the South immune to my charm. And the men who were once scared of Rainey? They now find my le savauge beguiling, and I do not care for it one bit…King of the South is a very marvelous story that took place in an old era. I did read some Historical Romance before, but not like this. I’ve never read anything like this before. I was blown away by how excellent and well-written the story is. Now I’m not sure whether there will be any books that can top this one.
I was really excited to read this one after I heard so many good things about the previous series, The Surviving Time series, written by the same author too. If you haven’t read it yet, don’t worry because this book won’t be confusing to you. However, characters that appeared in this book also appeared in the previous series since this is some sort of a continuation—but, not really—except this time around the focus is on Livingston and Rainey instead of Étienne and Serene (the focus of the previous series). I’m just so grateful to be able to read Livingston and Rainey’s story, and to see them getting their chance to tell their story in this one.
This book makes Livingston and Rainey shine more than they did in the previous series. They don’t have a major role previously, but since this is their book, it’s only logical that both of them were given a major role in the story. The role they play is very important to the story, and why it was connected to Rainey’s brother’s will.
Reading this book reminded me of The Bachelorette show, in which the woman has to meet the bachelors in order to find a suitable partner, but make it the old era style. Honestly, I didn’t expect this at all but I really liked how it all went. The story is more relaxing, nothing too intense but still very enjoyable to read. However, there are some challenges that the characters had to face in order to get their happily ever after. I really liked the direction the author went for and was satisfied by how the story went. The whole process was really long but worth it. Also, the angst…I thought I wouldn’t survive due to all the angst. Thankfully I did even though I was struggling so hard because of it. The angsty element will either make you want to cry or scream, there is no in-between. But still, you will love it after you suffered from the angst. I ended up loving this book way too much, but I’m not complaining since this book has a unique story.
As for the ending, it was exactly like what I hoped for. It was so satisfying to see how it ended, and I had a huge smile on my face after reading the ending. But…I was shocked at what was being revealed in the epilogue chapter. I was nervous and scared something might happen to Livingston and Rainey, but was glad knowing they were fine. And since this book is a standalone in the Belgrave Dynasty series, so it’s safe to guess that the next book will focus on Asa and Nathalie due to the epilogue is from Nat’s POV. There was a shocking thing about what she will do next, and I can’t wait to read her story and find out more about her agenda. I can already sense that it will be more intense.
This book mainly focus on finding a husband for Rainey, and the one to help her is Livingston. It was stated in her brother’s will, so you see how stress I was with the whole ‘find a husband’ thing knowing Rainey and Livingston are meant to be together. The fact that the list of bachelors that can be her potential husband doesn’t even include Livingston’s name made it more stressful for me than it already is. My poor heart really suffered so much reading this book. Not going to lie, I did cry actually. The story was so beautiful, and yet it was so emotionally sad. My heart hurts for two fictional characters who just want to love each other but scared because the hero is a broken man who thought he wasn’t good enough, and the heroine was afraid of a rejection so she kept her feelings hidden for as long as she can.
The story really took an emotional turn when Livingston and Rainey confessed their feelings and the ballroom scene when they dance together. My heart felt so heavy at those scenes and I can’t stop my tears from falling. Those two moments was beautiful even though it was actually emotional. But it help proven that they do belong to each other.
Livingston has been shown as this very broken man. He was still the same him but there was a little bit different about him. A war can changed a man, and that’s what it did to Livingston. I really feel bad for him, for all the sufferings he had to endured. He had nightmares that haunt him at night and it took him longer to be able to function normally. I understood the reason why he was so afraid to fall in love, he couldn’t take care of himself so what makes him able to take care of someone else? When he was questioning himself, I wanted to give him a hug. He deserve a happiness, he deserve to fall in love with Rainey since they knew each other from the moment Rainey was born. She is his soulmate, and nobody can deny it.
Livingston was a lot of things, not only was he charming and playful, but he was also a nice gentleman with a heart of gold even though be always underestimated himself. Yes he is a well-known womanizer, but that side of him completely stop the moment he spend a lot of his time being intimate with Rainey. I like the fact that he changed himself to be better later on. He gets a good character development in the story and I really loved how well-developed his character has become in this one. There are so many sides of him that can be seen in this book, especially the vulnerable side of him which was really-really rare to see. It was like seeing a different Livingston than the one from the previous series. I really dig the version of Livingston in this one. And one last thing, he is one of the most swoon-worthy man, the way he just whispered filthy things in French was deliciously hot.
As for Rainey, this woman has a lot of surprises. Her character surprised me a lot. She wasn’t only stubborn, but she was also this strong and independent woman who doesn’t care what others said about her. She just mind her own business instead of being a busybody. Rainey is a real badass, I mean who carried a bow and arrow like it was a normal thing and then shot someone to give them a small injury (not deadly) because that someone was pissing her off? Only Rainey Pleasonton did that. Her character is very intimidating. She can be scary and have a soft heart at the same time.
The soft side of Rainey is very different than the intimidating side of her. I really like seeing the softness she showed Livingston the more they spend their time being intimate to each other. Seeing her taking care of him, and to see how much she cared for him and also how much she wanted to fix him and help him get rid of his nightmares really showed a different side of her. It really brings out the womanly/feminine side of Rainey Pleasonton. She can adapt into so many sides, like she can be tough and intimidating, and she can also be soft and more feminine like any other well-mannered women. Rainey is a different kind of woman, she’s unique in her own way, and that’s what make her character special. She may not be like Serene and Nathalie, but she can still blend in with them so easily. Finding a heroine like Rainey is hard, not many authors managed to write and make such heroine justice, but Calia did a very good job at writing Rainey’s character and making Rainey unique and far different than most heroines.
The romance of Livingston and Rainey was beautiful in so many ways with a little bit of complication. It was so wonderful to witness how far they have come, from being childhood friends to two people who couldn’t stand each other to friends again and then to lovers who finally get their happily ever after. The whole process was really long and so challenging but it was really worth the wait even though I had to suffered from the angst as a reader. These two trying to reach their happy ending was tough, so many things tried to tear them apart; first, the whole bachelor thing, and then a man out of nowhere trying to get Rainey’s attention. I was so stressed out and so frustrated knowing these two had to go through all of that, but I managed to keep calm a little bit knowing that no matter what challenges Livingston and Rainey had to face, the ending will end with them sorting out the mess and finally be together.
They are each other’s soulmate, from the beginning it was proven that they only belong to one another. Their relationship had a rocky start, but later on it become more smooth. The development of their relationship was really amazing, and I loved seeing how far their relationship have come. The whole thing was just them trying to find and understand the meaning of love since it was a new territory for them. Both of them were scared to fall in love for different reasons, which I really understood. It took them really long to realize and acknowledge their feelings. Their journey was wonderful with a little bit of sadness and pain, but it ended beautifully and just as what I expected.
Other characters like Étienne, Serene, and Nathalie also made an appearance in this book which was really cool to see. Seeing these gang back together again made me happy even though a lot has changed. They really need to figure out what was the deal with Nathalie. As much as this story was intense, I’m sure Nathalie’s story will be a lot more intense than this one. I’m so looking forward to see everyone back again in the next book.
If you want to read this book, you better prepare your heart because this book will crush you, hurt you and break your heart into million pieces, and then it will mend your heart in the end. This is the type of book that I can’t just forget, this story will stick with me for the rest of my life because it was so unique and extremely beautiful. Plus, Livingston Lacroix isn’t exactly a man you can just forget once you close this book. This beautiful broken man and Rainey Pleasonton the brave and tough woman are the characters that you can’t get rid of, they are the type of characters that will stay in your memories. Their journey in this book was phenomenal, and I really adored these two. Any historical romance fans should read this one, and if you’re not one of them then I suggest you to try and give it a chance. Calia really deserve a standing ovation for writing this book, she really is an outstanding author.