Token of Betrayal (Roses & Rebels Book 1)

Written by C.V. Lee
Review by Cindy Vallar

Jersey seems like a haven from the turmoil of war until an insider permits the French to seize the island fortress one night in 1461. Sir Philippe de Carteret sends word to the newly crowned English king, but he is too busy dealing with internal and external disputes to lend assistance, and Warwick, Lord of the Channel Islands, ignores all missives. To protect family and tenants, de Carteret pays homage to his new overlord while biding his time. Not everyone is willing to wait. While the French terrorize the islanders, another seigneur and a minister plot to drive away the French. It takes only the claims of a stranger to light their fuse.

Neither child nor adult, de Carteret’s nine-year-old son, also Philippe, finds life exceedingly frustrating. He forms an attachment to his new tutor, who came to Jersey after the House of York dethroned the House of Lancaster. When pirates attack one night, Philippe saves his tutor’s life but doesn’t fully comprehend her sufferings. Nor does he understand a fortuneteller’s prediction or his surreptitious visit to the French dungeons; both become haunting memories.

This first book in the Roses & Rebels series is a fictional rendering of France’s medieval invasion of the Channel Island and the resultant events, as well as a coming-of-age tale seen from the perspectives of father and son over nine years. Occasional word choices pull readers from the story, and one incident in an inn seems a bit contrived. Overall, Token of Betrayal is an interesting read depicting the Wars of the Roses from an unusual angle. The themes of growing up, loyalty, and the effects of war on regular people have relevance to readers today.