Two souls intertwined. One epic love story.
Get swept away in the passionate romance between political opposites Caroline Gerard and Jack McIntyre in the first half of The Bellator Saga.
This set contains the first three books in the series, Dissident, Conscience, and Sojourn.
Rising Democratic star Caroline Gerard is reluctant to fall in love again after losing her husband. Can Republican playboy Jack McIntyre break through her grief and capture her heart? Told mostly in flashback and set against a chilling fascist backdrop, Dissident is a rollercoaster ride of political intrigue, passionate romance, and undying love.
Caroline faces the biggest challenge of her life when confronted with the cruelty and sadism of her captors at The Fed. Hope fades quickly, even as she holds onto her one last bit of sanity and her unshakable belief that her husband will rescue her. But is that faith just a mirage?
Reeling from her experiences at The Fed, Caroline tries to forge ahead and create a new identity. But that’s hard to do with the ghosts of the past constantly whispering in her ear. She is determined to find the rebellion and move on with her life, but what will she find when she arrives there?
This is gonna be one interesting review, I think, and a loooong one at that (I won’t even go into how long it took me to write this one)… There’s so much to say and so many emotions to convey… Should I do this in chunks? Do I do it as a whole? Where do I even start?
This came highly recommended by a friend on Goodreads, and now I know why. If I can give this book more than 5 stars, there is no doubt that I would! I haven’t felt like this about a book in a while, honestly… And considering the amount of books I read, I sometimes feel certain stories are a dime a dozen, so for this book to leave me gobsmacked at the end is quite a feat. And to think this is just the first 3 trilogy!!
Let’s start with the series title, “The Bellator Saga”. Bellator means “warrior”, in Latin. In and of itself, it’s got oomph, don’t ya think? And within this trilogy are the books Dissident, Conscience, and Sojourn. These titles alone definitely give you an idea of what you will be in for. Very clever!
This is the story of Caroline and Jack (Btw, very Kennedy-esque, eh? No? Just me?) This is their journey told in third-person and from Caroline’s perspective. It moved between flashbacks and the present alternately. So while I feared for the things happening currently and my anxiety level remains high, Caroline and Jack’s love story was unfolding thru the flashback and I was falling in love with them and couldn’t help but get all hot and bothered along the way.
They’re both politicians on the rise. Their first encounter was far from congenial but from that first encounter grew a friendship which blossomed into more. And in a way, you can say they live happily ever after. But as their relationship solidifies, there are things happening in the country, things that both Caroline and Jack can’t ignore and because of that, sacrifices have to be made, actions had to be taken.
If I can quickly sum up my take of each book, this is how it would look:
Dissident: lays a good foundation for what’s to come. You get to know Caroline. You start getting glimpses of what’s to come down the road, esp for Caroline. You see Caroline and Jack fall in love.
Conscience: is the hardest to get past thru. While you continue to get flashback to see how Caroline and Jack’s relationship progress, you get more of what’s happening in the present, what was happening to Caroline, to be exact, and it wasn’t pretty at all. Cecilia did not gloss over any of the atrocities and it was brutal to read.
Sojourn: shows how Caroline is starting to recover. But there’s much more to be done. Caroline and Jack on the one hand continue to be solid in their relationship as you read thru the flashback.
One the one hand, I personally am glad that I got to read this in its entirety as I think it enhanced the emotions reading the 3 books within it one after another. But on the other, now here I am, about to ramble, to try to express how much I LOVE this series…
The storyline alone gives you such fodder for contemplation. Cecilia categorized this as an erotic political thriller. I couldn’t agree more. This is romance, yes; romance layered with heat, suspense, and action. There’s also a dystopian feel to it that feels contemporary at the same time, especially considering the times the Americans are in at this very moment. It’s fascinating in a disturbing but also inspirational way.
The prologue alone hooks you right in. Immediately, the questions begin. Immediately, you feel the suspense. Immediately, you get a sense of the strength of the characters.
The characters alone give a lot of room for good discussion. After everything I’ll write, I don’t think I’ll be able to cover everything I want to, which goes to show the care that Cecilia took in developing them.
I love how Caroline and Jack are on equal footing. Both are smart and intelligent, passionate in their beliefs albeit not always coming from the same side, have very strong commitment to their civic duties, and confident with and despite of their personal insecurities. Caroline with her feminist inclination, surrounded by similarly strong friends, embodies, in my mind, what young girls should aspire to be. And Jack is the man that a woman like Caroline deserves. So what you get then is the ultimate power couple.
Their times together are impressive, witty, and explosive. There’s something to be said about the maturity of these characters. There’s a formality to some of their exchange that just seems fitting but also very heartfelt. While pretentious if taken out of context, it’s appropriate, for lack of better word. And as much as I almost want to say that things moved at a sluggish pace at times, I also realized I needed to read them all to get a full sense of their story. I suppose my anxiety didn’t help in that I just want to speed things up.
And with all the things happening, not only did I fell in love with Caroline and Jack, but I became just as enamored with Caroline’s friends. My heart broke over and over for Caroline and her friends the way things were unfolding in the present. The brutality was hard to stomach at times. I was getting just as angry and impassioned. I seriously hope one character will get his comeuppance in the hands of both Caroline and Jack.
Considering how this book ended, which means it’s the end of Sojourn, you know their fight has barely started. No matter what’s in store for Caroline and Jack, they’ve already made their marks in my mind. I bet I will cringe, I will swoon, I will be anxious, I will be smiling, I will be a lot of things, and none and all of that will matter because I’m already sold right from the prologue, and I just want to be taken thru their journey in all its glory.
My, my, my I think this is one of the longest reviews I have ever written! Yet I feel like I can talk about it some more. But I won’t. I’ve subjected you enough to my ramblings…
I say just friggin’ read it!!!!!
Cecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She's filled several roles over the course of her adult life - licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series. You can catch all of her quirky updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or at her website.