I liked the story concept in To Stand Beside Her. I loved Nalik. He is kind, patient and not what you would expect. He has accepted his fate and the way he opened his heart to Anatolio, Phillip, Ruth and Tim was amazing. His love for Leila was beautiful. This is a king who was feared by the outside world but loved by those who knew him. He is a king who loves with all he is and who worries for his loved ones. He is a progressive king as well.
Leila was desired by all and they all tried to take her by force. Nalik gave her freedom and space. He respected her and treated her as an equal. He had her fight his men, got her thoughts and opinions and allowed her to come and go within reason (meaning as long as she wasn't in danger and she took her guards). This is the behavior that got Leila to begin to see the real Nalik. She saw beyond the mask of the kind and into his heart which was pure.
Leila, at times, I had issues with. She is a strong female lead but she is also one that can get on your nerves. She is judgmental and this rubbed me wrong. She was stubborn which is not a bad trait but it kept her from opening up at first. She has a fierce independent streak which is fun to see when she is interacting with Nalik who loves it as well. Her beginning treatment of Nalik I didn't like. Over time this changed and you could see the love and respect from Nalik was reciprocated back to him but it was rough going at first.
The plot was interesting and unique. I didn't expect the female to take such a lead role and be so prominent in all aspects of the story. The buildup of friendship, trust and love between Nalik and Leila was nice to see. For Nalik it was built over years and for Leila it was months. The story of Nalik was sad and beautiful. I love his acceptance of his fate and how he loved and lived for the moment and wholeheartedly.
The story was enjoyable and entertaining. The plot and danger that surrounded Leila as her and Nalik got to know each other, find friendship, trust and love with one another was gripping and kept you in the story. An enjoyable read overall.
To be the best courier in the world, eighteen-year-old Benét Leila follows three simple rules: always work alone, never stay in one place too long, and never fall in love. Too bad she didn't follow her own advice.
Leila is a courier. To the people she takes from, she is seen as a common thief; to the people she helps, she is a savior.
Nalick is your typical king. He's rich, powerful, and always assumed to be right. When Leila crosses paths with King Nalick, she finds herself trapped. In a rush to save her best friend Kay from a prison sentence for a crime Leila committed, Leila trades her hand in marriage in exchange for Kay’s freedom.
Tomboy Leila does not want to grow up, but in three months’ time, she will be married to King Nalick, if Nalick can keep his end of the bargain. First, Nalick must make Leila fall in love with him, a hard task since Leila is not ready to love again after losing her first love to a greedy king. Second, Nalick must keep her safe. He is not the only king trying to hold onto her. Leila has made many enemies over the years, and even more admirers that want her as a prize. Lastly, Nalick must convince Leila that ten years of love is better than a lifetime without. Unless Leila can trust her destiny, she might not reach her wedding day at all.