Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Review: Heirs & Spares

Written by J.L. Spohr, Heirs & Spares (Plum Street Press) takes place in 1569 while Queen Elizabeth sits upon the English throne and the Reformation inflames the Continent. But in Troixden, just north of France, Lady Annelore isn't interested in politics. Times are hard, taxes are high, and the people in her duchy need her help to survive. When Troixden's sadistic king dies childless, his younger brother William returns from exile to find his beloved country on the brink of war. He's in need of the stability that comes with a bride and heirs, but Annelore, his chosen queen, won't come quietly. Now the future of Toixden lines in the hands of two people who never wanted power and never dreamed that from duty and honor they might find love and the path to peace. 

★★★★ (4 out of 5)
This is definitely the type of novel I would pick up on my own in a bookstore. I'm a huge fan of British and European history (even though Troixden is a fake country) and love when it's intermixed with a story. I like learning and being entertained at the same time, and Heirs & Spares fit the bill perfectly because I learned about the time period and more about how people lived, while also being entertained by the romance and the court politics. Despite Troixden being a fake country, the history and the setting felt authentic.

My favorite thing about this novel is Lady Annelore of Beaubourg. She helped me get into the story because she's a likable main character; she's tough, independent, smart, and has a mind of her own. She doesn't want to leave her widowed father and her home because she knows the people in her duchy need her. She takes care of people by making remedies and by being a midwife, and she doesn't want to give that up at first, which I found completely understandable. Change can be scary.

I also liked the romance between Annelore and King William. It built up slowly, so it was believable, dramatic, cute, and romantic. I found myself rooting for them to fall in love, even though you knew it was inevitable.

I know this story is mostly about the romance, but I wanted more court intrigue and backstabbing. I felt like I was waiting for Annelore to really be mistrusted or backstabbed by someone she thought was a friend, but the court politics weren't as deceitful as I thought they would be. Everything seemed to fall into place too easily for Annelore and William. Maybe I'm just mean, but I wanted their hardships to really test them, but their problems (especially Annelore's) felt too easy to solve.

A times, King William seemed too nice and too great a guy. It's alright to be understanding, kind, and a great king, but it would've been more realistic if he had more flaws. Considering the stressful situations he was in at times, it would've been believable for him to say something he should've have because he was angry or confused. There were even sections in his point of view and yet I don't remember him thinking something real, something he would think but never say. I would've liked to get to know him better, for him to be more three-dimensional. 

Despite some flaws, this story kept me reading because of Annelore, the history, and of course the romance. 

Check out the newspaper that J.L. Spohr sent me:

Check out J.L. Spohr's website, podcast, Twitter & Facebook.

What do you think?
Will you be reading Heirs & Spares?

**I was given this book to review, but all opinions are my own.**

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  1. I will have to check out Heirs & Spares! I am always on the hunt for a new book!


  2. This sounds like an interesting read - I love historical fiction, I'll have to pick up a copy!

  3. Sounds interesting, thanks for the rec!

    If you like historical fiction with bits of mysticism, you may want to check out the Legends of Muirwood trilogy by Jeff Wheeler. It's kind of long and lulls through bits and pieces, but I had read through all three books in short order.

  4. Although I normally don´t read such novels, this sounds really interesting because I have the impression that the real life at this time is discribed. Thanks for this tip, dear Sara!

    xx Rena

    High quality give away on my blog for my dear readers ♥

  5. Thanks for your insightful review, Sara! If you're wanting more facets to William, hold on for book 2 "God & King." I think you'll be pleased.

  6. I am intrigued! I've been on a history kick lately, real or not, some I'm going to have to check this out

  7. It's a really fun book, so I think you'll enjoy it!

  8. Glad to hear it!! I'm excited to read book 2!

  9. Thanks, Rena! It's a really good book!

  10. I'm definitely going to check that book out! Thanks!

  11. I always look forward to your reviews! So pro and captivating again!


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Have a lovely day!
~Sara ♥

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