Blog Blitz: Bound to Her Blood Enemy by Tora Williams

Today I’m helping to wish debut author Tora Williams a fabulous book birthday! Bound to Her Blood Enemy, a gripping historical fiction set in medieval England and Wales, is published today, and I’m bringing you my review as part of a publication day blitz organised by Rachel’s Random Resources.

Synopsis

BoundtoHerBloodEnemy_w12430_750Norman heiress, Matilda Comyn is desperate to escape her grasping guardian and reclaim her inheritance. After a lifetime of being let down by men, she wants to rule her lands on her own terms. She can’t escape without help and battles her mistrust when compelled to join forces with a Welsh spy.

Huw Ap Goronwy has a rival claim to Matilda’s castle and has sworn a blood oath against the Comyns. When his king rules they must marry, he struggles to reconcile his attraction with his need for revenge. But they must form a truce if they are to seize their castle.

Risking capture and death, they will only succeed if Matilda learns to trust, and Huw allows his love for Matilda to overcome his need for revenge.

Purchase Links
Amazon (UK): https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D6FT4HH
Amazon (US): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D6FT4HH
The Wild Rose Press Catalogue: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/paperback-books/5938-bound-to-her-blood-enemy-paperback.html

 

About the Author

VickiBeeby-author-picTora lives in Shropshire in the United Kingdom. On childhood holidays her interest in history was fired by exploring castles in Wales and the Welsh borders, and she would make up stories about characters living there. When she started writing, it seemed only natural to turn to the settings that inspired her as a child. In her free time, when she can drag herself away from reading, she enjoys walking and cycling.

Social Media Links
Blog:
http://www.torawilliams.uk/blog
Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/ToraWilliamsAuthor/
Twitter: @ToraWilliams1

 

And now for my thoughts…

 

Review

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in this publication day event, and for providing me with an ARC of the book. All opinions are my own.

This book had me at the words “Welsh” and “castle”.

As a Welsh person who grew up just inside the Welsh border, I am very well-versed in the centuries of conflict between the Welsh and the neighbouring English. I remember school trips to some of the old castles in the Welsh Marches, where teachers would tell stories of the Welsh princes and the Marcher Lords – and in Bound to Her Blood Enemy, Tora Williams brought the history to life for me.

The novel’s opening instantly drew me in, with an intriguing introduction to Matilda Comyn, our protagonist, and a mysterious figure who has just made an appearance at the castle gates. From there the story continues at a good pace, with plenty of action, adventure and romance to keep me gripped the whole way through.

One of my favourite aspects of the book was the slow-burning romance between Matilda and Huw. Although the chemistry was there from the beginning, both Matilda and Huw were flawed individuals with demons to conquer and baggage to deal with along the way, so the development of their relationship felt believable and natural.

The real strength of the novel, however, was in Tora Williams’ ability to capture perfectly the tension between the Welsh prince Owain Gwynedd’s people and Matilda Comyn’s Norman family. Matilda, with a Norman father and Welsh mother, finds herself stuck somewhere between the two nations as she struggles to fit in. Her journey to find herself and where she belongs was so relatable, and it really made me feel for Matilda as a character.

Overall, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read. If you love adventurous medieval tales of castles, blood feuds and romance, then you should definitely give this a read!

 

 

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Down the TBR Hole #2

For the original post in this series, click here.

Web

I’m back for round #2 of  Lost in a Story’s fabulous method of conquering your TBR. Last time saw me only get rid of 1 book, which has me wondering if this will get easier with time!

Here’s how it works (taken directly from the source):

  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?

So, let’s get started…

The Books

The Power

The Power by Naomi Alderman
This is one of those books I’ve seen everywhere. The premise is an interesting one: a dystopian world where women have the power to kill with their touch. I’ve heard people recommend it for fans of The Handmaid’s Tale – a book I did enjoy reading last year – so I think I’ll give this one a go and see what all the hype is about!

Judgement: KEEP

 

 

The Lost LetterThe Lost Letter by Mimi Matthews
I first found out about this novel through following Mimi’s blog – one of the first I ever followed. I love reading her posts about snippets of Victorian history, so I was very excited to discover she had a Victorian historical romance novel coming out. I expect this to be sweet and well-researched, which sounds like something I’ll love!

Judgement: KEEP

 

 

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle, #1)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
This one is a tough choice for me. I’ve heard good things about this series from several people whose opinions I trust – but do I really need to be introducing another YA fantasy series into my life right now? In all honesty, there are several YA fantasy series higher on my priority list for the time being, and I can’t see myself starting on this one anytime soon.

Judgement: GO

 

 

Eliza and Her Monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia
This is another book which has received SO MUCH HYPE – every single review I’ve read/watched has been pretty much unanimous in its praise. It centres around a girl who creates a webcomic – which has that online community setting I loved so much about Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – and apparently it has some really good mental health representation. Sounds like a winner to me!

Judgement: KEEP

 

 

Traitor's KnotTraitor’s Knot by Cryssa Bazos
I originally added this to my TBR in a bid to diversify my historical fiction reading. I tend to stick mostly to 19th and 20th century settings, but the English Civil War setting of this novel captured my interest. Unfortunately, though, it keeps getting pushed to the back of the queue, and I think I’ve come to the conclusion that I shouldn’t feel bad about sticking mainly to 19th and 20th century historical fiction, because that’s just what I enjoy the most.

Judgement: GO

 

Results

This Round: Kept 3/5
Overall: Kept 7/10

 

 

Review: Glass Roses by Britain Kalai Soderquist

To me, this book felt like a warm hug or a cosy blanket. It was comforting, uplifting and pure joy to read.

The premise is an interesting one: a retelling of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, set in the early Victorian period – a perfect combination of 19th century historical fiction and fairytale retellings, which are two of my favourite things to read! This isn’t any magic in this book; it’s a straight-up, clean historical romance, perfect for Austen fans.

What makes this novel extra unique is that it’s told in epistolary form. The characters of Eleanor and Isabella (Cinderella and Belle) are cousins through the remarriage of Eleanor’s father to Isabella’s aunt, and the story is told through the cousins’ regular correspondence. The epistolary format meant that this wasn’t a fast, action-packed novel, but I actually found that to be a merit as it made the letters feel very authentic.

Another point to note about the format is that the author set herself an additional challenge in writing the whole novel in keeping with period language and tone – a challenge which was met with impressive ease. Whilst completely immersed in the story, it was so easy to believe that these letters really had been written by two young ladies during the 1840s.

In terms of plot, I thought the fairytales were introduced in a very clever way. The elements of the original stories didn’t feel forced, but rather were subtle additions which made me smile. I particularly liked the way Cinderella’s role as servant to her stepsisters was brought in by having Eleanor forced to play the pianoforte at evening events so that her sisters could dance, whilst rarely being given the opportunity herself.

I can sometimes find that the characters of Cinderella and Belle a bit dull in retellings – but here I thought each character had a unique voice and personality. The dual storyline also gave an interesting structure to the plot, leading to ebbs and flows which kept me wanting to read on.

All in all, this was a truly lovely and unique historical fiction which completely swept me up in its romance. If you’re a fan of well-researched historical fiction with main characters to root for and love interests you wish could be real, then I think you will love it too!