Monday, 1 February 2016

Heirs & Spares by J L Spohr

Title: Heirs & Spares
Series: The Realm Series (#1)
Author: J L Spohr
From: Netgalley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: 4th June 2013
Challenges: Winter COYER 2015-2016, 2016 Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge, 2016 Blogger Shame
Links: Goodreads - Amazon

To Lady Annelore Carver's dismay she has been chosen as one of the candidates to be the next Queen of Troixden. Loath to leave her life of freedom behind, she judges King William based on the actions of his brother. William is conflicted about the need to marry someone he does not know, but knows that it is best for his kingdom. But once the two of them are married, William will stop at nothing to win his wife over, and much to Annelore's surprise, she actually finds that she may come to like her new husband...

Heirs & Spares is a real lesson to me in checking what a book is before reading it. I basically went back to one of the last pages on my kindle and picked a book (making judgements based on the title). As such I didn't get what I expected (I was expecting a modern satire not historical fiction). It took me a little while to get into this book, but once I did I actually really enjoyed it.

William went through a real transformation for me. At the beginning of the book my thoughts were in line with Annelore's (that he was basically a bit of a tyrant) but by about a quarter of the way through I actually found myself liking him. Then he started growing on me more and more, and by the time the two of them got married I was actively routing for him.

FYI, I did just have to google whether Troixden was a real country/duchy because I wasn't sure. I don't think it is but I am open to being proved wrong. However I did think that the author caught the political (read: religious) tensions of the era (the equivalent of Elizabethan England, Elizabeth I is mentioned as the reigning monarch which was good for context) and the rise of Protestantism in Germany. It worked well to provide an outwards tension on the country and on William.

The romance between William and Annelore was very sweet (well at first...then it got a little suggestive though not explicit). After their marriage the two of them work on becoming friends and then grow into more. I did think it was quite obvious that that is what was going to happen, but I enjoyed watching it all the same.

Naturally Court politics played a part in this book, and again I thought that that was well done. I did catch on to who the snake in the grass was, and I also caught onto what they were doing before the reveal, which did have me a bit proud of myself I will admit.

This was an enjoyable read that grew on me as I read it!