Eleanor and the Iron King by Julie Daines
Eleanor de Lacy is forced into an arranged marriage with her father’s greatest enemy, Brac Goch, the Welsh king. All Eleanor knows of Brac is that he is a ruthless, war hungry man.
Eleanor arrives at the Welsh castle of Bryn Du already expecting the worst. When the ghost of Brac Goch’s first wife appears and warns her that the Welsh king is not to be trusted, all of Eleanor’s fears are confirmed.
As the countdown to her wedding day approaches, Eleanor must figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth, who is loyal, and who is the traitor--and most of all, if she can love an enemy king.
I love reading a book where the minute it's over, I want to start reading it again. That's how I felt with this book. I've already recommended it to my reading friends, and like I said, I can't wait to read it again.
Brac Goch is awesome. Gotta love a strong male lead like him. Sometimes Eleanor made me want to shake her, but really, with everything she's gone through how she reacts to things is completely believable. Overall, I liked her as well.
Some of the mystery I was able to guess at, but I was surprised by some parts. I don't read a lot of Welsh literature (I find the names really distracting :) so this historical fiction was a new one for me, but it was very well done. I especially appreciated the pronunciation guide at the front of the book.
Content wise it has some blood and some...dark magic? People think Eleanor is a witch, which she isn't, but there is a witch in the story and some darker elements, so if you are sensitive to that you need to be aware that it's there. Otherwise, there is no swearing or sex. I'd give it a clean rating (if I rated things like that).
I really liked this book. So much so that it was my nightly reward for working hard each day. I am once again reminded how blessed I am to be living in this time and this country where I am free to make my own choices. I can't even imagine how horrible it would be to be given in marriage to the enemy, all for the sake of peace. I kept thinking that I would probably just run away if I had been put in the same situation.
While my heart ached for Eleanor and her situation, she was unbelievably stubborn and pig-headed in her attitude towards Brac Goch. No matter how nice he was to her, she would only rarely return the favor.
The characters were all really well developed and I finished the story wanting a whole lot more. Maybe a sequel in the future? :)
I am also eternally grateful to the author for putting the Welsh pronunciations in the beginning of the book. I always struggle reading books with Welsh names, because I have no clue how to pronounce them, so that really helped.
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Title: Eleanor and the Iron King
Author: Julie Daines
Publisher: Covenant Communications Inc.
Published: August 2015
Source: We received copies from the publisher in exchange for a review.
Purchase: Amazon | Deseret Book