My dear bookish friends,
I have another historical fiction for you today that you really should check out! I have been reading more of them recently and they are definitely growing on me again after not reading them for a while! Here are the plus points about the book:
+ Beautiful cover and artwork
+ Unique setting
+ Interesting characters
+ A time period that’s not talked about enough
If this sounds like something you might like, then you should really keep on reading!
A huge thank you as always to TheWriteReads, the author, and the publisher for my ebook and my spot on this tour (none of which influenced my review or rating in any way).
About the Book
Seventeen-year-old Thekla needs her quick wits and knife to track down her betrothed, a soldier who has left her at the altar for the third time. Elias the monk travels with her to Constantinople where she meets Irini of Athens, an extraordinarily beautiful orphan her same age who has been brought by powerful Emperor Constantine to marry his son, Co-Emperor Leon. The two women join forces to survive this vigorous capital of the Roman Empire of the East which is rocked by religious and political strife. But will Thekla help the ambitious and ruthless Irini of Athens find the power that she craves?
Betrothal and Betrayal (shoutout for the great title by the way, I love me a good alliteration!) is largely set in the ancient city of Byzantium / Constantinople / Istanbul … gosh, so many names for this city, which really was one of the most important cities in the world for thousands of years, but is so often overlooked when it comes to modern fiction. I know a few other reviewers have said this, but how often do you see novels based in the Eastern Roman Empire? Very rarely really, and after reading this one I feel this should really change! (Also, Istanbul is beautiful and there are cats everywhere, so you should really visit!)
But back to the book. The main character, Thekla, is a 17 year old girl, who has yet again been stood up at the altar. But this time she is not standing for it. I have to say I was a bit intimidated by the book at first, although it is not actually that long there seemed to be a huge list of characters to keep up with, and it is definitely a bit heavier and more complex than the books I’m usually going for, but so worth a read regardless, once you get into it. We see the emperor’s army arriving from some war on the fringes of the empire and are given a big list of the different royals and other characters and honestly I found it really hard to remember any of them. I’d have preferred if the author had moved a bit more slowly here, but I do see this happening with historical fiction often, so I wasn’t too surprised.
Luckily though as the book progresses the author focuses on Thekla and Elias and those around them, and that’s when things start to become easier. Thekla herself is full of attitude and makes for a great MC, and I must give a nod of appreciation to the authors descriptions and historical research, which really helped to immerse me in the story. We don’t see as much of Irini as I had expected, but I think being the first in the series this is just giving us a taster of her.
All in all I think its a great historical fiction, in a more unusual setting and a solid 4 star read. I can’t wait to find out how the series continues!
Thank you all so much for reading!