Saturday, July 6, 2013
Heirs & Spares by J.L. Spohr
It’s 1569. Elizabeth I sits on the English throne, the Reformation inflames the Continent, and whispers of war abound.
But in Troixden, just north of France, the Lady Annelore isn’t interested in politics. Times are hard, taxes are high, and the people in her duchy need her help just to survive. Her widowed father is a good man easily distracted by horses, and her newly knighted childhood friend…well, he has plans of his own.
Then Annelore receives a call she can’t ignore.
When Troixden’s sadistic king died childless, his younger brother William returns from exile to find his beloved country on the brink of civil war. He’s in desperate need of the stability that comes with a bride and heirs. But Annelore, his chosen queen, won’t come quietly.
Now the future of Troixden lies in the hands of two people who never wanted the power they’ve received and never dreamed that from duty and honor they might find love and a path to peace.
Ultimately, this book was a disappointing read. Though both Anna and Wills show sparks of character, in the end they simply aren't fleshed out enough to really pull in the reader. The story is extremely choppy- every scene is too short and cuts off before any true depth can appear in either plot or characters. Several plot elements also seem unrealistic (like a king traveling around to choose a bride rather than having his courtiers present themselves at court) which undermines the narrative. The court intrigues are shallow and never really gel into true drama, perhaps because all the characters are two dimensional at best. This book has the elements of a good read, but simply never develops enough to become one.