Hello all book friends!
I hope you are doing well on this very wet Wednesday, at least its very wet here in Stavanger. Yesterday we had 17 degrees and today we have the kind of weather that just makes you want to snuggle up and read a good book. I’ve restarted the Kingsbridge series since I’ve started to subscribe to Storytel again and Ken Follett tends to write rather thick books so I’ll be listening to the series instead of reading it since my TBR just seems bigger than ever! Sadly, today my book focus has to be on schoolbooks but not until I’ve reviewed this historical romance for you! The synopsis is borrowed from Goodreads:
AD 71. Banished from the nemeton, becoming a priestess is no longer the future for Nara, a princess of the Selgovae tribe. Now charged with choosing a suitable mate before Beltane, her plan is thwarted by Lorcan, an enemy Brigante prince, who captures her and takes her to his hill fort. Despite their tribes fighting each other, Nara feels drawn to her captor, but time runs out for her secret quest.
As armies of the Roman Empire march relentlessly northwards, Lorcan intends to use Nara as a marriage bargain, knowing all Celtic tribes must unite to be strong enough to repel imminent Roman attack. Nara’s father, Callan, agrees to a marriage alliance between Selgovae and Brigante, but has impossible stipulations. Lorcan is torn between loyalty to his tribe and growing love for Nara.
The Beltane Choice wasn’t my typical read topicwise but as you know I like to venture out of my preferred reading genres from time to time. I wasn’t blown away by the story because I found it to be rather lacking in context from the very beginning. The part that intrigued me most came towards the end of the book and at the end there was also a historical context placing the book in the wider perspective of world history. I think I would have preferred the historical context to be at the beginning of the story rather than at the end because when I read it the story made a lot more sense to me when I viewed it in the light of the historical context.
As far as setting goes I found it to be very in line with its time. I haven’t read much about the Celts before. I’ve only seen a few movies and read rather few books on the topic (I prefer books from the Tudor times and forwards) so I believe that in this sense the Celtic Fervour series can be a good way to start. Why? The language is easy, there is a glossary at the end which shows that Jardine has put research effort into the book, and sometimes I find that fiction-based books with a bit of truth to them can be a better introduction to a topic than a non-fiction book. Some may not agree since fiction can take liberties but I will argue that if a fiction book excites you then it might be easier to transfer this excitement to a non-fiction book in order to learn the reality of the fiction that excited you in the first place. I believe that we can have a full argument on that so if you feel like I’m wrong, don’t be afraid to let me know!
Characterwise Jardine has placed a strong female character in the book’s center which can’t go wrong right? I love several of Nara’s characteristics and even though her life hasn’t always been easy, these characteristics have been brought into her personality simply because of her lifeevents and now that I’ve read the book I wouldn’t want her without any of these characteristics! Lorcan is the main male character but I actually want to give a shoutout to Brennus, Lorcan’s brother, and when you’ve read the story you’ll understand why. Brennus to me portrays true honorability and respect for those around him and he wants to do everything possible for his family. Locan isn’t anything less of a character, and he is indeed strong and fits the perfect description of a hero but sometimes that isn’t what excites me when I read a book. Yes, of course we need the hero but sometimes they aren’t the one’s I choose to acknowledge. Why do you ask? I think that in this book the whole relationship between Nara and Lorcan became a bit too obvious for me which in some sense ruined Lorcan as a character a bit. I’m however hopeful that this impression of Lorcan can be restored in the next book as I’m on a blog tour for that one as well. In fact, I’m on a blog tour for this entire series, four books in total, and I have high hopes due to the ending of the first book that I will enjoy the others to come! So I won’t give up on Lorcan yet! Besides, it’s not like I hate him it’s just that in this book I found another character that I believed stronger than him which sometimes happen.
The Beltane Choice has many good aspects to its story and is thus a good start to a series that I’m excited to follow further. A bit alteration concerning the historical context at the end of the book and I would have understood more right away but with a good ending and the seemingly promise of more drama in the books to come makes up for it. Adolescents and grown-ups who really enjoy romance novels will probably love this a tat more than I did, but all in all it was a good reading experience and I’ll recommend it to my fellow readers who love romance novels!
Nancy Jardine writes historical fiction; time-travel historical adventure; contemporary mystery thrillers; and romantic comedy. She lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, where life is never quiet or boring since she regularly child minds her young grandchildren who happen to be her next-door neighbours. Her garden is often creatively managed by them, though she does all the work! Her husband is a fantastic purveyor of coffee and tea…excellent food and wine! (Restorative, of course) A member of the Historical Novel Society; Scottish Association of Writers; Federation of Writers Scotland; Romantic Novelists’ Association and the Independent Alliance of Authors, her work has achieved finalist status in UK competitions.
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Amazon Author page: http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere
Genre: Historical romance
Theme: War, family, love
The Book Reader