Eleanor and the Iron King
by Julie Daines
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Page Count: 224
Release Date: August 1, 2015
How got: ARC copy from NetGalley
First attention getter: pretty cover and setting
Eleanor de Lacy has been bartered: her hand in marriage in exchange for a truce with her father’s sworn enemy.
Now the headstrong beauty must leave her ancestral home and the man she secretly loves to become the wife of the infamous Welsh king, Brach Goch. Tales of this cruel leader paint a chilling picture of a ruthless warrior, and all Eleanor knows for certain is that he is the villain responsible for the vicious attacks on her people and the death of her beloved brother.
Though she must marry against her will, she vows Brach Goch will never possess her heart. Her arrival at the inhospitable castle Bryn Du confirms her worst fears—a ghost walks the halls of the castle, and Eleanor receives an ominous warning from the uneasy spirit: Brach is not to be trusted.
Though resigned to a life of misery, Eleanor soon realizes all is not as it seems, for Brach is not the monster she dreaded but is a handsome and charming man whose gentle ways soon undermine her resolve to lock her heart. Clinging desperately to her pride, Eleanor finds herself trapped in a web of murder and deceit. And as the lines between good and evil become blurred, Eleanor must decide for herself who is to be trusted—and loved.
Star Rating - 1.5
Oh this book….. So much promise with so much flat return. I had high hopes with an intriguing setting and a potentially lovely romance (the arranged marriage gimmick is a new love for me). With an added supernatural flair, I was expecting a great book. Yet sadly, this book failed to deliver on almost everything.
I did like the Welsh, medieval setting. It was nicely pulled off with green, misty hills and forests. There was a certain air of mystical potential that I liked. There were also moments in the romance that I liked too. When Eleanor could actually deem to trust Brach and have an actual conversation/interaction, I liked how they played off each other. They had the potential to be a great romantic duo.
Where things started to go wrong quickly was the main character. She started out OK with some nice spunk to her. Unfortunately, she turned into the worst sort of shallow, stupid, and teenage YA heroine. She rushes into situations without the slightest pretense to planning. Stubbornly refuses to change her opinions or viewpoints after presented with evidence. She constantly jumps to conclusions on the flimsiest of information. And she doesn’t have the sense of a dodo bird in whom she trusts or how she acts.
Brach was much better, probably because he’s older and more mature. Yet, we’re given such little time with him that the reader isn’t given much of a chance to get to know him deeper. I found this very odd for a historical romance as it takes two to have such a relationship. So much time is given to Eleanor and her bungling antics that Brach is left in the dark most of the time.
The supernatural flairs to this book were promising before they started but quickly lost their luster. What I got was a grouping of campy bloody messages, eye rolling wailing women specters, and killer ghosts in the dungeon. I mean, really?! I got scarier stuff out of R L Stine’s series for kids back in the day. Every time the supernatural elements reared their head I had to sigh in frustration, what started out as potentially unique story element quickly turned into a drag on the book.
Hokey supernatural elements, a main heroine I’d rather shoot than cheer for, and not enough page time for the hero made for a drag of a read. The romantic bits and setting weren’t enough to save this puppy. I don’t think I’ll be hunting this author down again. I only gave the 1.5 since I finished the book and enjoyed a few things. Look elsewhere for reading material, folks! This one isn’t worth the time spent.
Note: Book received for free from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.