Title: Spindle and Dagger
Author: J. Anderson Coats
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Publication Date: March 10th, 2020
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.
“This rich literary novel follows Elen, who must live a precarious lie in order to survive among the medieval Welsh warband that killed her family.
Wales, 1109. Three years ago, a warband raided Elen’s home. Her baby sister could not escape the flames. Her older sister fought back and almost killed the warband’s leader, Owain ap Cadwgan, before being killed herself. Despite Elen’s own sexual assault at the hands of the raiders, she saw a chance to live and took it. She healed Owain’s wound and spun a lie: Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. Owain ap Cadwgan has the protection of Saint Elen, as long as he keeps her namesake safe from harm and near him always.
For three years, Elen has had plenty of food, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in that she shares with the man who brought that warband to her door. Then Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a Norman lord, and her three children, triggering full-out war. As war rages, and her careful lies threaten to unravel, Elen begins to look to Nest and see a different life — if she can decide, once and for all, where her loyalties lie. J. Anderson Coats’s evocative prose immerses the reader in a dark but ultimately affirming tale of power and survival.” (Goodreads)
I was rooting for this book because of the cover. It is beautiful! The thing is, sometimes covers can be deceiving. For me, this had its moments of being a good book but it was overshadowed by the slowness and simplistic plot.
Elen has had a harsh life. Losing a loved one, or two, can have a huge effect on your life. I’m still grieving from a loss from almost a year ago, I couldn’t imagine losing two so close. I think that she is a very strong character to deal with that and also being so close to the one who helped start the war that ended with her losses. I just wouldn’t have the strength for that. He’d be dead, ha.
Like I said above, this book is very slow. I have a hard time really connecting with a book that seems to drag on. It makes me not want to pick it up and it takes me a bit to get through. The plot is very simplistic and not much happens that is surprising or makes you want to continue turning the pages.
Overall, it was an okay read. I think if you are a fan of historical fictions, Wales, or a strong female character then this book could be for you.