Review: Between Two Fires by Mark Noce

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Goodreads Summary:

Saxon barbarians threaten to destroy medieval Wales. Lady Branwen becomes Wales’ last hope to unite their divided kingdoms when her father betroths her to a powerful Welsh warlord, the Hammer King. But the fledgling alliance is fraught with enemies from within and without as Branwen becomes the target of assassination attempts and courtly intrigue. A young woman in a world of fierce warriors, she seeks to assert her own authority and preserve Wales against the barbarians. But when she falls for a young hedge knight named Artagan, her world threatens to tear itself apart.

Caught between her duty to her people and her love of a man she cannot have, Branwen must choose whether to preserve her royal marriage or to follow her heart. Somehow she must save her people and remain true to herself, before Saxon invaders and a mysterious traitor try to destroy her.

Reminiscent of classics like The Mists of Avalon and A Game of Thrones, and newer popular titles like Hild, Branwen’s story combines elements of mystery and romance with Noce’s gift for storytelling.

**I received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

My Review

I was really looking forward to picking up Between Two Fires after reading Avelynn by Marissa Campbell which has a very similar premise and is set in the same time period: Medieval Wales during the times when Saxon’s attacked constantly. I love this era so so much, especially the times of King Arthur (which are referenced quite often throughout). Unfortunately, I did not enjoy Between Two Fires nearly as much as I did Avelynn, but there is much that I can appreciate about it.

Between Two Fires focuses on the life of Branwen, a 16 year old princess who is wed to an older man in order to secure an alliance for her father. Little does she know that this union will cause quite the domino effect for the rest of the country. Before long she is caught up in feuding territories, assassination attempts and the pressure of giving birth to an heir. On top of all that, she can’t stop running into the illegitimate prince/knight Artagan. Although their relationship is tumultuous in the beginning, Branwen can’t help but fall for him anyway. Torn between duty and her heart, she must make the decision that is best for not just herself but the  entire country.

A lot, and I mean a lot happens in this book, which you would think would make the story go by faster, but I couldn’t help but feel like it dragged on a little too much. There was just a lot of repetitive events going on. I also felt  like I was watching Game of Thrones at times because I couldn’t keep up with all the names. I’m not saying that I disliked the story over all, I just wasn’t overly engaged by it. I really liked Branwen’s character and her relationship with Artagan, but I wasn’t a fan overall of the plot. However, I could definitely tell how much time and effort went into making the history accurate. There were certain aspects of the story that were great, so if I could just cut and paste parts, I would have probably been more pleased. Oh well. I’m still glad I read it.

If you are in to medieval historical fiction with a splash of romance, then I would recommend you read Between Two Fires out on August 23rd. Pre-Order on Amazon here!

 

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