Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Review: Heirs & Spares by J.L. Spohr

Rating: ★★★★★ stars
Date published: June 4th, 2013
Synopsis: 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. Heirs & Spares is one part history, two parts palace plotting, and a whole lot of juicy romantic intrigue. Break out the spiced wine and sink in to this rousing read.

What I Thought:

I REALLY enjoyed this book.  When I first read this book in January, it was on a total whim. I'd gotten it on netgalley and initially thought I'd read a chapter  to see if I'd like it before I went to sleep around 1 AM.  Three hours later and I was no longer sleepy, eyes wide open and trying to process what I'd just finished reading.  I immediately went to goodreads and amazon to see if the second book was available and if the author had written anything else. Sleep be damned, spending limits be damned, and sanity be damned, I was going to find out what happened next, but since nothing else was available I went to sleep.

Here's why this book hit all the high notes with me.  I hadn't read any New Adult historical books and  I wasn't even aware they existed.  Not only was this book a YA/NA hybrid set in a fictional kingdom, but it had intrigue, romance, and lots of drama.  There wasn't a dull moment.  I adored Annelore.  My heart broke for her when she had to leave her home and father behind.  I wanted her to be the perfect fit as Queen for King William but I wanted her to have what her heart desired too.  I even liked William, although I wasn't too happy with his behavior as he went a courting.  I even loved seeing this arranged relationship slowly turning into something else.  

Plus the historical intrigue got to me.  Just when I thought things were going in a certain direction, J.L. Spohr spun things and I was left wondering what was going to happen next as I feverishly read.  It didn't help that the book was written so that you knew what the character's were thinking, so while Annelore and William were simply getting to know each other peacefully, I was already aware that not all was calm or as it seemed.  I also loved seeing the intimacy develop between Annelore and William.  Plus I was sort of surprised by how tastefully J.L. Spohr made it.  

I can also tell you when J.L. Spohr played an April Fool's prank by announcing there was not going to be a sequel I was crushed.  I even messaged on her Facebook to see if there really was no hope in getting a sequel.  At that point I was honestly thinking if I'd be breaking copyright laws if I wrote a sequel myself because that would've just been cruel but then I realized getting a book as polished or even comparative in quality to Heirs & Spares was not something I would be able to do, so I dropped the idea.

Basically, this book is wonderful.  You will be entertained and intrigued.  I know that I went out and bought the ebook and will (soon) have the physical copy on my shelf.  It's funny, I wasn't sure I was going to be able to explain how much or why I loved this book, and I feel as if I've written an ode to it. Hopefully you'll see why this book stood out from everything else I'd read and why it continues to stand out now.  

Purchase Links:
Kindle On sale for $0.99!

About the Author:

J. L. Spohr is the author of Heirs & Spares (Plum Street Press) and several short stories. She has studied the trials and tribulations of royals since she watched Princess Diana take that long walk to the altar, she turned her attention to historical fiction and fictional monarchies after studying the Reformation in graduate school.

When not writing, Spohr produces and hosts a popular podcast called The Kindlings Muse ( about ideas that matter in culture, including books, film, and music. She is an ordained minister and lives with her brood in Seattle. (author photo by John Keatley)

You can follow her at www.jlspohr.com or @jlspohr. Also, you can sign up for her newsletter at where you can get all the latest news on events, contests, freebies and upcoming books.

*A copy was received from the publisher via Netgalley and then I bought my own copy.*

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