Eleanor and the Iron King
by Julie Daines
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—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 his bride’s 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.
|Published||Covenant Communications (August 1, 2015)|
By Damed If I Do, Submitted on 2016-09-25
I discovered Julie Daines only a few days ago and have been literally devouring her novels ever since. Each novel is so unique and well-researched.
Granted, I'm not an expert on mediaeval England or Wales, but all seemed authentic enough not to snap me out of that time into the present one (pet peeve about some historical romances). I loved the element of real Welsh names and referred often to the pronunciation guide (I had Welsh friends help me with the pronunciation of the Welsh names in the Taran Wanderer series by Lloyd Alexander.)
She does a wonderful job of balancing intensity with moments of humor. Something I value in a writer; an ability to convey humor.
Her plot devices don't feel contrived, in spite of a very real supernatural element.
Well done, Ms. Daines! Keep writing!
By Alyssa Varns, Submitted on 2016-09-24
I loved this book. It is amazing how prejudices can blind us from seeing who a person really is. Eleanor comes to the castle to marry someone she has been raised to hate and who she has been told that he was responsible for all the suffering her own kingdom has been through. As she gets to know him better, she fights the realization that the king is much kinder to his people and her than her father ever was. She receives mysterious messages from a ghost who she comes to find out is the King's previous wife warning her of the King. She struggles to learn who to believe as everyone around her tries to convince her of the other party's guilt. She finally realizes that the King is the best man she has ever met and by throwing away a union with him would be much worse than returning to her father. She also realizes her feelings for him. I really liked it and couldn't stop reading. Sometimes we look for love in the wrong place and we get the wrong idea about what love truly is.
By Shauna Wheelwright, Submitted on 2015-08-21
This book is FANTASTIC!
I always imagined myself being very submissive if ever I was put in a situation like this--but I LOVE that Eleanor is bold and makes up her mind that if she has to go through with this arranged marriage then she was going to do it HER WAY! -- Makes for a much better story :)
I adored how the author put in tiny glimpses into the beginning chapters making you wonder if Brach really is a nice guy with a gruff exterior--or could those "attentions be nothing more than a diversion?"
And the mysteries of unexplained happenings in the castle and surrounding Eleanor are so intriguing!
Gives you a feeling of a fairy tale/medieval romance with kings and queens-to-be and warring kingdoms, but with fantasy inspired haunting events like ghosts and witches and casting of spells encircling it.
Grab a copy of this book to see what is really happening inside Bryn Du, who is involved, and who is the true enemy!
Such GREAT WRITING!
LOVED. LOVED. LOVED. IT!
You will be absolutely enthralled with this one!
By Melanie, Submitted on 2015-08-12
I loved this book! Eleanor's father takes her to a rival king as a peace offering. The rival king, Brac Goch, has killed her beloved brother, Richard, so she is not happy about this. She's constantly looking for a way to escape and make her way back home. However, the longer she stays, the more she realizes that she may have been wrong about him after all.
The pacing of this book is fantastic! We get little bits of information at a time which kept me endlessly reading one more chapter until I was done. We know that Eleanor doesn't want to be Brac's wife but as she starts piecing things together, she realizes that she's never been given the true story of what happened in the past or even what's currently happening. Her father has treated her poorly her entire life and she expects that treatment, so she's pleasantly surprised by Brac's behavior.
Eleanor's a healer and is the only one who can see the ghost of Brac's first wife, who leaves her messages advising her not to trust him. Brac isn't thrilled with her healing abilities and it takes a while before she finds out why. It was interesting to watch Eleanor adjust to a different culture and realize that the Welsh and English were more alike than she originally thought. She met some great characters that helped her along the way and helped her see the truth.
I've only read a short story by Julie Daines, which I enjoyed, and since I loved this book, she is an author I will definitely be reading more of in the future and am already looking forward to her next book!
By Charissa, Submitted on 2015-08-06
Medieval romance set in ancient Wales with castles, dungeons, knights, and just enough touch of witchcraft to make it spooky. Eleanor, an English woman, is traded into marriage to an enemy Welsh king in order for a truce to be formed between her father’s country and Wales. She is determined to hate her betrothed for the cruel man she knows him to be, but his gentle actions towards her confuse her. Behind closed doors, he does not act like the barbaric bloodthirsty man who supposedly killed her brother. So who is he truly?
This was a great story that engulfed me in the time period. I felt like I was right there with Eleanor during her struggles to feel of worth after being traded so cruelly by an unloving father. She learns that all is not as it seems and must learn to trust her heart…but that’s hard to do when there are so many confusing voices she longs to trust, as well as a scary witch who seems bent on warning her of impending danger. Great writing, superb characters, and an awesome setting. This was one of the best romances I’ve read about in this time period and I highly recommend it.
***I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
By Lisa F, Submitted on 2015-08-05
I loved this book from the very beginning. It is historical fiction with paranormal elements.
Eleanor is forced into an arranged marriage. She is a pawn used by her father to broker a peace agreement with a Welch King, Brach Goch. She has only heard negative things about him from her father. He is a supposed war monger who will do anything and everything to conquer his enemies. Her father is abusive and she fears him and letting down her people more than she does about marrying an enemy.
I love reading about medieval times. This book was the perfect fit for me. The characters were well written with a strong sense of honor and integrity. Brach and Eleanor were two people who come from different view points who have to learn to respect and honor the other. Eleanor had a more difficult time with the situation.
The book also has a ghosts and dealing with witchcraft. Brach's deceased wife haunts the castle and leaves messaged in blood for Eleanor. It's kind of creepy but added an element to the story that intrigued me.
This is a great book about misunderstandings and learning to have respect for people and culture. It is a clean book with a little bit of violence.
By Aimee Brown, Submitted on 2015-08-04
This book held a few surprises for me as far as genre goes. I was expecting a historical fiction with some romance but I also got a bit of the dark magic, haunting ghost thing as well which added some flavor to the story.
Eleanor is an interesting character. She has spent a lifetime being abused by her father which makes her distrustful and wary of others. But, for some reason, she believes what her father tells her about everything. Which is just crazy. Why would you believe the person who hurts you the most?
Eleanor expects the worst from Brac Goch. He is the enemy. Even though he is nothing but kind to her. She has grown up believing he is the worst of the worst though and when the ghost of Brac's first wife shows up with creepy messages in blood, Eleanor can't ignore them. Eleanor is torn by what she believes and what she sees. It makes for a bit of suspense and intrigue and it kept me wanting to read the whole book through. I was caught up in the story and I was equally frustrated by and proud of Eleanor. The pacing of the story was really good; the characters flawed but believable. I really enjoyed this book!
Content: Clean. No swearing or sexual content. There is dark magic and some violent scenes in regards to that.
By Heidi G., Submitted on 2015-08-04
I'll say straight out that I loved this book. The characters, the setting, the plot, all of it I really enjoyed. Eleanor presents an interesting combination of spirit and duty as she strives to accept her father's demand that she marry the Welsh king, Brac Goch. But from the first she is determined to hate him and everything she's been told he's done. But she slowly starts to realize that what she's been told doesn't really match up with the man he seems to be, but the what she has always accepted as the truth wars with what her own eyes and heart tell her. Plus, there seems to be some spirit floating around that keeps warning her not to trust Brac. Who can she trust? What is the truth? Eleanor has quite the set of experiences in front of her adjusting to what amounts to a foreign country, language, and environment with seemingly no way out.
The secondary characters were great also, I couldn't help but fall in love with Hawis, Anise, and Lady Margaret, as well as Owain. The twists and turns were fascinating as Eleanor gradually sorts out the truth from the lies. A powerful tale about the value of truth and real love, not to mention loyalty and courage. As soon as I started reading the book I felt like I was there watching Eleanor and Brac sort through the challenges standing in their way. But the book never felt like a copy of the romance story lines that are so common, it felt wholly original and creative and I loved it.
By Heidi Reads..., Submitted on 2015-08-01
I loved this book! The setting was amazing, I felt like I was there in the castle and mountainous woodlands. Eleanor is a strong young woman, but helpless in her role as political pawn. She's an interesting mix of independence and submissiveness. Her choices and reactions were not predictable, yet offered insight to her character. She is loyal and kindhearted, feisty and impulsive. Her skills with healing herbs are an invaluable asset to those around her in a time of limited medical knowledge, and it helps her make some new friends that ease the loneliness of her new home. Brac is also a study in contrasting characteristics- unyielding and compassionate, arrogant and teasing. The gentleness and humor confuses Eleanor since it's not only unexpected, she has never experienced that with her own father/king. It was endearing to see him try to connect with Eleanor even when she wanted nothing to do with him. I could not put the book down as Eleanor learns little by little that not all is as it seems or as she had been told and she no longer knows who to trust, except by instinct. The romantic moments between Brac and Eleanor develop naturally and enhance the emotion of the plot. The creepy phantom adds heightened tension and an element of fantasy but it blends seamlessly with the world the author has created. The pacing is steady throughout and climaxes in a battle where all is finally revealed. I highly recommend this novel and look forward to reading more by the author!
(Thank you to Covenant Communications for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review)