This was absolutely delightful! I was a little concerned at first because it’s a VERY slow start, but once Wren accepted Lowry’s invitation I was hooked.
I’m going to add a disclaimer before this next comment: I adore fanfiction. I love it. I read it, I write it, it’s fantastic.
This book reads like my very favorite kind of slooooow-burn enemies-t0-lovers postwar fanfiction. The kind where two members of opposing sides are forced into close proximity and slowly, slowly learn that the other is not a heartless monster, and inevitably falls for them. I can’t get enough of that dynamic in fanfiction and it was a delightful surprise to find it in this book.
I felt for Wren. She’s sympathetic and determined and has so much heart. And I felt for Hal, who was forced to kill and kill and kill again when he was no more than a child, who regrets all the killing and wants nothing more than to make amends and shift his country away from war. They’re a perfect match.
The villain is nearly at cartoon-villain status, but the way he morphed his demeanor to show concern, caring, humor, and darkness all within seconds was chilling. As was the atmosphere in the manor Hal and Wren were trapped in.
Wren’s love for Una was beautiful and heartbreaking, as first loves so often are. Wren and Hal’s attraction came on slowly and lingered, gradually strengthening in a way that made it all the more believable. I loved their interactions, their dynamic, the way they were drawn together.
The ending was perfection, wrapping it up and tying a neat bow around the whole delicious package. I hope there’s a sequel because I definitely want more.
*Thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an e-arc for review.