Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the Friday Fiction newsletter! This month I’m reviewing two fantastic 5-star reads: All That Shines and Whispers by Jennifer Craven and The Promised Prince by Kortney Keisel.
All That Shines and Whispers by Jennifer Craven
World War II Switzerland and Austria
I am thrilled to be on Jennifer Craven’s launch team for this fantastic World War II novel, releasing on February 25, 2021.
After the Nazis force Gerald and Marlene Weiss to flee Austria for neighboring Switzerland, they are struggling to maintain a normal life for their seven children. They go about their days as they might have back home – work, school, family dinners – but the reality of their happy little sing-along family is much darker than the children know. At least all the children except for Lara. Homesick for Austria and heartbroken over her boyfriend’s betrayal, she knows the secret her parents hide, and she’s not sure if she can live a lie forever. But is she willing to risk her family’s future in order to have the life she wants?
All that Shines and Whispers is only 275 pages, but it packs a punch in such a short span. I finished this novel in only two days because I couldn’t leave the characters alone. There are ten people in the Weiss family and Jennifer Craven makes them all feel like individuals with their own unique personality traits. As a writer, I can tell you that it isn’t easy to write a scene with ten characters and ensure no one speaks too much or is left out entirely. Jennifer Craven made me care about every person in the Weiss family, tugging on every heartstring I have – maternal, spousal, and the memory of young love. They’re a family I won’t soon forget and Jennifer Craven is an author I will definitely return to.
GIVEAWAY: Jennifer Craven is providing an opportunity to win one signed paperback of All That Shines and Whispers. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by February 23, 2021. Winner will be contacted directly. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page. For more information on Jennifer Craven’s books, visit: https://www.jencraven.com/
The Promised Prince by Kortney Keisel
Technically Futuristic Dystopian but reads more like a mix of High Fantasy and Historical
I followed Kortney Keisel online for several months before The Promised Prince came out. After seeing all the rave reviews from her advance readers (and such an intriguing cover filling my Instagram feed), I ordered my copy as soon as it became available. I am so glad that I did.
This is not your typical Dystopian story. If you’ve read books such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, or 1984, put your assumptions aside and read this with new eyes. (All three of those novels are great reads; they just aren’t a good comparison to The Promised Prince.) To me, this novel felt like a blend of high fantasy and historical fiction, while actually taking place in the future. 200 years have passed since The Great Desolation, an incident which caused the world as we know it to be destroyed and rebuilt on top of North and South America. At that point in time, the Council of Essentials was created to dictate law and separate the world into two classes: nobility and everyone else. The concept of the Council of Essentials was particularly interesting as they had control of who received what and what was deemed “essential.” It’s a topic that wasn’t hit on enough in the novel, but relates so well to our world today as we struggle with who deserves basic human rights such as health, dignity, and even life.
Living within this world are two young nobles in love, Trev and Reena. Not being completely forthright at their first meeting, Reena assumes Trev to be a palace soldier and Trev (the future king) assumes Reena to be the princess to whom he is betrothed, but has never actually met. There’s one problem though. Reena is the daughter of a queen, but it’s her stepsister, Seran, who is promised to Trev. What follows is a fantastic, often hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking tale of love lost, won, and sacrificed. I, of course, rooted for Trev and Reena right from the start, but the author threw a wrench in my expected allegiances by making me also like Reena’s competition, Seran. Her stepsister is kind, caring, and graceful and its these traits that make the ending all the more emotional. This novel leaves us asking which is more important: duty to country or duty to oneself? It’s an action-packed romance not to be missed.
GIVEAWAY: Kortney Keisel is providing an opportunity to win one signed paperback of The Promised Prince. To enter, simply complete the entry form at the link below by February 23, 2021. Winner will be contacted directly. Full giveaway rules are listed on the giveaway page. For more information on Kortney Keisel’s books, visit: https://kortneykeisel.com/
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