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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Empire's Heir by Marian L Thorpe is a moving tale about a family caught in the game of power and influence. Gwenna, the heir to Ésparias, is summoned before the Empress of Casil, whose son, Alekos, needs a wife. But she is not the only one being considered as she is just one of the many women paraded before him. It is an era where marriages are set up for convenience, for power and lineage, and not for love. Marriage is not easy as political maneuvering weighs heavily on the union. Gwenna’s father, Cillian, is accused of treason and convinces Gwenna that her future is more important than his life. Gwenna is going to tread a tightrope as she balances her hold on power while trying to be true to the one she loves. She is attracted to men and she likes Alekos. But she loves Lynthe, a female lieutenant in the Ésparian army.
Marian L. Thorpe has a lucid vision when it comes to depicting the dynamics of domestic life and intense conflicts in human relationships. Empire’s Heir is a unique, fiendish drama that has the potential to win you over even if the genre is not your cup of tea. It has the aura reminiscent of Dangerous Liaisons and The Favourite. It may seem like a typical story of familial conflicts, but its social theme means the characters play out their distinctiveness. It is not only a timely LGBTQ novel but also a strong feminist tale in how it handles its female protagonist and how her choices and actions determine the progress of the storyline. Empire’s Heir is a highly recommended read for the treatment of its characters and how they respond to the demons of status, competition, rivalry, and social norms.