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Reviewed by Ruffina Oserio for Readers' Favorite
Heirs & Spares is Book One in The Realm Series by Jennie Spohr, a spellbinding historical fiction novel with interesting characters. Set in 1569 in a turbulent time in history with war looming ahead, two characters with little interest in each other and in power find themselves in a situation where they have to put the interests of the duchy and the country above their personal choices and comfort. It is at the time of Elizabeth I when the Reformation is a phenomenon that dictates the political tides and war is impending. Lady Annelore of Troixden is not interested in politics, even if the times are challenging with a rise in taxes and people struggling to survive. When the king of Troixden dies without an heir, William, his young brother, returns from exile, but the country is far worse than he has imagined and it needs saving. To bring stability, he must have a queen and an heir, but Annelore has no plans of marriage.
This is a historical novel with strong political underpinnings, a hypnotic court drama, and romance that grips readers’ hearts. It will have them watching the characters as they evolve through difficult choices. The characters are sophisticated and readers will enjoy the way Jennie Spohr crafts the internal conflict in Annelore, a young woman who adores her father and who must leave him to be with a king she doesn’t love… or does she? The author explores themes of family, loyalty, duty, marriage, political strife, and romance in a style that is exceptional and intriguing while paying attention to details of the traditions of the era and the cultural complexities that the characters must navigate. This historical setting is brilliantly captured in the language of the time and the author weaves this element into the dialogues with unusual brilliance and charm. I loved the romance and the superior storytelling craft in Heirs & Spares, a novel that is well-paced and filled with emotionally rich moments.