From the publisher:
Derek never wished to inherit his title as a result of a bloody battle. With the old count dead and the truce dependent on his marriage to the rival duke’s son, Derek has no choice but to agree to the victor’s terms in order to bring peace to his homeland. When he learns of the sinister rumors surrounding his intended groom, Derek begins to have doubts—but there can be no turning back from saying I do.
After the death of his wife, Callan of Mulberny never expected to be forced into another political marriage—especially not to someone like the new Count of Camria. Seemingly soft and meek, it’s only fitting that Derek’s family crest is a flighty sparrow, worthy of nothing but contempt.
Another war with the seafaring people of the Outer Isles looms on the horizon, and the reluctant newlyweds must team together to protect those caught in the circle of violence. Derek and Callan slowly learn to let go of their prejudices, but as they find themselves enmeshed in intrigue fueled by dark secrets and revenge, their tentative bond is all that keeps their world—and their lives—from plunging into chaos.
This is a high fantasy LGBTQIA book that has a central M/M romance. I received the ARC from NetGalley and NineStar Press in exchange for my honest review — and, here it is — I really loved this book.
I have been expanding my reading into the LGBTQIA genre and I have had a lot of mixed takes on some of the titles I’ve read. When it comes to the romance genre in general, I can get easily disappointed with the lack of plot, character, or other develops in the favor of more “romance-facing” story-telling or explicit love scenes. I love romance WITHIN a story, I tend to get more bored if it’s the only part of the story that drives it.
I found that The Wolf and the Sparrow read as a really nice high fantasy novel that included romance in the story. There are some complaints that the plot, world building, and other aspects of the story were rushed. I tend to read a lot of YA and so found the quick pace enjoyable and the world building sufficient.
It’s implied in the world that relationships are not secluded to M/F and there is no time spent on the “I’m falling in love with a man instead of a woman and it’s shocking”. Callan, though previously married to a woman, and likely not having been with a man before — does not once bring it up as a change in him. Nor does his father or his people feel awkward around the M/M marriage between he and Derek. There is representation throughout the entire book for LGBTQ but it’s done in a way that I wish our world could have a bit more of: it’s there, it’s not an issue, and life goes on.
The plot dealt with overcoming grief and how one may blame themselves for outcomes they could not control, on overcoming initial impressions, on war and murder-plots.
I can’t even go into too much detail for fear of spoiling it for someone. It has everything and the writing was REALLY enjoyable. I highlighted a lot of quotes in this book and reread a few scenes simply to enjoy them again.
I gave it a 4 out of 5, because I know I’ll re-read this book again.
My professional background in biotechnology as a research chemist and as a veterinary technician has allowed me to have experienced two vastly different fields and for that I am thankful. In both careers, I have mentored, encouraged, and developed talent.
As a mother of two (a daughter and a son), I'm a self-proclaimed backyard chicken guru and someone who has “foster failed” nearly all the animals currently running the household. Oh, and I maintain a husband in my spare time.