“A broadsword was a difficult thing to hide in a dress.”
From just the first line of Gwendolyn’s Sword, I knew I was going to love it.
Gwendolyn’s Sword is the debut novel from E.A. Haltom. The novel follows Gwendolyn de Cardinham, who is managing the estate while her husband is absent on a crusade, when she discovers her lands may be taken away from her. Along the way to London to meet with Eleanor of Aquitaine, Gwendolyn is informed that she is the descendent of King Arthur and his sword, Caliburn, will be hers.
Gwendolyn was a refreshing heroine. Her story was not driven by a man, it was driven by her need to protect her people and save her lands. She was clever, logical, and fought just as hard (if not harder) than the men. Unlike so many other historical novels, Gwendolyn’s beauty was not even a tiny plot point in this story. It was her character arc, not her looks, that mattered.
“I am no man’s to save.” Damn straight.
Now, a strong character like Gwendolyn can sometimes come across as an unrealistic Mary Sue or Gary Stu, but Gwendolyn felt genuine with a good mix of sensitivity and toughness. I wanted her to succeed, I wanted her to get the resolution she deserved.
The historical detail was rich but not overpowering, and it wasn’t until I read the author’s notes at the end did I discover that a good chunk of the characters were based on real historical figures.
E.A. Haltom wrote a fantastic first novel in what I hope will be a series of great stories.
You can buy a copy of Gwendolyn’s Sword here.
(I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review).