King of Wands by Anna Durbin
Kings of the Tarot, #2
September 8, 2020
An unconventional widow with a secret . . .
Lady Julia Lacey’s world collapsed when her abusive husband dragged her from India back to England after a tragic loss. Following his death, she turned her palatial home into a sanctuary for battered wives while she withdrew to quiet seclusion. When a letter bearing joyous news arrives from Calcutta, she vows to return to India to reclaim what she lost, but moving there requires funds. She won’t liquidate her estate, though, until she finds a new refuge for her guests. The insufferable, albeit attractive, vicar she grudgingly appointed to the parish living, has reluctantly offered his help, even though he considers her a raging heretic. She accepts his assistance warily because that means spending time with him. And unfortunately, he’s the one person who reminds her that she’s still a woman.
A devoted holy man with a broken heart . . .
Mr. Charles Rodman’s heart was ripped from his chest years ago by his unfaithful wife. When she died, he resolved to bury his pain with her memory. Now, the staid widower wants nothing more than to minister to his new flock, including his exasperating but beautiful patroness. Though he’s given up trying to convince the impertinent apostate to return to the fold, he still finds himself entangled with her when he’s unexpectedly volunteered to help her raise money for a shelter for abused women. As a servant of God, he must help her, but the last thing he wants is to be around her because she’s the one person who makes him uncomfortably aware that he’s a man.
Can they work together without getting burned?
Despite their mutual antagonism, Charles and Julia’s equally mutual attraction heats up when a fiery kiss unleashes a searing passion. Can she allow him into her heart, or would he only break it if he learned her secret? Can he ever trust another woman again, especially this one, or is she too much like his late wife?
I received a digital copy of this novel through Reedsy Discovery in exchange for an honest review.
I have read many a historical romance, and King of Wands delivers. This novel includes solid leads, tension, strong female characters, and an intriguing storyline. Many elements worked together seamlessly to make this an exciting story with characters you want to see succeed.
King of Wands is the second novel in the Kings of the Tarot series but can be read as a standalone. Readers starting with this novel won’t be missing out on characters or settings as significant plot points from the first are woven in.
Both Julia and Charles, our main characters, are well rounded. Each has a complication from their past that they must deal with to be in a new relationship. Their problems and feelings felt real, and it was nice to see them work through each issue as individuals as well as a couple.
These characters had differences of opinions on many subjects. Sometimes it created humorous interactions, but at other times they created roadblocks in the relationship. Both parties had to learn to listen to the other, withhold premature judgments, and be willing to bend in support of their partner.
Most of the problems between our love interests could have been solved by communication early on. If only they sat down and hashed everything out, they could have saved themselves many trouble and heartache. I found myself frustrated with both Charles and Julia at times because I wanted to see them happy.
I enjoyed the side plots of this novel. I thought it was wise to give Julia a mission. I liked her even more for it, especially knowing how hard it would be to pull off a women’s shelter. She refused to be a victim and took action in her life and the lives of others.
Charles struggled more throughout the novel. Ironically, even though he worked as a minister, he had a difficult time forgiving others. Charles had firm convictions, but I was happy to see him open to progressive thinking and willing to admit when he judged earnestly.
I also liked how intertwined the characters were. People would pop up at unexpected times, and you had to recall where you had heard the name before. It made a more intriguing plot and played into the climax of the novel.
Overall, I thought King of Wands was wonderfully written and kept my attention. The tension building between our love interests and sub-plots exploded into a thrilling climax and satisfying conclusion. I look forward to reading more novels in this series as they come out.
This review was originally published on Reedsy Discovery.