This review should have been posted days ago, alas due to my procedure on Friday I had to delay it’s posting; but, today is Valentine’s Day, so really there is no better time for me to rant about a romantic story I adored…
Chevalier is a seductive & unpredictable story about an on-the-spot marriage & the intense love affair that is the result of it; it follows two incredible characters through a world full of war & dark magic, & shows how quickly two people can fall in love when love is all that they have.
I was given access to an early copy of this book by the author in return for an honest review.
This book contains scenes of a sexual nature, mildly upsetting domestic scenes,
attempted sexual assault & mild violence.
Bree M. Lewandowski & Pamela Ford are the only two romance writers, so far, that are on my automatic buy list; so, when I found out that Bree was writing a fantasy romance I was incredibly excited! I went into this book with an open heart, & an open mind as it was Bree’s first fantasy, & I finished it with an intense desire for more.
At the start of Chevalier we meet a young woman called Linah; Linah has spent her life feeling pushed out to the sidelines due to her disabilities, & this feeling is just intensified when she’s left standing at the alter without a groom. But! Have no fear, because in swoops the gorgeous Kohl; a man Linah has only met once before, but one with which she had an immediate connection. The couple marry on the spot but their marriage begins at the same time as a war is announced & so the couple spend the first few weeks of their marriage looking for safety. Through haunted forests, past other-worldly waterfalls in caves & into the grips of a woman once scorned, the couple’s insta-love for one another is tested more than one could have ever expected in this mysterious & seductive fantasy romance.
“A weak animal falls and commands no respect but pity.
Yet, if a lion collapses, its golden mane catching the sun’s light
before being sullied with dirt, those who watch drop to their knees in veneration.
Birds tuck their beaks in their breast, honoring a hallowed moment.
The wind halts in its journey. The clouds cover the sun.”
– Chevalier, 67%
Look, as a rule, I don’t usually read romance, but as I said previously, Bree’s writing is one of the two exceptions to that rule; another rule I usually have is that I hate insta-love stories, but Bree’s writing gets to me so much that in Chevalier I just wasn’t bothered by how quick (& saccharine) the development of Linah & Kohl’s relationship was. But, even if the insta-love hadn’t worked for me, I still think I would have been able to enjoy the book because I loved the plot outside of the romance & the world-building really caught my attention. World-building is, ultimately, the making of a story for me & although there isn’t copious amounts of world-building in Chevalier, the moderate amount that there is, was done wonderfully well. The characters, & types of characters (fox messengers & superhero wolves!!!!), that pop up along Linah & Kohl’s journey were also so endearing & I just generally loved the escape that this book allowed me to experience.
Something I absolutely have to mention in my review is the fact that our main character Linah is disabled; Linah was born with only three fingers on one hand & deafness in one ear. Due to this, Linah grew up being pushed into the corners of life & spent a lot of her time trying to ignore the nastiness of other people. In Chevalier we get to see Linah grow from a sensitive sapling, into a strong & powerful woman full of courage & determination. Admittedly, part of Linah’s growth is because of Kohl’s love for her (a plot-force which I hate most of the time), but her growth is also because of the lengths she is prepared to go to for the man she loves. So, yes, in a way Linah comes out of her shell because of a man; but it’s also because of the situations she finds herself in so I think I can be okay with it. Bree has also put a lot of work into making sure she considers how Linah’s disabilities may affect her in the situations she ends up in, (e.g. how being deaf in one ear affects her balance) so I think it’s important that this effort is acknowledged.
“For a woman under the unwanted stare of a man, there is a moment where she & a hunted rabbit have a great deal in common. Movement indicates weakness. If the rabbit fails to command its sense of flight, the predator will give chase. For the woman, shifting & fidgeting signal the loss of control and confusion, causing the man to assume he might step in & ‘correct’ it for her”
– Chevalier, 49%
When I spoke to Bree about this book initially, she told me that she had no plans for a sequel, which was super sad for me to hear when I was half-way into the book & totally addicted. My disappointment about there being no plans for a sequel were just intensified when I got to the end of the book because – how could that edgy & empowering scene possibly be the end?! Unintentionally, Bree made the end of Chevalier the potential start of a spell-binding & riveting fantasy series, so although this book was more romance than fantasy; there is certainly room for a fantasy-focused sequel! And God be praised, thanks to the response Bree has received from her readers, she is actually considering turning this book into a series, so yay!!
After my procedure on Friday I’ve been really struggling to write so I am super sorry if this review has been a bit of a babbling mess… I did really love this book though; it was unpredictable throughout & I felt that the world-building was unique in its way. Plus, the inclusion of a disabled main character is obviously a massively good thing in my opinion; of course I can’t say how good or bad the representation of being deaf & only having three fingers on one hand was as I’m not disabled in those ways, but the feeling of isolation & depression that Linah felt because of her disabilities rung true for me. I’m so excited about the potential for a sequel to this book, because the events that built up in the background of Linah & Kohl’s adventure were so, so exciting & I’m pretty much always going to love anything Bree releases.
If you fancy picking up this exciting fantasy romance you can do so using the links below: if you use the Amazon.co.uk link to make a purchase I’ll receive a small fee at no cost to you so please consider doing so.
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