May Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

White cover with a red-toned hollow heart with the title in the cenre. On the top right of the heart stand two men, casually dressed, hand in hand.When Was The Last Time by Kelly Jensen – B- This short story (it’s about 40 pages) is a relationship-in-trouble story. Paul and Evan have been together for 15 years but in the past 12 months, their sex life has gone stale. Evan raises it one morning and Paul realises he needs to reprioritise. He’s worried he might lose Evan if he doesn’t change. He plans a romantic Valentine’s Day date but interstate work runs late and he’s faced with a decision to potentially damage his career or potentially damage his relationship.

My impression was the Evan wasn’t anywhere near the stage of walking out but Paul’s wake-up is nevertheless a welcome one. It’s sweet and romantic without a ton of detail. I was curious as to why Evan chose that particular day to raise the issue with Paul – but as there was only Paul’s POV, it remained a mystery.

Fair Bright & Terrible by Elizabeth Kingston, narrated by Nicholas Boulton

Torso of a woman in medieval dress, holding a dagger, point down, at her waistWhy I read it:  I’ve been waiting and hoping for this one to come out on audio. So when it did, I bought it stat.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Wales is conquered, and Eluned has lost everything: her country, her husband, her hope. All that remains is vengeance, and she will stop at nothing to have it. Certain there is no trace within her of the idealistic girl who loved Robert de Lascaux a lifetime ago, she agrees to marry him to advance the fortunes of her son, to avoid the nunnery, and most importantly – as an easy way to gain access to the man upon whom she will avenge Wales.

When Robert is asked to marry the woman he has loved for eighteen years, he never hesitates. But the lady who greets him at the altar has so little in common with the girl he adored that he begins to doubt that there is anything left of her bold and passionate younger self. Marriage to her might gain him the fortune and status his family has always wanted, but no wealth has ever mattered to him as much as Eluned has. And she, it seems, does not want him at all.

Trapped in a web of intrigue, revenge, and desire, they cannot forget their past – but can they share a future? The fascinating world of medieval Wales is continued in this riveting companion novel to The King’s Man.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  When I listened to the first book in this series, The King’s Man, I called it a “creditable debut, boosted by excellent narration”. I certainly enjoyed it but felt a little distanced from the characters. I wasn’t sure if some of that was because I had though the story would be more about Welsh independence/rebellion (and I have a soft spot for Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman). I wishlisted the ebook of Fair Bright and Terrible when it first came out didn’t immediately one-click. However, when the audiobook was released I was all over it like white on rice. Nicholas Boulton is a powerful draw card.

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