Averie Winston, daughter of a general of a conquering nation, travels to faraway Chiarin to reunite with her father and fiancée. She was looking forward to idyllic days exploring a strange new country. To her consternation, she discovers more of the world’s harsh realities than she would have wanted, while falling in love with a man who is not her fiancée.
I’ll read anything by Sharon Shinn, says the blurb. I will too. She is always a very good read… Her stories somehow always end on a positive note, or with the promise of a happy ending at some point in the characters’ lives beyond the last page.
This stand-alone novel does not break from that mold. One might even be fooled into thinking this was nothing but a light, breezy read based on the first few chapters.
Don’t be fooled.
This thoughtful romance is laced thickly with political and moral dilemmas. What if you find out that you’re actually the villains of the story, and not the saviors you have been taught to believe since childhood? This is the story of Averie Winston, daughter of a general of a conquering nation.
She gradually sees this truth after living for some time in exotic Chiarin, during which time she falls out of love with her fiancée, falls in love with one of her father’s soldiers, and learns a little of the Chiarizzi customs.
In her vivacious manner, she tries to set things right, in her own little ways. Unfortunately, they are not enough to quell the tide of hatred. I can’t say there weren’t hints, but I so easily dismissed my own suspicions, caught as I am in Averie’s hopeful view of the world.
I guess I was fooled.