Author: Shelby Mahurin
Published: September 3, 2019
Series: Serpent and Dove, #1
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
In her deeply captivating debut novel, Mahurin explores themes such as parental abandonment, survival, and religious zealotry. Having failed to read the synopsis or any information about this book before I began listening to a sample of the audio, I received two happy surprises right away. The first one was that one of my favorite narrators, Holter Graham, is the voice of Reid. The second was that this story includes the “enemies to lovers” trope, one of my favorites, and in this one the characters are actually forced to marry each other.
I started listening to a sample of the audio book and it was over way too soon. Naturally, I ended up spending one of my audible credits on the full book right away. Therein ensued a battle between having to live my life and absolutely having to listen to the book at all times. The plot was fast paced and engrossing. The magic system was fascinating, and I enjoyed the clash between the witches and the Church. The romance aspect of the story was not rushed, and the slow build-up filled me with anticipation.
Lou quickly moved up to the top of the list of my favorite heroines. I found her to be a strong and compelling main character. Reid’s efforts to keep Lou contained were very endearing. He soon figured out that there is not “handling” or “controlling” Lou, she was an unstoppable force of nature. He lovingly called her a “heathen” in his head. I did admire his stubbornness which sometimes bordered on pigheadedness, and his knack for being loyal to a fault. Coco and Ansel were my favorite side characters. Both of them fierce and loyal companions to our main characters.
Serpent and Dove is a 2019 Goodreads choice nominee. The next book in the series, Blood and Honey, is set to be published August 31, 2020. I honestly cannot wait to see how Mahurin ties the loose ends she left at the end of Serpent and Dove, and I also wish for more background and scenes including Ansel and Coco. I recommend this book to all YA/ Fantasy fans who love a good mix of magic and romance.