Spindle and Dagger

 
3.7 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
398 0
Spindle and Dagger
Age Range
14+
Release Date
March 10, 2020
ISBN
978-1-5362-0777-4
Buy This Book
      
This rich literary novel follows Elen, who must live a precarious lie in order to survive among the medieval Welsh warband that killed her family.

Wales, 1109. Three years ago, a warband raided Elen’s home. Her baby sister could not escape the flames. Her older sister fought back and almost killed the warband’s leader, Owain ap Cadwgan, before being killed herself. Despite Elen’s own sexual assault at the hands of the raiders, she saw a chance to live and took it. She healed Owain’s wound and spun a lie: Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. Owain ap Cadwgan has the protection of Saint Elen, as long as he keeps her namesake safe from harm and near him always.

For three years, Elen has had plenty of food, clothes to wear, and a bed to sleep in that she shares with the man who brought that warband to her door. Then Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a Norman lord, and her three children, triggering full-out war. As war rages, and her careful lies threaten to unravel, Elen begins to look to Nest and see a different life — if she can decide, once and for all, where her loyalties lie. J. Anderson Coats’s evocative prose immerses the reader in a dark but ultimately affirming tale of power and survival.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Tale of Survival
(Updated: April 25, 2020)
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats is a beautiful, yet brutal, literary novel set in Medieval Wales. It is clear from page one that the author did their research. Reading this book is like stepping back in time. Following the story of Elen, Spindle and Dagger will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Elen is an interesting character to follow. Told exclusively from her point of view, we quickly understand the precarious position that she is in. Three years prior to the start of the book, Elen's family were killed in a raid. The leader of the warband was injured, and Elen, not wanting to die, took a chance and healed him. Then she spun a lie, one that has kept her safe up to now: "Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. Owain ap Cadwgan has the protection of Saint Elen, as long as he keeps her namesake safe from harm and near him always." Elen lives her life daily praying for survival, that the truth will not come out.

As a result of this lie, Owain is reckless. He believes nothing can harm him. The code of ethics the warbands live by do not apply to him. This recklessness causes great fear for Elen because she relies solely on the warband for protection, yet if this lie is revealed, they will not spare her. When Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a neighboring lord, Elen's lies begin to unravel.

I like Nest. Elen is drawn to her. She sees Nest as regal and everything Elen's own life could have been if not for the raid. A friendship develops between the two. For the first time since Elen told the lie, she begins to feel hope for the future and to see a life for herself beyond the day to day survival.

Overall I enjoyed Spindle and Dagger. Elen is stronger than she believes, and her development throughout the book is interesting to read. I love Coats's attention to detail. The author doesn't attempt to romanticize the era, but instead shows the brutality of it through Elen's eyes. If you enjoy immersive stories and beautifully written literary fiction, I highly recommend it.
Good Points
- Well researched, historically accurate
- Strong female lead
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0
Tale of Survival
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
3.0
Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats is a unique, dark tale set in Medieval Wales. The author did their research! The book fully immerses the reader, taking you back in time. Following the story of Elen as she tries to find her place in this brutal world, Spindle and Dagger will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The story unfolds from Elen's point of view. An interesting character, to say the least, Elen lives life on a prayer. When her family was killed in a raid on her home and the leader of the raid nearly killed, Elen heals him and spins a lie: "Owain ap Cadwgan, son of the king of Powys, cannot be killed, not by blade nor blow nor poison. Owain ap Cadwgan has the protection of Saint Elen, as long as he keeps her namesake safe from harm and near him always." For three years, Elen has lived with her abusers, safe because of this lie. She is forced to be as ruthless and cunning as the warband that protects her. One wrong move, one misstep and they could easily turn on her. Her list begin to unravel when Owain abducts Nest, the wife of a nearby lord.
Nest is a turning point for Elen. Elen sees Nest as regal and unflinching despite her circumstances. As the two form a friendship, Elen begins imagining her life outside of Owain. She dreams of the day where she can look to a future, instead of praying to survive the day. I enjoyed the friendship that develops between the two women. It occurs naturally throughout the story, rather being forced.
As I already mentioned, this is well-researched novel. I appreciate that the author didn't try to romanticize the era. Instead, Coats describes the brutality of the time-period through Elen's eyes. As the reader, you understand what is happening and why because for Elen it is everyday life.
Overall, I enjoyed Spindle Dagger. Elen is stronger than she gives herself credit for. Her development throughout the book is subtle, and I found myself rooting for her by the end. If you enjoy historical fiction, I highly recommend this beautiful yet brutal novel.
Good Points
- Well researched, historical accurate
- Strong female lead
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 0 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Leaving England
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Sometime around now an unnamed virus has laid London and...
The Dead and the Dark
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Courtney Gould’s thrilling YA debut The Dead and the Dark...
The Great Destroyers
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Blood, sweat, and death. Welcome...
Fresh
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
A hilarious and vulnerable coming-of-age story about the thrilling new...
Illusionary (Hollow Crown, #2)
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In this thrilling adventure, our magical heroine embarks on a...
Bluebird
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In 1946, Eva leaves behind the rubble of Berlin for...
Merci Suárez Can't Dance
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventh grade is going to be a real trial...
When You Know What I Know
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
This harrowing, and ultimately hopeful novel in verse sensitively...
Between Perfect and Real
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding...
The Cost of Knowing
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dear Martin meets They Both Die at the End...
Gold Spun
 
4.8
 
0.0 (0)
If Nor can't spin gold, she can always spin...
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Dayna Walsh is struggling to cope with her somatic...
Small Favors
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Ellerie Downing is waiting for something to happen. Life...
If You Go Down to the Woods Today (Brown Bear Wood)
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Journey through a magical woodland, with poems to read and...
Bunny Will Not Jump!: Ready-to-Read Level 1
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
From the endless imagination of Jason Tharp comes a hilarious...
Milo's Christmas Parade
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A new picture book from Jennie Palmer starring Milo, a...

Latest Member Reviews

The Dead and the Dark
 
5.0
"THE DEAD AND THE DARK is a deliciously creepy paranormal thriller/horror. Logan lives with her two fathers, who co-host a..."
The Great Destroyers
 
3.3
"THE GREAT DESTROYERS is an intriguing alternate history that brings robot fighting into the Cold War. Jo is a teenager..."
Fresh
 
4.3
"FRESH is an entertaining and thought-provoking coming-of-age story. Elliott is a middle child, heading to college far from home at..."
Illusionary (Hollow Crown, #2)
 
5.0
"ILLUSIONARY is a beautifully written sequel in a strong YA fantasy duology. The book begins after the first ended, with..."
Bluebird
 
5.0
"It's 1946 and Eva leaves behind destroyed Berlin for New York City. Eva carries a deadly secret. One that others..."
Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1)
 
4.3
"INCENDIARY is an intriguing YA fantasy with rebellion, magic, and intrigue. Renata was stolen from her parents as a child..."
Love and Other Sins
 
5.0
"Read it in one sitting and can’t wait to read the next one!!"
 
4.3
"This was definitely an interesting book. I really enjoyed all of the witchy aspects of the book! It starts off..."
Small Favors
 
4.7
"SMALL FAVORS is a compelling, spooky, and atmospheric YA fantasy/horror that keeps the reader guessing. Ellerie is a young woman..."
Sidelined
 
4.7
"Julian is looking forward to his senior year in Meridien, Texas. He wants to play football and hopefully get scouted..."
Spectacle
 
3.7
"WHAT I LOVED: Nathalie Baudin is an extraordinary girl even before she discovers her psychometric abilities. She’s just sixteen,..."
Somewhere Only We Know
 
4.0
"Everything I know about K-pop comes from thirsty Twitter fancams, what has made it into the American mainstream, and an..."
A Song Below Water
 
4.3
"WHAT I LOVED: Tavia and Effie’s world is ours with just a little myth-made-real on top. The Hart family..."
Tin Heart
 
4.0
"WHAT I LOVED: Marlowe has spent much of her life living on the edge of death thanks to a..."
Off the Record
 
5.0
"Content warnings: rape, sexual harassment, sexual abuse Once upon a time, I had an ambition to become a journalist...."
The Hawthorne Legacy (The Inheritance Games, 2)
 
5.0
"What I Loved: THE HAWTHORNE LEGACY, a sequel to THE INHERITANCE GAMES, is a book full of intrigue and mystery..."
The Cost of Knowing
 
5.0
"THE COST OF KNOWING is a heartbreaking and beautiful read about family, fate, and racism. After losing his parents and..."
Curses
 
3.3
"* I received an eARC of this book through Edelweiss+ for an honest review* “When..."
Between Perfect and Real
 
5.0
"BETWEEN PERFECT AND REAL is a heartfelt read about finding yourself and coming out. Dean knows that he is a..."
You Were Made for Me
 
3.3
"YOU WERE MADE FOR ME is a comedic YA contemporary/magical read about two friends, Katie and Libby, who somewhat accidentally..."