Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats

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Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats is a YA Historical Fantasy story set in Medieval Welsh culture!

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50790046._SX318_SY475_“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.



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I REALLY wanted to get into this one!

Unfortunately the writing style completely left me in the dust. At the front of the book, there is a pronunciation guide that is supposed to help with the reading process. But it just wasn’t enough for me.

I didn’t realize that the entire book was going to be set with a heavy, yet true, Welsh presence, so as I was trying to get into the story, I saw myself distracted by the writing itself.

While the plot and characters were intriguing and created a world I wanted to be in, I just couldn’t fully grasp the situation due to the writing style.

I do think that if you want a book that will challenge you and give you diversity, you should give this one a try! A 2 out of 5 stars from me.


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Published: 10 March 2020

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Genre: Young Adult Historical Fantasy

Pages: 304

How I Read It: eARC from NetGalley

*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All of my reviews contain my honest opinions only and are not influenced I any way.*


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Happy Reading!

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2 thoughts on “Spindle and Dagger by J. Anderson Coats

  1. Aw, bummer! I was so excited for the Welsh culture and aesthetic in this book! Perhaps listening it to audio book may be better for me if it has tons of hard to pronounce words?

    Liked by 1 person

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