My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Book #1 in the Serpent and Dove series by Shelby Mahurin, Serpent and Dove is a YA fantasy romance centered on a witch and witch hunter.
First of all, look at that gorgeous book cover🤩🤩🤩 and obviously I fell for it.
I have started a number of books this year in the fantasy genre, hoping that I would one way or the other get to complete the series. Halloween month is already here and I doubt if I will ever do that.
Serpent and Dove has many things going for it. The marriage of convenience theme and enemies to lovers is an absolute favorite trope of mine and the author has lovingly portrayed the changes in Lou and Reid as they accept each other. There are number of scenes where humor is used in dollops cracking up a reader. I loved the BIG TITTY LADY bawdy pub song and to use it in the middle of a mayhem was splendid. Imagine you are fighting for your life and suddenly you are interrupted by a man (and not just any man, but the prince) undressing himself singing that ribald song.
The best part of the story is its protagonist, LOU…LOU…LOU…. Her character is a delight. Unrepentant and valiant with a saucy mouth, it was not wrong of Reid to think of her as a heathen. Amazingly, it was not the romance between Reid and Lou that had me reading almost 500 pages of this book, but the very beautiful and saintly Ansel and his kindness and care for Lou that was so brilliant. Lou’s friendship with Coco was also touching. In fact, it was the relationships of all the characters that made this story thoroughly engrossing.
Serpent and Dove deserves 5 stars but I would go with 4 stars coz of the setting of this fictious place. I just couldn’t get a sense of the witch world set somewhere around France. Except for the use of some French words, there was no other indication of the region and the fantasy land didn’t feel immersive.
For her sixteenth birthday, Louise le Blanc’s mother gave her three things: a sacrificial altar, a ritual knife, and a wicked scar.
Lou’s death would have ended the ancient war between the Church and witches, but Lou refuses to become a martyr. Forsaking her coven, she escapes to the gloomy city of Cesarine and hides her magic as a thief in the criminal underworld. But life in Cesarine has its own dangers. Huntsmen roam the city revered as holy men. Witches burn without trial. And the Archbishop, the Church’s austere patriarch, revels in violence.
As a huntsman, Reid Diggory lives by one verse: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.
He’s devoted his entire life to eradicating the occult and making his surrogate father, the Archbishop, proud. Finally given the chance to capture a witch of his own, Reid is devastated when a foul-mouthed thief thwarts him—and doubly devastated when she too disappears. Hell-bent on bringing her to justice, Reid vows she won’t escape again. But when Lou tricks him into public scandal trying to avoid capture, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.
Marriage to a huntsman could provide real protection from the witches—if Lou can convince Reid she isn’t one herself. The secret proves difficult to keep as Lou begins practicing magic in secret within the heart of the Church, determined to prepare for her mother’s inevitable return. As time passes, however, Lou discovers yet another danger lurking: her own growing feelings for her husband. But Reid is still dangerous. He’s just as likely to tie her to the stake as defend her if he learns her true identity. With enemies closing in—and more than her own life at stake—Lou must decide who she can trust before it’s too late…and she’s not the only one with a secret.
This review is published in my blog https://rainnbooks.com/; Amazon India, Goodreads, and Twitter.