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December 2, 2020

A Warm Heart in Winter by J. R. Ward ~ a Review

by MK French

Blay and Qhuinn look forward to their official mating ceremony, but tragedy strikes. The Black Dagger Brotherhood rallies around them, and hopefully, they can weather the storm.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

A Warm Heart in Winter
December 2020; Pocket Books; 978-1982159702
audio, ebook, print (496 pages); fantasy romance
It's been a hot minute since I last read Black Dagger Brotherhood books, so I was actually grateful for the terms listed before the start of the novel to refresh my memory on them. These vampires, for those that haven't read any of the books yet, are sensitive to sunlight, can possibly live for a thousand years or more, generally adhere to strict gender roles, and transition into their full vampiric ability after being full grown. They marry, have children, and are part of a whole separate society from humans, with their own mythology, language, and traditions. Blaylock and Qhuinn are gay, a relative rarity, and utterly besotted with each other. Even though Qhuinn is stabbed at the beginning of the book, he still flirts with Blay, cracks terrible jokes about his virility, and is generally the imposing-looking biker dude stereotype. 

There are hints of troubles that other vampires went through in prior books of the series, but nothing overwhelming. It's a large collection of found family and men who are sworn brothers in arms, some of whom found their mates and started having children. A formal mating ceremony between Blay and Qhuinn isn't even mentioned, but there are a series of disasters in the house during a terrible snowstorm that hit upstate New York. Woven into that story are occasional scenes with the human teenager that Qhuinn was helping at the beginning of the book. It all comes together in the end, and Qhuinn finds closure. 

As warriors, the vampires had been through considerable trauma, and only some of them had reached out for help. The one that did get actual therapy helps Qhuinn, pointing him in the right direction of recovery. It's not treated as a joke or weakness by anyone involved, which I appreciate; none of the Brotherhood ever puts down the mental toll that their battles leave behind. They rally together as a family, creating the support network that they all need. This was always one of the greatest features of the series: no matter how badass the characters are, love, support, and family are still important and fulfilling. 

Buy A Warm Heart in Winter at Amazon

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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