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June 15, 2021

Wintersfall by Sarah Westill ~ a Review

by MK French


A professional assassin’s daughter, Katria is looking for her mother and sister’s killer. She agrees to work for the Sziverian government in exchange for a deeper investigation into their deaths, and that included working with Sean Blackbain. Unfortunately, a contract they had signed for a mission also means they’re married. Now they have to field both secret missions and the hidden dangers of Guardian society.

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Wintersfall
June 2021; Isl Media; 978-1955293013
ebook, print (358 pages); fantasy
We start with the premise of the novel, far in the future when a cataclysm led to a complete climate and power restructure. Talents and opportunities inherited by the Gen-Heirs formed the elite in society; Katria has the ability to “bond” with a gun and become a master sharpshooter even without training. Sean is a sympathetic empath, able to feel emotions. They’re rushed into a team in chapter one, and in chapter two have been working in various roles for three years before they’re deliberately set up to fail and have to return to the city. That’s when Kat and Sean discover they’re actually married, and not just teammates. I have to admit, the rush job with the paperwork in the beginning felt off, and I’m not particularly fond of how they’re being maneuvered at the start.

Despite the futuristic setting, this is very much following the path of a Regency romance novel. We have the lower class woman tied to the upper class and titled man (high enough to likely equate to a duke) and has zero idea how much it takes to outfit a proper wardrobe or navigate the social scene. It’s the same kind of backbiting and snobbery you’d find in Regency romances; classism and petty drama are definitely universal. Sean and the other two on their team are from this world, each with their own reasons to hide from it, and have to help Kat move through those social circles. At the same time, Sean and Kat finally acknowledge the attraction between them, and soon work together to find out who attempted to kill Kat’s family and why their team was isolated. It’s very much a futuristic romance novel, which is fun to read even if some aspects of the characters are stressful, too. It’s the tension of the romance world, however, where it’s clear we’re going to have answers and a happily ever after.

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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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