Wednesday 24 January 2024

Betrothal & Betrayal by Janet McGiffin Blog Tour

 I do like a good book series, although I'll be honest, I prefer to wait until all books in a series have been released before I start reading them as I am a tad inpatient.

However, I'm making an exception for Janet McGiffin's novel Betrothal & Betrayal which is the first book in the Empress Irini Series.


Seventeen-year-old Thekla needs her quick wits and knife to track down her betrothed, a soldier who has left her at the altar for the third time. Elias the monk travels with her to Constantinople where she meets Irini of Athens, an extraordinarily beautiful orphan her same age who has been brought by powerful Emperor Constantine to marry his son, Co-Emperor Leon. The two women join forces to survive this vigorous capital of the Roman Empire of the East which is rocked by religious and political strife. But will Thekla help the ambitious and ruthless Irini of Athens find the power that she craves?

The first in a four volume series, the story will ultimately revolve around Princess Irini however in this book I feel our main protagonist is Thekla. A seventeen year old girl who definitely knows what she wants.

After continually being stood up by her betrothed (3 times to be exact), she sets off on a mission to find her fiance in order to make this marriage happen.

What happens during her journey is not what she quite imagined.

Based in the world of Constantinople, we are introduced to a different world of politics and social classings.

Thekla herself is an interesting character. I rather enjoyed how she was portrayed. Her various interactions and the way she made herself useful in any situation or place. Admirable for a girl her age.

Another character that featured immensely was Elias, a supposed monk who soon becomes a sort of saviour for Thekla. 

We get to know snippets about Irini, our soon be empress through Thekla's own actions and circumstance. She in my opinion isn't going to be a hugely likeable character in subsequent books. I'd describe Irini as ruthless.

One thing that really made the book for me was the glossary at the end, it allowed me to go back through the story and really get myself well acquainted with this world in ancient Byzantium.

Betrothal & Betrayal is essentially setting the scene for the rest of the stories as in there are a few threads to the story that I believe will be expanded on further so I'm looking forward to seeing what direction the author takes the series.

Overall a great start to an intriguing piece of historical fiction for both younger and older readers.

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