“Stolen me? As soon to say a caged bird can be stolen by the sky.”
Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead.
Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock.
With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.
Byzantine politics, lush sexual energy, and a queer love story that is by turns sweet and sultry. A Strange and Stubborn Endurance is an exploration of gender, identity, and self-worth. It is a book that will live in your heart long after you turn the last page.
📕 magical fantasy world
📘 arranged marriage
📙 part mystery
📗 well-written characters
Velasin has been expecting an arranged marriage, but what he’s not expecting it for it to suddenly become an arranged marriage to a man. It isn’t a problem for him, in fact, it’s preferable but it’s going to be a battle for him to let go of his Ralian traditional beliefs.
Caethari is immediately charmed by Velasin even though one of their first encounters is an assassination attempt on the Ralian.
Part slow-burn, delicious romance and part political intrigue – this book is a great read. Be warned, there is a sexual assault depicted early in the story. What I appreciated was the way that the author addressed the aftermath for the character who was affected. There is no quick fix for this character. They work through the shock, the trauma, the pain and the guilt. It’s clear that the author put a great deal into the plot.
The addition of the mystery – pollical intrigue and family dynamics – made the story even more engaging. The plot moved at a good pace.
⭐️ Velasin: Vel is a sweet character. He’s struggled living in a society that doesn’t accept his sexuality but he has done his best to be a loyal sun. He has a lot of overcome at the beginning of the story but he
⭐️ Caethari: Cae is such a gentle character. He’s the man I bet we all wish we knew. He is thoughtful, he listens, and he puts a concerted effort into actually getting to know his husband in spite of the way they are brought together. The two characters are raised in different ways and it shows in their confidence and the differences in how they make decisions.
I think what I enjoyed the most about this book was the progression of Velasin. He’s a great character and the author allowed him to grow and change very organically as the story progressed. There was no rushing Vel through his feelings or hurrying his healing. I liked that he had confronting moments, tender moments and times when he felt guilty and responsible.
Over all I enjoyed the book – my only minor criticism would be that the pacing could have been moving along a little bit. Not something that took away from the story for me!
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Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) sexual assault (confrontation between characters several times/ character knows man who assaults him), homophobia, violence, death of an animal (a horse is killed violently), death of various characters, gore, non-conceptual branding (as punishment), arranged marriage, suicidal ideation, fake suicide, self-harm, abusive parent, transphobia, mentions infidelity in past relationship
I received an ARC of A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows from Tor Books via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.