Monday, February 25, 2013

A Handful of Earth by Larisa Walk

Yaroslava, a Russian Princess, fights along side her father and people to save her town from the Tartar conquerors. When the town falls, Yaroslava is taken as a hostage by the Mongol Leader Batu Khan. Though he desires Yaroslava, he gives her a choice: Become his concubine or his slave. To save her dignity, she becomes a slave, living in a hut closely guarded by his Mistress of Concubines and milking goats. As time marches on, she becomes like a daughter to her guard and becomes a adviser to Batu. This inspires the jealousy of Batu's current favorite concubine. But Yaroslava's ability to see people's essences enable her to stay out of harms way for the most part. But she finds herself falling for Batu. Is Batu Yaroslava's destiny?

This book surprised me in many ways. Yaroslava is a determined girl, who will not be broken. I loved  how descriptive the author was, detailing the differences in the Tartar and Russian People and their lifestyles. I expected Batu to be a barbarian, as the Khan. His gentle nature and his kind treatment of Yaroslava surprised me. This book is full of wonderful characters, even the supporting ones. I hope to revisit Yaroslava one day!

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a  honest review. Thank you to  Netgalley.

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