A Girl of White Winter by Barb Hendee (Dark Glass book 3)


Published by Kensington Books

3 stars


Kara, as a ward with no parentage and no future, has been raised knowing nothing outside her lady’s chambers. Until Royce Capello, a visiting nobleman, is struck by her ice-pale looks, and demands her as payment for the land the family needs.

With barely time to protest, Kara is sold and packed off for a life as a concubine—until a raiding party descends on Royce’s company and she’s kidnapped for the second time in as many days.

Whatever happens, Kara will be alone in the world, inexperienced and fearing even the vast unfamiliar sky. But one raider gives her a choice—and a magic mirror appears to show her where each path will lead…

~She can leave with her protector Raven and journey with his performing troupe, competing for his mercurial affections.

~She can flee the raiders’ settlement, and return to Royce’s manor, chattel among devious nobility.

~Or she can stay in the settlement, bound to firm, silent Caine, who is as gentle as he is staid and inscrutable.

Her fates twist and turn to affect far more than she could have guessed, tangling the bitter with the sweet—and Kara must choose which consequences she can live with…

Trigger warning: rape

I loved the premise of this book, which I understand is an underlying premise for the entire season: the protagonist finds themselves at a crossroads of difficult choices and suddenly BLAMMO – magic mirror with a witch stuck inside appears and shows them the outcomes of their choices so they can make an informed decision.

I need a witch mirror.

Kara has a run in with this mirror and now gets to choose between the men who have claimed ownership of her (ick) by seeing how they would treat her if she chose them. I actually quite enjoyed this premise – three times the fun without the complicated reverse-harem juggling HOWEVER, this isn’t a particularly sexy book.

I’m trigger warning this one because it was unexpected and plain nasty – one of her choices leads to her being raped (no graphic details provided but her response was to get over it and sympathise with her captor), her responses after that point aren’t actually all that different than those she has to the men who don’t violate her so… erm… there’s that.

The characters were two dimensional so you don’t really get a feel for them, their motivations are basic – but dammit, I wanted to enjoy this book! The idea of living out your choices before committing is so cool, I kept going.

The downside to writing a book in this way is that the options overlap in some areas, which allowed the author to copy and paste paragraphs of text over which is just cheating! This would have been the perfect opportunity to write the same scenes again but from the perspective of the main character with her difference experiences each time.

What I did enjoy is that none of her options were perfect, this was very realistic and she had to follow her conscience on the matter as well as her happiness.

Problematic plot points aside, I found the writing style really enjoyable and the suspense was fantastic. I’m going to keep my eye on this series and see what the author comes up with next!

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