Tessa Gratton's Lady Hotspur is a sweeping, heart-stopping Shakespearean novel of betrayal and battlefields and destiny.
STRIKE FAST, LOVE HARD, LIVE FOREVER
This is the motto of the Lady Knights—sworn to fealty under a struggling kingdom, promised to defend the prospective heir, Banna Mora.
But when a fearsome rebellion overthrows the throne, Mora is faced with an agonizing choice: give up everything she's been raised to love, and allow a king-killer to be rewarded—or retake the throne, and take up arms against the newest heir, Hal Bolingbrooke, Mora's own childhood best friend and sworn head of the Lady Knights.
Hal loathes being a Prince; she's much more comfortable instated on the Throne of Misrule, a raucous underground nether-court where passion rules all. She yearns to live up to the wishes of everyone she loves best—but that means sacrificing her own heart, and so she will disappoint everyone until the moment she can rise to prove those expectations wrong.
And between these two fierce Princes is the woman who will decide all their fates—Lady Hotspur Persy, the fiery and bold knight whose support will turn the tides of the coming war.
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Gratton returns to the expansive world of The Queens of Innis Lear with this intricately layered fantasy, a loose, gender-bent adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV. A prophecy predicts disaster for three closely entwined women in the kingdom of Aremoria. When Hal's mother overthrows the king, Hal is expected to transition from hard-living Lady Knight to respectable heir to the throne. Hal's best friend, Banna Mora, daughter of the conquered king, is exiled. Lady Hotspur, Aremoria's fiercest warrior, is as devoted to her country as she is to her lover, Hal, and dear friend, Banna Mora, but knows that the demands of status will force her and Hal to part eventually. Hal is focused on avoiding responsibility, drinking, and finding ways to be with Hotspur, while jealous Banna Mora schemes to take Aremoria back. Hotspur is forced to choose between her reckless lover and the ruler she thinks would do right by her kingdom. Gratton's lush world is full of magic, mischievous spirits, and otherworldly rituals. Readers won't have to be familiar with either the previous book or the source material to appreciate this well-crafted, if over long, fantasy.