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Innocence Lost (For Queen And Country Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Now the story itself isn't about the girl in the prequel, Loesie, though she plays a very pitiful part. I mean, you will pity that poor girl. Rather, it stars Johanna, a girl lucky enough to be a merchant's daughter and high enough on the status scale to be invited to the ball. But Johanna wants nothing to do with frills and fashion of the day. She wants fun and adventure. Be careful what you wish for? She asks the question, if the aim for a young woman is to be married, why are so few of the married ladies happy. That attitude makes it well worth the read! Johanna is strong and cares about others. Cliffhanger be damned, she is worth learning more about. AND Johanna can 'hear' the willows just like Loesie. And she has more opportunities to do something about the warnings.
This is a bit of a cautionary tale about organized religion and reflects our own history of the witch trials. I found Ms. Jansen's take on the subject refreshing. Again, that makes it worth the read. All in all, I think, if you can afford it, that this is a fun adventure and worth pursuing through the series.
Anyway, when the focus shifts to her father and her going to a "shindig" with the royals, where her father says Johanna has one dance with the heir to the throne - the prince. He's been out of sight for quite some time, and rumors abound that the royal family is hiding some sort of secret about him. Johanna, and the rest of the people attending, find out exactly what that is, and it's squirm-inducing to say the least.
The story picks up even more steam (in more ways than one ;-)) after the party breaks up - Johanna meets up with a mysterious stranger from a foreign land. That's the best about Johanna's day...because she's soon on the run for her life.
I really started to feel for Johanna when she went on the run, because she had to deal with devastation wherever she went, and it took a toll on her. She's also looked at as the leader of her little ragtag group (3 other people, including a strange friend, Loesie, who can only make sounds instead of regular words), something that wears on her as well. It was all so sad, yet Johanna managed to stay strong, which I really admired.
There's sort of a twist near the end of this book which had me chuckling which helped to relieve some of the sadness that came just before. Of course, it ended in a way that leads into the next book, though you'll have to read this one to understand what I'm talking about. :-)
So read the sample, and know that Johanna grows beyond any angry/angsty stuff she shows at the beginning, and even realizes by the end of the book how immature she really was early on in the book.
I definitely am getting the next book in the series because I *have* to know what happens next (and fortunately the next book is already out)!
Meanwhile when at the markets with Nellie, Johanna spotted her friend Loesie at her basket weaving stand. But Loesie was unable to speak - had she been struck dumb by a malevolent magic? Loesie’s basket made from willow twigs told Johanna something terrible was going to happen in Saarland. What would she do? If she mentioned magic she would be branded a witch...
As Johanna reluctantly prepared to accompany her father to the ball, she still didn’t know what to do. But trouble was on the horizon and much closer than Johanna had realised. What would happen to the citizens of Saarland? To Johanna and her father – to the royal family?
Innocence Lost by Aussie author Patty Jansen is the first in the “For Queen and Country” fantasy series and I quite enjoyed the intrigue and magic as well as the setting. Johanna is a great character with an innate strength and ability to lead. The story is set up nicely at its conclusion to go straight into the next in the series, Willow Witch. Recommended for fantasy fans.
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Well. I must admit to not having any great expectations when I opened this up to have a read. In truth, I thought I would lose interest fast.Read more