About The Sworn Virgin• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (August 8, 2017)
Dukes's gripping historical novel tells the tale of a desperate Albanian woman who will do whatever it takes to keep her independence and seize control of her future...even if it means swearing to remain a virgin for her entire life.
When eighteen-year-old Eleanora’s father is shot dead on the cobblestone streets of 1910 Albania, Eleanora must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother Meria.
Nearing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage with the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Intent on keeping her freedom, Eleanora takes an oath to remain a virgin for the rest of her life—a tradition that gives her the right to live as a man: she is now head of her household and can work for a living as well as carry a gun. Eleanora can also participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed—unless she forsakes her vow, which she has no intention of ever doing.
But when an injured stranger stumbles into her life, Eleanora nurses him back to health, saving his life—yet risking her own as she falls in love with him...
“It’s hard to believe that the culture Dukes describes was ever real, but the amount of research she put into this book definitely shines through. The story remains fascinating throughout; readers will definitely find it difficult to put this novel down.”—San Francisco Book Review
Photo ©2017 by Matt Jacobson
About Kristopher DukesKristopher Dukes was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has been a nationally published writer since she was in high school. Her work has been featured in the bestselling book series Written in the Dirt and fashion bible WWD. She has been profiled in Vogue.fr, NY Times.com, Fast Company, Forbes.com, and WWD. The Sworn Virgin is her debut novel. She lives in Manhattan Beach, California, with her husband, Matt, and Doberman, Xena.
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I've been so lucky with the books I've been reading lately, truly some of the best stories ever. And if there's one thing I like about a book, is reading about places I've never been or customs I have never heard of.
The Sworn Virgins of Albania is definitely something I had never heard of. I was fascinated with the concept that women could dress as men and declare themselves men and thereby reap all the benefits that came with that. They carried guns, they were allowed to kill other men for honor. It was just such an interesting way of life that I really enjoyed being transported to Albania and the beautiful rich culture it is made of.
As I've found with some books as well, the beginning was a bit slow, and I understand the need to establish the setting and give us the background on the culture and characters, but it just drug out a bit for me. It wasn't a huge deal, once the story got going, I enjoyed every single second of it.
The journey Eleanora was on, was jam packed, from an 18 year old trying to make her way through life, to her meeting Cheremi, to falling in love and eventually making the transition into womanhood and a wife.
I still really love my historical fictions and this one didn't disappoint.