Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin – REVIEW
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union – holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harper360.
Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“I was no one’s sacrifice. Not then. Not now. Not ever.”
I was thrilled when I received a proof copy of this book from Harper360 as I’d been desperate to read it since hearing it was about a witch and a witch-hunter falling in love. When done well, a proper enemies-to-lovers plot is one of my favourite tropes. In seventeenth-century France, the Chasseurs of the Church hunt witches in an attempt to eradicate magic. Their mission to root out witches stems from a misogynistic society’s desperation to exert patriarchal control over powerful women, and I appreciated how the author explored this issue. Nothing in this book is black and white, good or evil, rather everything and everyone is a varying shade of grey.
“A witch and a witch hunter bound in holy matrimony. There was only one way such a story would end – a stake and a match.”
Lou and Coco are witches and share a wonderful friendship. They’re witty, intelligent, and capable, disproving any ignorant belief that women are the supposed weaker sex. I loved Lou’s humour and was fascinated by her backstory and family history. Due to embarrassing circumstances, Lou is forced into an arranged marriage with Reid, a chasseur. Reid is strong, righteous, and loyal to a fault. Lou and Reid’s slow-burn romance was handled beautifully and felt so believable. Quick digression here to let you know that THERE WAS ONLY ONE BED (this has to be another favourite trope of mine). As secrets are revealed, their love is sorely tested by seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
“There are some things that can’t be changed with words. Some things have to be seen. They have to be felt.”
As the separate plot threads began to converge towards the end of the book, the pacing became a little too rushed. There was almost no time to process what was happening and so the intended emotional impact was lessened. This was the only reason I knocked one star off the rating but maybe when I reread it I’ll feel differently now I know what happens. I read Serpent & Dove in one sitting though which is always a great sign. With its evocative setting, memorable characters, and well-handled tropes, I’d definitely recommend Serpent & Dove to fans of YA fantasy and authors such as Sarah J Maas.