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Review: The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett

Hey all, Dani here.

Hello and Happy Tuesday. It was the first day back to work after the Easter holiday weekend. Because my particular shift does not work on Fridays, it was decided that we would get our Good Friday holiday on Monday instead, which I found to be quite nice. It gave me a day to relax and read, after a weekend of cleaning, cooking, and other activities like playing Animal Crossing. I’m finding that I’m a little bit sore after finishing a ten hour shift at work, but I’m taking hot showers at night and sleeping under a heated blanket all night, so it ends up making my muscles feel a lot less tense, which is pretty great.

Anyway, I’m excited to be back with another review. So let’s not waste any more time with this intro stuff. It’s time to jump into the review.

The Winter Duke

Book Details

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 432

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Publication Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 0316417343 (ISBN13: 9780316417341)


An enchanted tale of intrigue where a duke’s daughter is the only survivor of a magical curse.

When Ekata’s brother is finally named heir, there will be nothing to keep her at home in Kylma Above with her murderous family. Not her books or science experiments, not her family’s icy castle atop a frozen lake, not even the tantalizingly close Kylma Below, a mesmerizing underwater kingdom that provides her family with magic. But just as escape is within reach, her parents and twelve siblings fall under a strange sleeping sickness.

In the space of a single night, Ekata inherits the title of duke, her brother’s warrior bride, and ever-encroaching challengers from without—and within—her own ministry. Nothing has prepared Ekata for diplomacy, for war, for love…or for a crown she has never wanted. If Kylma Above is to survive, Ekata must seize her family’s power. And if Ekata is to survive, she must quickly decide how she will wield it.

Part Sleeping Beauty, part Anastasia, with a thrilling political mystery, The Winter Duke is a spellbinding story about choosing what’s right in the face of danger.

My Thoughts

Rating: 4.5 stars

This was a really interesting read. I think it definitely would have been perfect to include in my Winter Atmosphere Recommendations post, because it is set in a frozen Northern country, where the palace sits on/by a frozen lake, there are ice cold winter roses that will freeze your fingers if you hold them too long, and below the ice there is a sister nation to Kylma Above called Kylma Below.

Also, there is so much subterfuge and political intrigue in this one. Though it did annoy me that Ekata was supposed to be this well learned princess but she had issues grasping most all of the political and economic policies in her country. Yes, sure her speciality is scientific matters, but she still should have known at least basics of political and foreign policy.

And there is so much backstabbing going on in here. At the start of the book Ekata is just waiting for one of her siblings to try and kill her. This is definitely not a family I want to be a part of.

But on the plus side, nobody in this nation, or its neighbors seems to care at all if someone goes by different pronouns, or likes the same gender/sex, whatever. I love the general acceptance of the world.

I do wish the summary hadn’t been so misleading, though. Ekata chose a warrior bride; it isn’t like she inherited someone her brother chose. He never would have chosen her, but I think this pairing with Ekata is great. Actually, I would have loved to get some of the story from the bride’s POV.

Where to Get a Copy

You can grab your own copy of this book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-million, Book Depository, or your local independent bookstore through IndieBound.

You can also check with your local library.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Winter Duke by Claire Eliza Bartlett”

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