Morning’s Journey by Kim Iverson Headlee

JOURNEY
Morning’s Journey by Kim Iverson Headlee
The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles #2
Publisher: Pendragon Cove Press
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (422 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Poinsettia

In a violent age when enemies besiege Brydein and alliances shift as swiftly as the wind, stand two remarkable leaders: the Caledonian warrior-queen Gyanhumara and her consort, Arthur the Pendragon. Their fiery love is tempered only by their conviction to forge unity between their disparate peoples. Arthur and Gyan must create an impenetrable front to protect Brydein and Caledonia from land-lusting Saxons and the marauding Angli raiders who may be massing forces in the east, near Arthur’s sister and those he has sworn to protect. But their biggest threat is an enemy within: Urien, Arthur’s rival and the man Gyan was treaty-bound to marry until she broke that promise for Arthur’s love. When Urien becomes chieftain of his clan, his increase in wealth and power is matched only by the magnitude of his hatred of Arthur and Gyan-and his threat to their infant son. Morning’s Journey, sequel to the critically acclaimed Dawnflight, propels the reader from the heights of triumph to the depths of despair, through the struggles of some of the most fascinating characters in all of Arthurian literature. Those struggles are exacerbated by the characters’ own flawed choices. Gyan and Arthur must learn that while extending forgiveness to others may be difficult, forgiveness of self is the most excruciating-yet ultimately the most healing-step of the entire journey.

Gyan and Arthur’s love is strong, but very new. Can it withstand the storm ahead?

Morning’s Journey is the second book detailing Gyan and Arthur’s adventures and begins immediately following the events of the first book, Dawnflight. Anyone wishing to read this book needs to read Dawnflight first.

When I first met Gyan and Arthur in Dawnflight, I grew to like them both very much. They are wonderfully rounded characters, and I just knew they were meant to be together. As I began Mornings Journey, I eagerly anticipated reading about the great things they would accomplish together. However, as I read, it became clear that Gyan and Arthur haven’t become the strong team I know they could be. I was surprised by how much time they spend at odds with each other. Arthur clearly loves Gyan, but he doesn’t realize his actions are smothering at times. Gyan seems determined to question and mistrust practically everything that Arthur does. The gap between them grew with every page.

An unexpected pregnancy only added to the strain on their budding relationship. Gyan loves life as a warrior and knows that children would require sacrifice on her part. Consequently she doesn’t truly want to have children right away. However, birth control options are limited during this time period, and Gyan and Arthur both know that pregnancy is nearly always a possibility when having sex. I found it very hard to watch the pregnancy push Gyan and Arthur even further apart when it could have been something to strengthen their connection.

When unimaginable tragedy strikes, Gyan and Arthur’s bond is almost completely shattered. Gyan forcefully pushes people away from her, and she seems most severe on those who care about her the most. Gyan’s treatment of one of my favorite characters is absolutely atrocious. I can’t give this character’s name without spoiling the story, but I will say that she places an inordinate amount of blame on them. This person had demonstrated unswerving loyalty to her and her family time after time, and it was as if none of that mattered at all. She made this person feel completely worthless, and the actions she takes against them have probably done irreparable damage to their reputation. This coupled with the problems between Gyan and Arthur, made Morning’s Journey very difficult to read at times. Toward the end of the story, Gyan slowly begins to realize that she has been too harsh. I’m sorry to say that the relationship had not been mended at the tale’s conclusion. I can only hope that Gyan reaches out to her friend in the next book.

Despite all the turmoil, I am pleased to say that Gyan and Arthur eventually find their way back to each other. They have scars on their hearts, but I could see a glimmer of the wonderful couple they could be in the very last pages of the book.

Overall, Morning’s Journey is a good book. Gyan and Arthur certainly travel a rocky path, but I believe they will find happiness together eventually. I recommend this tale of love and loss to fans of historical romance.

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