The Midwinter Mail-Order Bride by Kati Wilde
The Dead Lands #1; Mail-Order Brides #4
Some might call Princess Anja of Ivermere brave for offering herself up as a bride to Kael the Conqueror, a barbarian warlord who’d won his crown by the bloodied edge of his sword. It was not courage that drove Anja from her magic-wielding family’s enchanted palace, however, but a desperate attempt to secure a kingdom of her own—even if she has to kill the Conqueror to do it. She expects pain beneath his brutal touch as she awaits her chance. She expects death if he discovers the truth of her intentions.
She didn’t expect Kael to reject her and send her back to Ivermere.
Raised in the ashes of the Dead Lands, Kael fears nothing—certainly not the beautiful sorceress who arrives at his mountain stronghold. But no matter how painful his need for her, Kael has no use for a bride who would only tolerate his kiss. Yet the more of Anja’s secrets he uncovers during their journey to return her home, the more determined he becomes to win the princess’s wary heart.
And Kael the Conqueror has never been defeated…
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I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up The Midwinter Mail-Order Bride. I knew that I absolutely LOVED the cover but I never read the blurb so I had no idea what was waiting around the cover for me. What I found was a fantastic fantasy world full of barbarians, strong women, monsters and magic.
I fell for the characters in this story. Kael may be a fearsome barbarian but when he loves he does it with all of him. Anja may have embarked on her journey with the intent to kill but love knocks her off balance in the process.
I loved the world building that took place here. It was well developed but didn’t overwhelm the story. I am truly eager to revisit this world again.
I am not one who typically highlights while reading, but Kati Wilde’s prose about magic had me saving tons. I loved her take on magic. Essentially how casting spells for personal gain becomes cruel magic but the purest most powerful magic is love, kindness and courage.
What is magic but an unseen force that works change upon the world? That is what kindness does.
“Love and kindness are the most powerful of all magics—and not only for the one who gives, but also for whom the magic is bestowed upon. So love is nothing to dread or fear.”
I found these to be such an interesting take on magic. And can not get these thoughts out of my head. I am such a strong believer in spreading kindness and joy. In making sure to find some joy and kindness every day. For me it is what makes it worth it to wake up and face each day. Looking at it as magic, as “an unseen force that works change upon the world,” takes it to a much grander scale. And was such a valuable take away from this book.
The Midwinter Mail-Order Bride was a slow burn yet passionate fantasy that I couldn’t put down.
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