Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Review: The Sworn Virgin by Kristopher Dukes

Title: The Sworn Virgin
Author: Kristopher Dukes
Format: ARC
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: August 8, 2017 (Today!)
Source: Publisher

What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "When 18-year-old Diana’s father is mysteriously shot dead in the cobblestone streets of 1910s Albania, Diana must abandon her dream of studying art in Italy as she struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother Mirlinda.

Nearing starvation, Mirlinda secretly sells Diana into marriage with Edi, the cruel heir of a powerful clan. Rather than lose her freedom, Diana swears 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, can work for a living and carry a gun. She may participate in the vengeful blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes, but she may not be killed—unless she forsakes her vow.

When an ill stranger stumbles into her life, she nurses him back to health, saving his life but risking her own when she falls in love with him. . ."

My Two Cents:

"The Sworn Virgin" is the story of Eleanora, a woman who chooses to live as a "sworn virgin," a tradition that will allow her to basically be the master of her own destiny and be in control of her own life as long as she keeps to her promise. But promises are hard to keep and love may find her whether she wants it to or not.

I was very interested in the custom of "sworn virgins" in Albania. It is a concept that I had never heard of before. It's so interesting to me to learn about new customs like this through books. "Sworn Virgins" could carry guns (something that gets our heroine into a lot of trouble in the book). They could wear men's clothing and could work the way that men are allowed to. I really liked all of the detail that the author packed into this book about the custom.

While the story and historical context was interesting, the writing felt a little stiff in some places. There would be passages that would flow very nicely and then others that seemed to get mired into telling rather than showing. Eleanora is a strong character and I liked that but a lot of her strength is explained rather than shown, which did take me out of the book a little.

Overall, this was a fascinating subject that I would love to read more about!



  1. I think this concept may be popular in South East Asia amongst women if they could establish it first of all. There may be many women who would much prefer to be single than be forced into marriages not of their choice. First time too I had heard of this custom.

  2. I haven't read this one by Dukes, but I did read an earlier novel by an Albanian woman on the subject: Sworn Virgin by Elvira Dones.

  3. The concept of a sworn virgin is new to me as well, but it sounds fascinating. It certainly offered a different life for women in that time and place.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!

  4. I just finished this one and I'm still not sure how I'll rate it. I liked it a lot...until the end. I think that ending is going to knock it down a notch. I want to rant about it, but that would entail spoilers!


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