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Reviewed by Pikasho Deka for Readers' Favorite
The Year We Lived is a historical fiction novel written by Virginia Crow, set eight years after the Battle of Hastings. Edith spends her days taking care of her sister-in-law Matilda on behalf of her brother, Robert. However, when Matilda dies during childbirth, Edith finds herself more alone than ever. While collecting reeds, she makes friends with a mysterious changeling named Dustan. But a stroll through the forest with him proves costly as she is unceremoniously kidnapped by Henry de Bois, a Norman lord with a vendetta against Robert and the Saxons. After ravaging her body and soul, Henry forcefully marries Edith against her will, making her life a living hell. While Robert swears vengeance, Edith finds unexpected support in the de Bois household as she vows to protect her unborn child.
Author Virginia Crow tells a captivating tale filled with romance, heartbreak, political intrigue, and plenty of action. It is easy to immerse yourself in the story as the revelation of secrets and mysteries keep piling up, and you find yourself turning the pages in eager anticipation of what's to come. The characters are well-developed and easy to relate to. I found Edith's evolution from a naive and innocent girl to a world-weary woman who isn't afraid to sacrifice herself for her loved ones a compelling character arc. I also enjoyed the portrayal of Henry de Bois as an unpredictable fool. The narrative is well-paced, and you never see the twists and turns coming. If you're a fan of historical fiction, I highly recommend The Year We Lived.