Author: Jennifer Anne Davis
Narrator: Kim Bretton
Series: Knights of the Realm, Book 1
Length: 7 hours 58 minutes
Publisher: Reign Publishing
Released: Oct. 11, 2019
Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.
In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men, and land can only pass from father to son. So, when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.
Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border. Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm.
If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the knights and become a weapon for the crown.
To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.
This is the first book in a new fantasy series from best-selling author Jennifer Anne Davis
Jennifer Anne Davis graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in English and a teaching credential. She is currently a full-time writer and mother of three kids, one weimaraner, and a tortoise. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart and lives in the San Diego area.
Jennifer is the recipient of the San Diego Book Awards Best Published Young Adult Novel (2013), winner of the Kindle Book Awards (2018), a finalist in the USA Best Book Awards (2014), and a finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards (2014).
Publishers Marketplace listed Jennifer as one of the best-selling indie authors in June 2017. She has also been ranked among the top 100 best-selling authors on Amazon.
Kim is an accomplished and award winning actress and director with West End/Broadway theatre credits. Kim has narrated over 35 audiobooks and counting. She is also an in demand voice over talent in the commercial and corporate arena and owns her own class A recording studio in Nashville. Kim is from the UK but has lived in NYC, L.A. and now Nashville TN. She continues to work in Theatre, Film and TV as an actress and a director alongside narrating audiobooks and commercial voice overs.
A really fun story from Davis. I enjoy female leads that are not weak and waiting for someone to save them, especially in older time period settings. I felt Reid’s character was well developed and I could easily empathize with her situation. The lies as well gave a good amount of suspense throughout the book. It reminded me slightly of another series I loved where a woman had to pretend to be a man to become a knight. The story does not have many physical action scenes, which I think would have helped create more suspense and scare in regards to our main character, but overall I had a really great time listening to this audio! Would love to get a chance to listen to more. 5/5 stars.
Bretton is a good narrator. Great use of pacing and inflection in tones. No audio blips from what I could tell. I liked her voice for Reid the most, which is great as she’s the main character. 5/5 stars as well!
I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Jennifer Anne Davis. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author Jennifer Anne Davis
- Do you have any pets?
- I have a dog, Miles. He’s a 10 year old weimarainer. Every single book I’ve written, he’s been at my side. I couldn’t write without him!
- How often do you write?
- I write five days a week, 8-10 hours a day. I usually set a goal for myself, and I’ll work until I reach that goal. When I’m writing a first draft, I try and write 5,000 words a day. Then when I’m editing, I usually try and edit 10 pages a day.
- Do you have any hidden messages in your books that only a few people will find?
- Yes! I always leave little hidden gems. Usually these gems somehow relate to my other books.
- Tell us a little bit about the characters in Realm of Knights.
- Realm of Knights is centered around Reid Ellington. She’s an 18 year old young woman, and the fifth daughter of Duke Ellington. Since land and title can only pass from father to son, the duke tells everyone Reid is a boy when she’s born. So Reid has grown up wearing boy clothing and playing with boys. It has made her fiercely independent and she views the world differently than those around her. There are a few other characters of importance in the book. Her best friend, Harlan, helps her out. He’s the sort of guy that’s always there, fiercely loyal, and he respects Reid even when he learns she’s a woman. Then there’s the princes—Ackley and Gordon. They’re brothers and best friends. Ackley is tall and lean. There’s a fierceness to him that he manages to keep hidden. Gordon is the commander of the army. He’s shorter and stockier than Ackley, he’s fairly quiet, and he’s a little stubborn.
- How do you balance other aspects of your life with your writing?
- It’s hard to balance everything. I treat writing as my full-time job (because it is). It allows me the freedom to be there for my kids when they need me. However, when I’m on a deadline, it can be rough revising when I need everything to be quiet around me. Thankfully, my family is very supportive and we make it work.
- What makes a great story line?
- Interesting characters that the reader can connect with, an obstacle the main character has to overcome, a fantastic villain, and a unique love interest.
- What is the hardest thing about writing a book?
- Revising. Writing the first draft is the fun part. Revising—which is basically rewriting the entire story—is difficult for me. I want to make sure that everything I’m thinking and feeling in my head is exposed on the page. It usually takes me about 25 min to revise one page.
- How many books have you written? Which book is your favorite?
- I’ve written 15 books. I don’t know that I have a favorite. Maybe The Key simply because that book is what solidified my love for writing. It was the first book I wrote for me instead of for the market or to get published.
- In Realm of Knights, which character is your favorite?
- In Realm of Knights, I adore Reid. However, I have a soft spot for Ackley.
- Where do you write?
- At home, I write either in my writing room (aka the writing cave), on the couch, or sitting at the kitchen counter. Oh, and in bed. But I also write sitting at the soccer field during my kids’ practices or at the pool during swim meets.
- What do you do outside of writing?
- I love to go to the beach, read, and take hikes.
- What advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
- Read. Read everything you can in the genre you want to write.
- What is your favorite book? Favorite author?
- I don’t have a favorite book or author. There are too many that I love. A lot of times it depends on my mood as to what book I want to read. Some of my favorites include: Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, Julianne Donaldson’s Edenbrooke, and Sarah J. Maas’s Heir of Fire.
- Do you have any people who help you with your story lines as well beta reading and such?
- Yes. I have two people that read everything I write. They’ve both been with me for years, and I couldn’t write without them. One started out as my biggest critic and now is my biggest cheerleader. The other is a pro at finding plot holes and inconsistencies.
- How did you choose your narrator?
- For Realm of Knights, I wanted a female voice with a British accent. It was important to me that the narrator have a youthful voice since Reid is only 18. However, I also wanted her to have a maturity to her that hints at the hardships Reid has faced over the years. When I was listening to auditions, the second I heard Kim’s voice, I knew I’d found the perfect narrator. I was so excited when she agreed to take on the project, that I had her sign for all three books in the series. She is the perfect person for these books, and I couldn’t be happier.
What would you say is the heroine’s biggest challenge (beside getting away with pretending to be a man)? By Jennifer Anne Davis
The heroine’s biggest challenge is discovering what it is she wants with her life.
Reid has spent her entire life pretending to be a man, learning to manage her father’s estate, and fitting into society’s expectations of what a person of her position should be. Trough it all, she has never stopped to consider what she wants for herself. Does she want to be a woman and wear dresses like her sisters? Does she want to marry? What about kids?
Reid thought being a man was limiting the things she wanted to do. However, when her life is uprooted and she is forced to be Lady Reid instead of Lord Reid, she discovers that being a woman isn’t as easy as she thought it would be. What she thought would be fun—like wearing a dress—she suddenly realizes isn’t so simple. The fabric and design of a fancy dress is restricting. Yet, women aren’t allowed to wear pants. In addition, she discovers that she can no longer speak her mind in public, walk around town unattended, spar or do sword work, or even ride her horse on her own. The freedoms she took for granted as a man are suddenly stripped from her.
Forced to face the fact that while she is a woman, she prefers the freedoms men have. However, she can’t have both in her society. She knows she can’t live the rest of her life pretending to be a man. However, she isn’t sure she can stand the thought of being a woman every day either.
On top of discovering herself, she also has to navigate the murky waters of love. She has been careful to shield herself from being attracted to men or falling in love. After all, it would have ruined her cover. However, now that she meets a few new people, she doesn’t know what to do when she finds herself attracted to one of them. Reid suddenly feels inadequate, out of her league, and not sure how to behave. She’s never done anything for herself or anything simply because she wants to. But it’s time for all of that to change. It’s time Reid decides who she is, what she wants, and to fight for those things.
Basics: Reid has brown hair, brown eyes, she’s 5’ 3”.
More in depth look at Reid: As a child, it was easy for Reid to pretend to be a boy. As long as her hair didn’t get too long, she could easily wear pants and tunics, blending right in with the boys her own age. She would run around, play games with the boys, and she even learned to fight. However, as Reid started to get older, things started to become more complicated. She finds herself needing to wear a hat most of the time. While it is acceptable for men to have shoulder length hair, anything beyond that isn’t common. Knowing this, Reid keeps her brown hair about shoulder length and tied back. When her father presses her to cut it even shorter, she refuses. She knows at some point she has to stop pretending to be a boy and by refusing to cut her hair, this is the first time she is starting to question her father. In addition, when she starts to develop a chest, she has to wrap fabric around herself to hold her breasts down. She doesn’t want to brush up against someone and have them feel her womanly figure. The problem is that now at eighteen, it’s difficult to hide her boobs. Reid’s sister even notices Reid’s curvy hips. When Reid steps out of the castle, she makes sure to take a cape with her. The cape helps to conceal her figure.
When Reid spars with the young men her age, they tease her because she always keeps her shirt and hat on. While a lot of the men remove their tunic and shirts, Reid doesn’t have that luxury and is starting to stand out.
She loves to spar with twin swords. Her father had special swords made for her that are lighter and easier for her to wield.
One of my favorite parts in the book is when Reid has to face Ackley. In order to pull off being a man, she makes sure to have her hat on, she puts gloves on to cover her delicate hands, and she is wearing a cape even though she’s inside. To top it off, she shoves a sock in her pants to make it look like she’s a man. Only, the sock sorta slides to the side and Ackley notices. There isn’t much he doesn’t notice.
Giveaway: $25 Amazon Gift Card
Plugging you into the audio community since 2016.
Sign up as a tour host here.