Duties of the Heart

Sherrill Burns

Publisher: Pageturner Press and Media Pages: 392 Price: (paperback) $15.99 ISBN: 9781638718383 Reviewed: March, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

This fantasy romance revolves around a prince who meets and falls in love with a mysterious woman just weeks before he’s to be married—and the potentially disastrous consequences of that connection.

Prince Alexander—son and heir of King Benjamin of Theslia—is sent to a remote village to locate and return to the castle with a woman selected to be his future wife’s lady-in-waiting. But although his betrothed—whom Alexander has never met—is allegedly a beautiful princess, he doesn’t care: He wants to marry for love, not for political gain.

When he meets “farm girl” Mirage, a woman with strange powers, his world is irrevocably changed. His love for her makes him consider giving up everything to be with her. Meanwhile, the tyrant king of a neighboring nation—a racist misogynist named Marsalis—plots to destroy Theslia once and for all.

The risk in writing a novel with multiple genres—in this case, romance and fantasy—is that you might fail to satisfy fans of one or both of the categories. Burns does a moderate job with romance, creating lovers with dynamism and attraction, as well was an interesting backstory. The relationship is fraught with conflict and tension, which romance fans will undoubtedly enjoy.

Unfortunately, the sex scenes are awkwardly worded and even cringeworthy in spots; for example: “he came to the door of her love and savored the feeling that told him she was truly his” and “… wave after wave of wet passion wrapped around his manhood.”

The fantasy elements are also a weakness. The world-building is simply a pseudo-medieval European realm inhabited by humans, elves, fairies, nymphs, etc. Additionally, Mirage’s powers, particularly at the novel’s conclusion, stretch the bounds of believability.

Lastly, numerous grammatical errors prove distracting, including: “…the king’s chiseled physic”; “He was merrily [merely] a mercenary doing his job,” and “Mirage wondered across a field…”

Due to such issues, this fantasy romance is unlikely to satisfy fantasy or romance fans.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Available to buy at: