Thursday, December 10, 2020

Review: The Beholder by Anna Bright

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

Release Date
June 4, 2019
Source: Hardcover


Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match, a partner who will help secure the future of her people. Now that day has finally come.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection from her closest childhood friend, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic, where a series of potential suitors awaits—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From English castle gardens to the fjords of Norge, and under the eye of the dreaded Imperiya Yotne, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.
BUY LINKS: The Lit. Bar    |    Amazon




Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after.


Once upon a time always began on nights like tonight.


Short Review:

Cinderella reimagined and the best of folklore. Reluctant adventures across the high seas. To strange, distant lands far from the home we ache for. To broken, naive hearts and finding the courage to be strong. To the lies told and truths unfolded. To silver-tongues and honest souls.

To Torden, who stole my heart . . .

Long Review:

Talk about a debut novel! THE BEHOLDER was easily one of my favorite reads of 2019. The pacing of THE BEHOLDER flowed well for the unfolding of the story. The writing was enticing and kept me flipping the page. The worldbuilding was magical and drew me into Selah's world. My favorite part of the story where the characters though. They were so well fleshed out, they felt real. When Sleah's stepmother played the role of the evil stepmother and her father played the role of the traitorous father who chose his new wife over this daughter, I felt Selah's hopelessness, then rage on her behalf. 

"Sometimes I'm not sure which is worse," I said. "Nightmares, or the thoughts that come to visit when. wake up alone in the dark."

My one issue with Selah's character: her lack of agency. To the point is was super frustrating. Frustrating, I understand. Super frustrating, no so much. Maybe I was frustrated because I've dealt with trying to regain the controls when dealing with family members in my very immediate personal circle or because the lack of agency was overdone? I don't know. Is self-determination a real-life issue? Of course. Is it plausible that someone with a lack of agency would Selah defy her circumstances and risk everything to go on a dangerous seafaring mission to lead her people? No, that's highly unlikely.

“I couldn't help but wonder, as we rose, how it would have been to grow up raised by a pack of wild animal boys instead of nuns and libraries. Would I be less fragile and anxious if I'd spent my earliest days being teased by brothers, more confident if I'd been conscripted into wrestling matches, taught to fight and race?"

Selah's love life in this book was a rollercoaster. Buttttt... she did meet the love of her life in the only. Torden sweet Torden -- who is reminiscent of a smarter, supportive, more serious Thor.

“It will not be easy, but we could build something good together. Something that would endure.”

All in all, I really enjoyed THE BEHOLDER and so excited to read its sequel, THE BOUNDLESS.


SELAH: It was easy to connect with Selah's character. She was kind and intelligent but also shy and lacked purchase. I saw a lot of myself in her. I truly hope Selah becomes stronger in her self resolve.
“My heart was a lit candle, a forest fire, a burning star.”

TORDEN: Torden stole my heart. He was fierce but sweet. Serious but considerate. And he wholly loved and respected Selah which is much more than I can say about her own father let alone her evil stepmother.

"Any excuse to kiss you, or none," he said, voice husky against my lips. "Christmas or Midsummer, under the mistletoe or at a church altar or somewhere alone in the dark. As long as you are mine, elskede, because I am yours."
His mouth was a bonfire that set my skin aglow. As Torden kissed me, warm and relentless, I wondered if it were possible for two people to fall in real love as quickly as we had thrust or hearts at one another."


"He misses you, too. I know it." ... "I've never seen him happier, lucky bastard. So-serious Torden and the girl of his dreams."

"I was done looking for suitors. Whether or not I'd ever see Torden again, I'd already fallen in love."

“The things we like are different. The things we love are the same.”


Anna Bright is an indie bookseller by day and an author by night who still gets in trouble for reading when she's supposed to be doing other things. When not hiding out among books, she loves concerts, roller coasters, and adventures at home and abroad. Anna lives with her husband and cat in a charming cobblestoned neighborhood in Washington, DC, but you can find her online at and on Twitter and Instagram at @brightlyanna.

***Check out Anna Bright's website for more information about her and THE BEHOLDERHERE

Happy Reading!



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