After taking a little break in January, I am delighted to be sharing my first ‘Off the Bookshelf’ review of 2023, it’s a book which had been sitting on my Kindle for way too long; The Blacksmith’s Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes.

The Blacksmith’s Wife by Elisabeth Hobbes

Series: The Danby Brother’s #1

A passion forged from fire

Rejected by her favored knight, Joanna Sollers knows she will never love again. Especially when the man she’s now forced to marry is none other than her beloved’s half brother!

For blacksmith Hal Danby, marrying Joanna makes his lifelong dream of entering the Smiths’ Guild possible, even if the secrets in his past mean he’ll forever keep his distance. But everything changes with one stolen night, and in the arms of his new bride, Hal wonders if this loveless arrangement could transform into something real…


‘A Passion forged with fire’

Oh, yes!!

For some reason, I have been looking high and low for a blacksmith, and here he is!!

Oh, Hal, my, oh my!!

I have always preferred an everyday, rough around the edges hero over a titled brat in a cravat. I have nothing against cravat-wearing men, I just prefer my heroes to be a little less stuffy and Hal is exactly what I have been looking for.

Here is a man you can well and truly swoon over, those bulging biceps from all that hammering of steel *shivers* then be picked up and thrown over a well-muscled steely shoulder to be ravished somewhere inappropriate.

I have very inappropriate Blacksmith dreams 😉

*Coughs * and blushes!🤭

Well, shall I actually talk about the book instead of fixating on hot metal and the man who wields it?

Right, focus!!

The Blacksmith Hal appreciation book – or its proper title; The Blacksmith’s Wife is glorious, fiery hot, thrilling, sexy, seductive, atmospheric, dramatic, emotional, tantalising – glorious in every way imaginable.

Hmmm, I think I just described Hal, once again – honestly, I have become obsessed!

This is the first book in the Danby Brothers mini-series, I did read them out of order, but hey that’s just me isn’t it?! I absolutely loved the second book; Redeeming the Rogue Knight which follows Hal’s half-brother Roger, now it’s no secret of how much I fell head over heels for that Rogue Knight (even now I am removing the hot poker scenes) but Hal has just shoved his arrogant brother out of the way to claim my affection.

I definitely see Roger in a different light after reading this book, this Roger didn’t quite fit in with the seductive rough and ready Knight I had initially thought him to be, here we have a spoilt and arrogant man-child and yet he’s whole personality changes and matures in the second book and now I fully understand Roger had to suffer as he did in that story.

Hal is a proud man, he knows that being born on the wrong side of the bed (or even out of the wrong bed completely) his prospects in life were limited to what he could achieve himself, there was no leg up and being Knighted for Hal, unlike his brother. Everything Hal has in life comes from sheer determination and bull-headedness, he is a gifted Blacksmith but he wants more.

He has large aspirations our Hal and they don’t involve spending his life making horseshoes or farming ploughs, he dreams of taking his skills further to be actually recognised for his ability and being accepted into the Smith’s Guild. He sees his chance when he meets Joanna, who is the niece of Blacksmith with connections to the Guild.

It’s here where I do think that he shares his brother’s ruthlessness, they are both determined to be the best and will walk over anyone who gets in their way to get what they want.

I have always been taken with men who have actually worked hard to be where they are, Hal may have been recognised by his father as his son but that means nothing. He is and will always be seen as illegitimate meaning he must work harder for anything, unlike Roger, Hal will never hand a silver platter with a Knighthood on it. There is no love lost between the brother, the tension between them is constantly there crackling in the background.

Hal is a loyal and passionate man, but it’s his dogged determination, work ethos and sheer stubbornness to get what he wants that appeals to me – plus, a mighty fine set of arms!!

After being orphaned years earlier, Joanna is taken in (rather reluctantly I have to say) by her uncle, a man who sees her as nothing more than a means to high society and wealth.

Joanna I felt is trying to find her place in the world, she lacks confidence and seeing she gets very little attention or shown proper affection by her family, her head is very easily turned by a charming, handsome Knight a man of steel and prowess, a man who knows exactly what he is doing and is just playing the game until,l he gets what he wants.

Obviously, she is far too naive to realise this yet, all that circulates her mind is that this stud is paying her attention and may (not) marry her and release her from her uncle’s care.

Oh, Joanna!!

Joanna is a very sweet young woman, a little out of her depth I’d say. She is far too naive for her own good and the way she pins all of her hopes and affection on Roger is borderline nauseating. Especially when you have the charismatic, twinkly-eyed Hal right there in front of her. Can’t she see Roger is just using her and wanting nothing more than a bed warmer?!

It’s by chance that she meets the roguish Roger’s brother; Blacksmith Hal. There is an instant attraction between the two, she is obviously taken in by him as he strongly resembles her beloved Roger, but where he is all about ripping off her clothes and having his wicked way. Hal is different, he teases and banters with her, and he smoulders without even trying.

I’m telling you if this guy put actual effort into seducing then no woman with a pulse would be safe!

One thing leads to another and before anyone knows it these two have been forced together by holy matrimony. The road to happily ever after doesn’t come smoothly between them, they have a mountain to claim before that. They both are flawed, but it’s Hal more than Joanna who has a trust issue, he needs to work through a lot of personal drama before he can allow her close enough.

I loved watching their relationship develop though, it’s hard at times because blocks are standing in their way. But when they do lower their defences, the air crackles with lust and passion.

As ever with Elisabeth Hobbes this is a masterclass of how a Medieval Romance is supposed to be, her evocative and captivating writing lures you into the story, you are breathing in the very soul of the period and it’s addictive and compelling and oh-so-satisfying!

I think you probably know what I thought of this book by now, and how much ai thought enjoyed the journey and loved the tantalising romance. But, in case you missed it within my waffles, let me tell you now this book is superb, I can’t recommend it enough!!


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