Book 1 of the duology Letters of Enchantment
Divine Rivals Book Cover Divine Rivals
Letters of Enchantment
Rebecca Ross
Young Adult, Magical Realism, Fictional Romance
Wednesday Books
April 4, 2023
Kindle, Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback

After centuries of sleep, the gods are warring again. But eighteen-year-old Iris Winnow just wants to hold her family together. Her mother is suffering from addiction and her brother is missing from the front lines. Her best bet is to win the columnist promotion at the Oath Gazette.

To combat her worries, Iris writes letters to her brother and slips them beneath her wardrobe door, where they vanish—into the hands of Roman Kitt, her cold and handsome rival at the paper. When he anonymously writes Iris back, the two of them forge a connection that will follow Iris all the way to the front lines of battle: for her brother, the fate of mankind, and love.

It’s a school-turned infirmary filled with wounded bodies and souls and lives, and yet they are people so full of braverys and hope and determination it makes you hold a mirror to your own self when you’re alone. To find and name what lurks within you. Relief, shame, admiration, sadness, hope, encouragement, dread, faith. And why such things are there in your bones, when you’ve yet to give yourself up to something so selfless.

Rebecca Ross writes a World War I ‘esque story that weaves romance, paranormal occurrences, and a battle between gods in, Divine Rivals, the first book of the duology, Letters of Enchantment. Set in a human world with undercurrents of magic and an ancient conflict between immortals Dacre and Enva, similar to Hades and Persephone, death and destruction are the backdrop for a connection of hearts. Iris Winnow and Roman Kitt are competing for a columnist position at a major paper but for very different reasons. When the ongoing war causes seismic shifts in each of their family dynamics and an uncertainty about their futures an anonymous and mysteries connection, in the form of letters under the closet door, is formed between them which begins to knit their lives together at the heart level. But gods are not concerned with the trivialities of human emotions and their new and precious link may be lost forever due to the battles of war.

Divine Rivals is a compelling story from both main character perspectives. Iris and Roman have very different viewpoints to a battle that is not their own but which leaves a trail of desctruction for humanity. As reporters, they share a skill of language that allows them to express situations, especially their own, in a way that can be both poignant yet meaningful. This connection forges a relationship that is a unexpected yet becomes an anchor for them both. I really enjoyed the individual growth as well as relationship development that occurred because of this bond. Divine Rivals also has a historical vibe interwoven with fantastical elements which gives it a unique flavor. Rebecca does a great job of blending details that have a historical link to World War I components of a world where magic, supernatural creatures, and gods fight for their own wants and desires.

I will warn you that Divine Rivals is the worst kind of cliffhanger. Not only are you left with something catestrophic happening to one of the main characters but a number of major threads of the story still have not been explained or fully developed. Some people like being put in this limbo until the next book comes out, but I’m not one of them. Especially, since Book 2, Ruthless Vows, is not scheduled for release until April 30, 2024. I am, however, invested in Iris and Roman as well as this conflict between Dacre and Enva so I will find a way to survive until next April.