Review – Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

Tessa Gratton - Lady Hotspur cover cropped for featured image
Review - Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

Book Title: Lady Hotspur

Book Description: “Inspired by Shakespeare's Henry IV, Lady Hotspur continues the saga of Innis Lear, centuries later, as revolution, love, and a betrayal corrupt the descendants of two warring kingdoms. Hal was once a knight, carefree and joyous, sworn to protect her future queen Banna Mora. But after a rebellion led by her own mother, Caleda, Hal is now the prince of Lionis, heir to the throne. The pressure of her crown and bloody memories of war plague her, as well as a need to shape her own destiny, no matter the cost. Lady Hotspur, known as the Wolf of Aremoria for her temper and warcraft, never expected to be more than a weapon. She certainly never expected to fall in love with the fiery Hal or be blindsided by an angry Queen’s promise to remake the whole world in her own image—a plan Hotspur knows will lead to tragedy. Banna Mora kept her life, but not her throne. Fleeing to Innis Lear to heal her heart and plot revenge, the stars and roots of Innis Lear will teach her that the only way to survive a burning world is to learn to breathe fire. These three women, together or apart, are the ones who have the power to bring the once-powerful Aremoria back to life—or destroy it forever.”

Book Author: Tessa Gratton

Book Format: Hardcover

Publisher - Orgnization: Tor Books

Publisher Logo:

Date published: 2020-01-07

Number Of Pages: 592

  • Writing - 8/10
  • Development - 6/10
  • Overall - 7/10
User Review
0 (0 votes)


Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton was inspired by Henry IV, and thus is a politically driven piece of work. The strong female leads make this one stand out among the crowd.


A Strong and Powerful Lead in Lady Hotspur

Lady Hotspur is the latest novel from the mind of Tessa Gratton, and it has been making waves. This is a telling inspired by Henry IV, but with a twist. It’s a gender-bent retelling, with twists, turns, violence, and politics liberally strewn throughout.

Three dominant female leads take charge in this novel. Some are fighters. Some are born politicians. All are battling for their side to win, with the crown being the prize (for most). Throw in a f/f romance, and you can see why people have been talking about this novel.

Tessa Gratton - Lady Hotspur
Tessa Gratton – Lady Hotspur

One thing I would like to note before I dive into my review. Lady Hotspur isn’t being advertised as part of a series. That’s a bit strange since it is a direct follow-up to the events in Queens of Innis Lear. You don’t really need to have read the first one in order to understand Lady Hotspur (I didn’t). But it would likely significantly increase your appreciation.


Tessa Gratton’s tale is beautifully written, with complex characters who break the molds of tradition. Lady Hotspur is more than just a gender-bent retelling of Henry IV, though I can understand and appreciate all of the comparisons made there.

That being said, I do have a couple of complaints about this novel. I feel like most of my complaints circle back around to that note I made above. I just lacked an emotional connection to most of these characters, and I imagine if I had read the first half of their story I would have felt differently about that. So that is perhaps my mistake.

If you’re diving into this story with hopes of finding lots of politics and war, then you’re in luck, because there is so much of that. It feels like each and every character in this novel had their own goal and set of schemes. The level of complexity is truly inspiring.


Lady Hotspur was, admittedly, not the fastest-paced novel around. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, I would have loved more time spent on character development (as I mentioned above, I wanted to become attached to these characters).

This story starts off with a bang—right in the middle of a battle that demands your attention. But from there things tend to go up and down, sometimes stalling altogether to focus on something else entirely.

The characters were interesting and did seem to develop over time. I would have loved to see them in their earlier days so I could make a better comparison there.


I was so unbelievably excited to get my hands on Lady Hotspur. So you can imagine my disappointment when I didn’t end up loving it nearly as much as I had hoped. Maybe it was unfair of me to raise my expectations so high—and that very well may have caused some additional disappointment here. Because this novel wasn’t bad—not by any means. It just wasn’t as intense or enthralling as I had hoped for.

I still absolutely love the core concept of this novel, as well as the frame from which the main characters were built. There’s so much potential in this type of storytelling. I also think that Tessa Gratton is a talented writer, so I don’t want to come off as being overly down on her here. The truth of the matter is that sometimes a book just doesn’t click with its readers. And that’s what happened to me here.

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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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