‘The Sworn Virgin’ Reminds Us To Never Give Up [REVIEW]

Albania waterfalls

In the land of waterfalls, Albania, a young woman must fight for her freedom in Kristopher Dukes’ THE SWORN VIRGIN. (Photo by Alessandro Giangiulio, Flickr)

Throughout history and all around the world, women have had to fight for their rights and for their freedom. In some countries, this is still the case. And in early twentieth-century Albania, a woman’s independence came at a great price: she must remain a virgin for the rest of her life. 

Kristopher Dukes' THE SWORN VIRGIN

William Morrow

In Kristopher Dukes’ engrossing debut novel, The Sworn Virgin, 18-year-old Eleanora has never been treated like most young women. Not one relegated to housework or betrothed to be married, she was raised by her doting physician father and learned about medicine from an early age. Together they traveled extensively, healing the sick.

But when her father is killed in the streets, she is suddenly faced with a new reality, and struggles to survive in a remote mountain village with her stepmother, Meria. However, desperate times can make even the kindest people do atrocious things, and facing starvation, Meria secretly sells Eleanora into marriage to the heartless heir of a powerful clan.

Determined never to lose her independence, Eleanora does the only thing she can: she swears to remain a virgin for the rest of her days. This tradition affords her the opportunity to live as a man: to carry a gun, to earn a living, and even to participate in the brutal blood feuds that consume the mountain tribes. Yet she can never be killed, unless she breaks her vow, something she has no intention of doing.

And yet, when she meets an injured stranger, she unwittingly loses her heart as she nurses him back to health and risks losing everything she has fought so hard to retain.

Beautifully written and thoughtfully crafted, Dukes presents this tale with a thorough attention to detail, gracefully transporting readers back in time to a world they have likely never encountered, to walk among a male dominated society that considered women as property, as was the custom.

Even when the characters behave in ways many may consider horrific by today’s standards, Dukes manages to showcase their humanity, allowing readers to see that there are two sides to every story, and that change only happens when someone bravely takes a stand and opens people’s eyes to the possibilities that things can be different.

Historically accurate and cinematic in scope, The Sworn Virgin is one of those rare novels that transcends genre, captivates the mind, and will move readers to their core. It illustrates why none of us should ever relinquish hope, and why love and kindness should always be the rule, not the exception. This novel is one for the keeper shelf.


Kristopher Dukes

Kristopher Dukes
(Photo by Matt Jacobson)

Kristopher Dukes was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She has been a nationally published writer since high school. Her work has been featured in the bestselling book series Written in the Dirt and fashion bible WWD, and profiled in Vogue.fr, NYTimes.com, Fast Company, Forbes.com, and WWD. The Sworn Virgin is her debut novel.

She lives in Manhattan Beach, California, with her husband, Matt, pit bull, Lucius, and Doberman, Xena.

Visit her home on the Web at KristopherDukes.com and like her on Facebook.

By Kristopher Dukes
352 pgs. William Morrow. $15.99

TLC Book Tours Tour HostPurchase The Sworn Virgin at one of these fine online retailers: HarperCollins, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

The Sworn Virgin is brought to you in association with TLC Book Tours.

The Sworn Virgin Giveaway

Congratulations to Sally Truscheit who just won a copy of The Sworn Virgin. Although this giveaway is now closed, stay tuned for more great opportunities to win future titles.


About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

4 Responses to ‘The Sworn Virgin’ Reminds Us To Never Give Up [REVIEW]

  1. trish says:

    I wonder what it’s like for authors to write characters in ways that they themselves would never behave, and also if it’s hard to forget modern social constructs when writing about historical times…

  2. I’ve never read a book set in Albania before – I’d definitely like to learn more about the history and culture!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

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