This is the author wearing his Critical Thinking Hat, a valuable tool for processing reviews of his work. He credits it with useful insights into public reactions, though hindsight has also proved helpful. See the end of the page for the author wearing his Hindsight Hat. The author designed his novel as a paperback, using headers to present the reader with useful information, but Kindle and ePub formats don’t have headers, and all reviews so far are only for those formats. It is with the wisdom of hindsight that the author now wonders if the absence of headers has caused problems for some readers. About one third of reviews rate the book only three stars or less. The other two-thirds rate it four or five stars. However, the Critical Thinking Hat suggests that Mirrored Sword will always cause some readers a few problems, with or without headers.

Mirrored Sword was originally published in two, separate parts, the first half cleverly subtitled Part One, the second Part Two. Both parts were first reviewed at REEDSY DISCOVERY, which I quote in full:

Part One

Loved it! 😍

A wonderful historical fiction novel filled with humor, adventure, romance, and great characters.

“There is nothing better, in my opinion, than a really good historical fiction novel. I love to get a glimpse into what life was like “back then”. And if the book can do so in a way that is fun to read and not too dry – then that is a book I won’t be able to put down. This book, Mirrored Sword Part One, was one of those books. It was so good I binge read it in a few hours on a rainy Sunday afternoon – I just couldn’t put it down.

The dialogue is witty and natural throughout and the author, Allan Hands, has filled his story with so many well-developed and multifaceted characters that I could picture the happenings in my mind as I read, almost as if a tiny play was being performed just for me in my imagination. This is a story that spans a short time period (only 17 days) and most of the action is contained within limited locations. It could have easily grown so stale but because the author chose to timebox each chapter as one of the days and provide a snippet of the story told from the perspective of one of the characters the narrative always feels fresh.

Little bits of our characters and their backstories are revealed throughout, and as each layer is revealed, the story remains interesting and engaging, keeping you wanting more– especially about our two main characters Susanna and Tom. The author also uses character perspective to provide the historical exposition that is needed to understand the political climate of England at the time (the story is set during the War of the Roses a time of civil war in England 1470s). The author does an excellent job of providing a glimpse into what it was like in the towns and while travelling during this turbulent time period.

Just one warning – the book ends a bit abruptly but that is because there is a sequel book – Mirrored Sword Part Two. If the author’s intent was to have me so invested in Susanna and Tom’s story that I was chomping at the bit to get my hands on the second part of their story – mission succeeded. If you, like me, love historically rich novels with some comedy, adventure, and romance thrown in for good measure – this book is definitely one to read.”

Amy Rodriguez

Part Two

5 out of 5 stars Must read 🏆

A fun, exciting book with many twists and turns that does not disappoint

“I love a thrilling book that is so absorbing I can’t stop turning the pages, eager to find out what happens next. The Mirrored Sword Part Two is one of those books. I could not stop reading, even long after I should have turned out the lights and gone to bed. But the lack of sleep was worth it as I thoroughly enjoyed this exciting conclusion to the story first introduced in Mirrored Sword Part One. I was already addicted to the funny, humorous characters introduced in the first book and this same humor was carried into this book, along with more adventure and romance.

The characters were so real and so engaging that I was pulled into their world instantly and experienced all the highs and lows of the book right along with them. They were so well written that at times I wanted to punch or slap some sense into the heroine Susanna because of the choices she was making in her naivety. And I am not embarrassed to admit, I am half in love with the book’s hero, Tom, and my heart broke right along with his when his love felt unrequited and hopeless.

I ran the gambit of emotions while reading this book – there were moments when I laughed out loud at the witty banter between characters, when I got teared up, gasped out loud in surprise, or even screamed in frustration at the inexplicable behavior of some of the characters at times. I was on the edge of my seat as the book drew to its thrilling conclusion, so caught up in the danger and adventure of the last few chapters I could not put it down. This book was like a fun roller coaster ride with many twists and turns, and I was strapped in and enjoying the ride the whole way through.

My only disappointment is that the story is done and there is no more to read. But I am hoping that the author has more books coming, especially if they involve the continuing adventures of Susanna and Tom. This is a must read for historical fiction fans – you will not be disappointed.

Note: I recommend reading the books in order as Mirrored Sword Part One definitely builds a foundational story and sets up most of the characters and intrigue found in Mirrored Sword Part Two.”

Amy Rodriguez

Some reviews from OnlineBookClub:

Review of Mirrored Sword Part One at Post by Reviewer100 05 Nov 2021, 17:51

4 out of 4 stars

“The last chapter is the most intriguing for me, leaving the reader in awe of how the hidden agendas and truths were revealed.”

Review of Mirrored Sword Part Two

Post by Nazzy_ 05 Dec 2021, 13:22

4 out of 4 stars

Mirrored Sword Part Two is an amazing story that will keep you up all night and leave you craving for the next page. I, therefore, rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend the book to lovers of historical fiction. Those who love books on adventure will also enjoy this book.”

Reviews are also available at Amazon and you can browse them using the SHOP NOW buttons. Most sales and reviews have been at UK Amazon and those provide the highest ratings, averaging 4 stars for Part One, 5 stars for Part Two.


The novel has also been published as a two-in-one volume, The Complete Mirrored Sword. This larger book is available only in paperback and yet it has only been reviewed as an ePub. Here again the digital format may have caused reviewers some problems. It is 772 pages and there is nothing like a heavy paperback for conditioning people for a long read, whereas the digital format often surprises readers with their slow progress, especially if they are accustomed to short novels. However, the author’s CT Hat suggests that lovers of big books will not be discouraged by any format.

Reviews and ratings for The Complete Mirrored Sword are available at NetGalley, where the average rating is rounded to 4 out of 5 stars. Many of the same reviewers also pasted their comments at GoodReads, where the rating is 3.4. This is only a small sample but it is a useful guide for buyers.