A princess fantasy with a modern twist, this book kept me on the edge of my seat! There was action, mystery, adventure and romance - everything you could want in a fairy tale for adults. Besides the two main characters, there were many other secondary characters that grabbed my attention as well, including a talking horse who brought humor into a few very serious situations. This book had a great balance of many themes, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
Abelia Porchenzii used to be a princess. She is not anymore - got it? She is just a plant worker now, making her own money and trying to steer clear of any mention of her royal family. She has a harder time doing so, though, when messengers find her to let her know that her father is dying...and that her betrothed, a prince, insists that she honor their marriage contract. Growing up with the prince, she knows loving him would not be a problem, but there is a secret she is keeping from him. One which caused her to run away in the first place and which could threaten the fabric of her world should she become a Queen.
Abelia was a difficult character for me to settle an opinion on. I loved her independence and her stubborn nature - I could relate to that. However, not really giving the reader a backstory made it difficult for me to understand where her refusal to rule was coming from. Since it was a secret from everyone else, it was kept secret from the reader as well. So Abelia sometimes came across as a bit immature and unreasonable. Of course, later on, it all made sense, but still, an explanation in a prologue or maybe a flashback would have been useful. Her counterpart, Edward Broward, had loved Abelia for years, and his last wish was to force her to do something. But he needed someone by his side, and she was the only person he wanted to hold that position. I enjoyed his character a lot more, simply because he was so understanding of Abelia and cared for her. His approach with her took into account their past and her anxieties, and he was easy to fall in love with. The politics of the world were a bit vague at times, but I found it interesting how Edward and Abelia fit into it all. Particularly the fact that they were a interracial couple, and it wasn't dwelled upon all that much. Instead, it was often brought up how their skin would react when blushing or being sunburned. But otherwise, they were just two people in love. I liked that.
Fiona West is an author to watch, for sure! I am intrigued to see what she writes next. It's sure to be a fun romp of a read!
**I received a free copy from the author and this is my honest review.**