Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Crown Prince's Bride (Royal Duology #2), by Donna Alward

St. Martin's Press, ISBN 9781250142597, January 2018

The tiny kingdom of Marazur has been through a challenging year, with the death of Crown Prince Raoul's wife, Cecilia, and a near-scandal involving his younger brother Diego and Rose, nanny to Raoul and Cecilia's children, Max and Emilia. Rose and Diego are now engaged, but Raoul is still broken-hearted, unable to imagine ever finding true love again, and equally unable to imagine spending the rest of his life alone.

Meanwhile, with his father's advancing years and declining health, Raoul is able to bury himself in the work of running the tiny kingdom. Helping him keep things running smoothly is his assistant, Stephani. She's been there all the time, mostly in the background, for nearly ten years. She's smart, capable, efficient--and beautiful and kind. And Cecilia's cousin.

At Diego and Rose's engagement party, after too much scotch, they exchange a kiss. Then they both try very, very hard to forget it.

At its base, this is just a fun, romantic, "she marries a prince" story, but the characters here are complex and interesting. They respond in real and convincing ways to the real complications of their situation. Raoul is a near-perfect prince, but he's got some real emotional scars affecting him, too.

This isn't a story where the first marriage has to be revealed as fatally flawed for the new romance to be justifiable. I was especially pleased by that. Real life is hard enough; I've never liked the idea that you can only find love once, and that if you don't find that one right person, you're out of luck.

It's an enjoyable, fun book. Recommended if you're looking for a satisfying romance.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.