After a failed courtship in an ally kingdom, twenty-one-year-old Princess Alessandra returns home to a land torn apart by mutual hatred between the humans and the dark-elves. The “Beast Princess,” as Aless is known by courtiers, confidently sets her mind to ways of making peace, but her father has already decided for her: she is to marry one of the mysterious and monstrous dark-elves to forge a treaty, and go on a Royal Progress across the kingdom to flaunt their harmonious union. While she intends to preserve the peace, the Beast Princess has plans of her own.
Prince Veron has been raised knowing his life is not his own, but to be bargained away by his mother, the queen of Nozva Rozkveta, to strengthen the dark-elf queendom. When his mother tells him he is to marry a self-absorbed, vile human, he is determined to do his duty regardless of his personal feelings. After arriving at the human capital, he finds the “Beast Princess” rebellious and untamed—and not to be trusted.
Aless and Veron face opposition at every turn, with humans and dark-elves alike opposing the union violently, as well as their own feelings of dissonance toward each other. Can two people from cultures that despise one another fall in love? Can a marriage between them bond two opposing worlds together, or will it tear them apart for good?
If you don’t know me personally, allow me to share with you a quirky fact: I don’t like dresses. Give me pants and combat boots over dresses and heels any day of the week.
So then, imagine my surprise when this book popped up on my suggested titles and my eyes were immediately drawn to the dress. Not the blue dude on the horse. Not the crumbling backdrop. But the bright red dress with the feathery cape.
Hell froze over the day I downloaded a book strictly because I liked the dress (and that cape!) the heroine wore on the cover. But we all survived, so that’s good.
The book didn’t disappoint. Not that I knew what I was getting into–sometimes I like to jump straight into a book without reading the blurb and see what happens without the little bit of foreshadowing. So really, it couldn’t have disappointed, so let me phrase it this way…Holy Sassafras.
I loved this book. It had a rich setting (based on Italian culture, not English, which was fantastic), a political system so detailed it felt real, and characters I found myself missing once the story had finished.
The characters were, hands down, my favorite part. They were flawed, real, with their own misconceptions and desires. Aless was noble, but naive. Veron was duty bound to the point of it being problematic (yes, I said duty, quit giggling). Their flaws drove their actions as much as their more positive characteristics, but what really cemented this story’s high rating is how those flaws worked to bring our pair together. They complimented each other, each one helping the other overcome the thing holding them back, and they grew stronger for it. I could understand the love completely because they made each other better. I’m always a sap for love stories where the pair compliment each other beautifully, and Aless and Veron did just that.
I didn’t have any hangups when it came to this book. Nothing stood out as problematic for a reader. It was beautifully written, intricate, and so real. I’m giving it 5 out of 5 stars because even after I’ve finished it, I’m still finding I miss the time I spent reading through it that first time, and wishing that somehow, I could experience this story for the first time all over again.