“Settle in girls, it’s story time!”
There’s nothing like being taken away to an imaginary land for a quick Fairy Tale. Keating builds a world with all the classic elements of traditional fairy tales; Magical curses, evil overlord, feuding kingdoms, peasant boy/princess romance, well…you get the picture!
She doesn’t waste a lot of time in exposition, allowing her narrative to create backstories and scene references as the story unfolds. Though there is no reference to a specific Earth time period and the lands are imaginary, the reader (me) assumes the story takes place at some point in an imagined history based on context clues. The only thing that took me out of that was the modern use of the word “cool” within a single dialogue. Yes, that makes me a very picky reader. (Sorry.) But it pulled me out of the story enough to start questioning if I had missed something in my reading regarding where and when this story took place.
Beyond that, Derek (one of our heroes) is charming and self-less in the way a good hero should be. His guilt from a childhood act drives most of the story, but in the end, it is this authentic character that creates the HEA.
Maria starts out as the typical “cursed princess” honoring her duty to the kingdom and her parents. As the story progresses, she grows into a stronger (more feminist) character that is missing from many traditional “wait for the prince to save me” stories.
I love that this did not have a traditional ending and that the HEA is built upon actual feelings and not superficial nonsense.
This is an excellent read for Young Adults (or even the Adult who wants to escape for a while).
Let yourself go on a trip, and check out A Stolen Kiss HERE!