Author: M. Knopik
Publisher: Less Than Three Press
To save his kingdom from war, Raven married Prince Nicholas—as a princess. But on their wedding night, instead of his secret being revealed, Nicholas refuses to have any intimate contact with his new bride, and even goes out of his way to maintain distance between them.
To make matters worse, the queen makes increasing demands for an heir. When Raven overhears Prince Nicholas ask his best friend, Lord Henry to father the child, he panics. He turns to the only person he can trust—his chambermaid, Emilia. With her help, he soon learns that the Prince has a secret of his own…
Raven has been masquerading as his dead twin since she died when they were children, so that one day he could take her place in fulfilling the marriage contract with the neighboring kingdom. Raven always assumed that his wedding night would be the day he died, when his husband discovered the ruse, but it turns out Prince Nicholas has no intention of consummating their marriage. Raven, with the help of his loyal chambermaid, tries to find out a way to get closer to his husband now that he isn’t dead but Nicholas doesn’t make it easy. When Raven finally discovers why Nicholas isn’t interested in his new bride, he has to decide how to handle this new situation he finds himself in.
This was a light and entertaining read. I really enjoyed the overall story and I thought the author did a good job of keeping the story going and skipping unnecessary pauses between plot points with large but well placed time jumps. I liked how the story wrapped up and, even though there was more drama and angst then I prefer, the end was well executed.
I did have a lot of issues and unanswered questions by the end, though. For one, I’m not sure how tricking the neighboring prince into marrying your son would stop a war, and it was never made very clear to me. And (possible light spoiler) I didn’t get how the Pleasure Manor worked since there seemed to be no security to protect the illegally occupied participants of the house. If it’s illegal for two men to have relations, wouldn’t they need some reassurance of safety to use the Manor? The story idea itself, the prince who needs to take the princess’s place and fulfill the marriage contract, was entertaining and kept my interest but it was pretty shallow. Raven and his chambermaid were sweet and I enjoyed their friendship, but the other characters were fairly flat.
A good light read, with a good if abrupt ending and an interesting concept. I am looking forward to seeing what the second book is about and seeing how the story continues.