I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This was a great book! It was incredibly well written and a lot of fun to read. It’s also going to be difficult to review without spoilers, but I will give it my best shot.
Lia is a princess who is betrothed to marry a prince she has never met. But Lia is not the obedient little flower that her father and the leaders of her kingdom wish she was so she runs away right before her wedding and plans to disappear forever.
She heads to this lovely little town with her best friend Pauline and becomes a bar maiden. You would think that the transition from princess to bar maid would be hard for her, but Lia thrives off of her new found freedom and loves her simple life.
Enter Kaden and Rafe, two handsome mysterious men who will complicate Lia’s peaceful new existence and give her and adventure that she will never forget. One of these men is the prince that Lia was supposed to marry and the other is an assassin who is supposed to murder her and insure that a wedding between her and the prince never takes place.
We don’t find out who is the prince and who is the assassin until 60% into the book, but I figured it out almost immediately. I’m not bragging, but I really did figure it out, and I wish I hadn’t. Most of the fun of this book involves wondering who is who, but I made my decisions as soon as Lia met Kaden and Rafe, and then I found out I was right so I missed out on all the fun. I blame all of those classic mystery movies and TV shows that I’ve watched my whole life. lol
There is a minor debate about whether this book contains a love triangle. I have read some reviews that say it does and other reviews that claim it is obvious who Lia loves. She definitely picks one guy, and although she is attracted to the other leading man, she isn’t in love with him. However, I think she will become more confused about how she feels about him in the next book.
I think it would be safer not to use names when discussing the male leads, and tell you what I think about the assassin and the prince. Right now, I definitely like the prince more than the assassin!
I’m not sure what there is to like about the assassin as a romantic lead. He is a great character with plenty of dimensions and layers, and I like him. I just don’t like him with Lia. When Lia finds out who he is, he spends a lot of time making excuses for why he kills people, but I never bought what he was selling. He was charming, handsome, and clearly in love with her, but he loved his country more, and I felt like he could be too harsh and unfeeling at times. I’m just getting tired of the leading man who thinks kindness is weakness. The prince treats Lia well so that’s who I like. But I will admit, I have more to say about the assassin, and I could see how he might win Lia’s heart in the end. It is no secret that I dislike love triangles, but I respect them when they are well done and make sense. So far, this love triangle is off to a great start.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I don’t think I did myself any favors by reading so many positive reviews before I read the book because my expectations were high when it came to the mystery. I expected this great unsolvable mystery and lots of twist and turns, but I didn’t get that. There was never a moment when I was shocked by a big reveal. But, how much this book made me feel surprised me. I teared up towards the end, and I connected with Lia as a woman. She just wants to be loved and have the freedom to love in return, but because she was born as a princess, that is not an option. She suffers some great losses, and has to endure them without even getting a moment to herself to grieve. Her strength and resilience was impressive, and I am rooting for her to get the happy ever after she deserves.
I also understand what drives both the prince and the assassin. In fact, all three of them have a lot in common. They have all lost a lot, and are being forced to do things because of a position they did not choose. They are three very complex and well-written characters, and I look forward to watching them grow in the next book.
This book is for readers who like to take their time and immerse themselves in a good book. This was a sweeping tale of love, loss, personal, growth, and–of course–deception!
Because of violence and language, I would recommend this book for ages 14 and up.