Published by Disney Hyperion on April 1, 2014
Source: Purchased by Reviewer
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Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world's only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.
But even with the aid of Emrys' magic, Eleanor's extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen's Guard.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie's face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she's always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she's always dreamed of--the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor's court: trust no one.
Magical Realism in a historical setting makes me HAPPY.
Think “The Young and The Restless” meets ” Camelot” on steroids. TR & TC unfolds against the unstable historical setting of London during the Franco-British empire and Melissa De La Cruz immediately dazzled me with the sensibilities of her characters just as much as she did with the story setting.
There are several key players in this book that move around like pieces on a chess board, carefully planning each move in the name of duty, self-interest or self- preservation. However, the characters that stole the show for me were Ronan Astor and Wolfgang von Hohenzollum.
Ronan is an American girl with diluted noble-blood looking for love in all the wrong places. Ronan is her family’s last chance to save their estate because they have run out of funds. After she’s shipped off to London for the Ball Season aka “find-yourself-a-rich-husband-season” she’s taken for a bit of a whirl that screams of Jane Austen-style confusion and hits-and-misses. I enjoyed Ronan’s sometimes aloof, mostly calculating disposition especially when things go better than she could have ever anticipated.
Wolfgang aka Wolf made me pant like a Husky in heat. He was absolutely delectable and I want seconds. Wolf is the rogue brother of the heir to the Franco-British throne, and boy does he put Prince Harry to shame when it comes to brutish behavior. His dark-hair, light-eye good looks aren’t the only thing that make Wolf edible; his pension for underground boxing is the icing on the cake. Wolf is my FAVORITE kind of male protagonist in a story and I devoured every moment that transpired between him and Ronan in this novel.
Overall, I thought the pacing of this novel was on point and the plot was clever and well developed. For all the sparkling wit and glittering settings in this story, there were moments and sub plots dark enough to give this book a very realistic feel to the time period it is set in.
The balance between magic and history was perfect and made this a thoroughly enjoyable read. Sure, there are a lot of story-lines and family trees to follow, but you don’t have to be Sherlock to figure things out and keep up.
I think any fan of historical fiction/fantasy/magical realism/Arthurian legend/royalty will find this book wildly entertaining.
The Ring and The Crown was AWESOME even if Melissa De La Cruz stabbed me in the heart at the end. It deserves a better review than I can give but it’s been a few months since I read it, so this will have to do.
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