Lord Ansil Eirwin is 20 years old, in less than a year he will be proclaimed the Duke of Ravenswood. His life up until now have been quite sheltered. His mother have been the regent for the past few years even since his father died and so he was mostly free to pursue his interests. Ansil's mother didn't stay single, she married Reginald Moore hoping to bring more balance into their lives. Yet Reginald isn't who she thought and he has his own plans..
When Reginald contacts his brother Orien Moore (also known for a good reason as the Huntsman) his plan is very simple, his brother will kidnap and then kill Ansil, leaving him as the ruler of Ravenswood. Orien accepts Reginald's offer but he has a plan of his own as well. Still hurt by the way Reginald and their father treated their mother, he plans on hiding an sheltering Ansil until his time to be proclaimed Duke. What he didn't expect was falling in love with the beautiful young man.
Orien and Ansil's time together doesn't start on the "right foot", as he kidnaps him from his home and takes him to his manor hours ride away. There he mostly leaves him to the other residents of the manor. He doesn't know what to do and how to act with Ansil, he is too younger and sensitive and Orien is gruff and strict. Ansil sees "an ogre" at first but as he sees the way Orien treats the other 7 mismatched residents of the house he realizes Orien is actually a good guy and he wishes he could feel and see it towards himself. Orien on the other hand sees the kindness and honor in Ansil's behavior, the friendships he builds with the ones Orien holds dear and soon he starts to want to get to know Ansil as well.
Spending time together they get closer, but also Ansil changes the dynamics of the house, bringing everyone even more closer together. It was endearing to see all 9 of them forming a home together even if it's a temporary one until Ansil is returned back home.
Ansil and Orien's romance was tender and sweet. I loved the way they explored one another right from the start where a single touch to the cheek meant so much. Ansil was the joy Orien was missing from his life, and for Ansil - Orien was someone who enabled him to pursue interests and goals he never truly considered. They both challenged one another to be a better version of themselves.
I could go on for days... though it took me one day to read this book.. I started and didn't want to stop! (though I had to eat somewhere in the middle ;)). As usual Christina and Riley's writing is fluent and captivating bringing us a unique story, even if "Snow white" have been told many many times before. I enjoyed the little gems from the original story thrown in like a dream about the one sided mirror and Ansil's love for apples. These tied the story and made it feel like the fairy tale while still keeping it original.
I wasn't sure how this story is going to be resolved, I waited (im)patiently and naturally it was just perfect.. ~sigh~ What more can I say? READ IT! It's beautiful, heart felt, tender and sweet. It's everything a fairy tale needs to be and if you haven't read Christina and Riley's first fairy-tale novel "Ever After" - shame on you! Add it to your list as well! These two books have nothing in common story wise (though the MCs are mentioned VERY briefly as they live in a different kingdom) and just like this one it's SO SO beautiful.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED naturally..
I kindly received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
This book is out TODAY 23 April 2019 - Grab though Amazon / Kindle Unlimited.
20 April 2019