Notorious for leaping off roofs, maiming foreign royals, and that twerking incident, Brinley Cantrella of Estau is nobody’s definition of a good princess. She’s fearless and bold, not good and gracious. And after a lifetime of being told she’s unfit to be queen, wearing the crown and helping to usher Estau into a new era is the one dream she’s never dared chase.
But when her older sister abdicates the throne, all Brinley has to do to inherit the role is not twerk, not maim anybody, and definitely not get caught fooling around topless with Prince Finn, her childhood crush, the only man she’s ever loved…and her sister’s former future husband.
Finn embodies the definition of good. Tall and handsome, serious and honorable, he always does the right thing—including agreeing to marry his ex’s sister to cover up this latest scandal. Brinley has fallen down stairs, broken teeth and broken bones, but this is the first time her heart has ever been broken. She now has the crown and the prince, and on the surface, life is good—but is being married to a man everyone swears could never love her back good enough?
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
You guys…YOU GUYS. I am in fucking love. And I’m going to have to bleep that for Amazon. But seriously, this was a LENORE book through and through. And it was all Brinley! OK, not all Brinley, Finian’s kind of da bomb as well…I’ll get to him. But Brinley…oh Brinley. She has made my girl crush list!!!! And if you know me, that happens fairly infrequently. But I was enamoured with her from practically the first page. She made me laugh, she made my heart hurt, she was just everything I love in a heroine. I was trying to tell my hubby about this book, and loving Brinley, and he was like “well yeah, she’s exactly your type of girl. She sounds like Rapunzel from Tangled.” Huh. You know, he’s kind of right. The stories of her misadventures when she was a child were just adorable…she sounded mischievous and incorrigible. And it carried into who she was when we met her. She was so true to herself, despite how often others tried to beat her down. She was sassy, and bold, and hilarious, and curious, and just…AHHH!! LOVE HER!
And Finn!! I felt like I understood exactly who he was and how he felt right at the beginning, even if it wasn’t overt… But he still surprised me along the way. And for a book entirely from the heroine’s POV, I still felt like I got to know him. Maybe it’s that we see the contrast between them, and how this royal life had very different effects on each of them. But there was still a spark in him. And he had shades of beta boy in him! He was quiet to her bold. But he was still strong, and he knew how to support a strong woman like Brinley. And holy fuck was he hot. Those kisses (and more) got me all fluttery. He wasn’t perfect, by any means…there were times I wanted to smack him. But the way its written, I got to understand why he made certain mistakes and bad choices, and I believed in his growth. I love him too.
For a novella, this book sucked me in hardcore and really made me feel for its characters. I LOVE when I feel like I can get to know them so quickly, and I become invested in the story. I saw other reviewers say they couldn’t, so I don’t know why it was different for me…but it definitely was. I rooted for Brinley, I was invested in what would happen to her, I was completely all in on the romance, it was just perfect for me.
Honestly, the only reason it’s not a full 5 star is because I loved it so much, I wanted more. I could have continued reading about these two characters until they grew old and died. I’m fully serious. This is my first book from Ms. Keyes, but it certainly won’t be my last if this is anything to go by. Also? As a side shoutout, there was a romantic/erotic trope gender swap (“Finn, come”) that had me laughing my ass off. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be funny, but I don’t even care…props Ms. Keyes.