Author ~ Isabelle Adler
Publisher ~ NineStar Press
Published ~ 15th May 2017
Genre ~ Fantasy M/M Romance
Ostracized by his family for his sexual identity, Prince Stephan is forced to flee his homeland before his older brother ascends the throne.
Stephan has been drawn to feminine things for as long as he can remember, so when the dire need for secrecy arises, he seizes the chance to don the perfect disguise. With the help of his loyal servant, Stephan picks his way through hostile territory, hiding his identity by posing as a woman. His only hope for asylum lies with the man who had been his friend and lover three years ago. But when that man also happens to be the crown prince of a rival country, things are a bit more complicated.
With war looming on the horizon, the danger of discovery grows by the moment. With all odds stacked against him, will Stephan find a safe place where he can be his true self, or is he doomed to remain a castaway?
I found this to be an entertaining and pleasant book to read. The writing is elegant and the characters vivid and engaging. I particularly liked the way the background was sketched. I “saw” the docks, the ball, the treacherous paths and ledges. The clothing was left more to the imagination, with hints rather than explicit description. This might be a criticism from some but I absolutely loved it because I was able to paint beautiful images in my head.
I loved Stephan from the first page. He’s deliciously screwed up, but at the same time knows exactly what he wants and goes for it.
Warren is even better. He’s solid, sarcastic and capable. Not only does he make all the arrangements for everything, and look after Stephan, he also manages to hold his own as a conversationalist among aristocracy and is prepared to stand against a prince in his own castle to protect his friend.
I suppose I should have seen the end coming sooner, and of course there were certain elements I picked up on but, for me, it was touch and go until the end. I knew early on the way I wanted it to go and ground my teeth when it swayed. Fortunately, once Stephan let go of his rose -tinted glasses, he made the right decision and got his HEA (well kind of).
My main criticism is that I would have liked the book to press on just a little further. Warren and Stephan were left in an enemy castle at a time when war has just been declared. He might be in disguise but at least one person in the castle knows who he truly is and the threat of discover still hangs over him. I would have very much liked to see Warren and Stephan get to a place where we can be sure they’re safe.
Even though he doesn’t appear in the book other than through Stephan’s memories and deductions, Robert is a fab villain. Even as a child, he mistreated his brother and this escalated into full scale fratricide. Stephan had literally fled for his life from his bloodthirsty brother, who is now behind a needless war.
There are an overall feeling of tension which at times crystalizes into edge-of-the-seat stuff and Stephan is well enough drawn that we really care about what happened to him.
In conclusion, this was an endearing book, that I read in one sitting (only after foregoing sleep for far too long). I admit I did skip quickly through some parts but only because I was determined to finish before I went to bed. This is definitely one I will be re-reading again and I’m sure it will be even better when I give myself time to really enjoy it and draw out every nuance.
Connect with Isabelle Adler
A voracious reader from the age of five, Isabelle Adler has always dreamed of one day putting her own stories into writing. She loves traveling, art, and science, and finds inspiration in all of these. Her favorite genres include sci-fi, fantasy, and historical adventure. She also firmly believes in the unlimited powers of imagination and caffeine.