Author: Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: June 7th, 2016
When I first started this book I honestly thought it was going to be quite juvenile. I half expected the plot to be the equivalent of high school drama with the added ability to start wars between countries. These three authors, Hand, Ashton, and Meadows really surprised me with the quality of this book and the emotions that they invoked from within me. In all my love of this book, I did find myself peeved with the cover, however. Though beautifully designed, Lady Jane has “reddish hair,” (which made fun of the entire book, and “brown eyes.” Why does the covergirl have blue eyes?! I feel they should have confirmed prior to publishing that their covergirl matched their description, otherwise, what’s the point? Not to mention, Jane gives me more of a “Belle” imagery than this redhead on the cover.
Moving right along, from the very first page our authors catch our attention starting out with “the king… was dying.” At 16-years-old King Edward is faced with ageless questions such as “the purpose of life.” His conclusion is this: “Life is short, and then you die.” It’s a shame that 16 years on this earth resulted in this conclusion.
Before long we’re introduced to other characters, such as his intelligent half-sister Beth, and his arrogant, Eꝺian-hating half-sister Mary. As we begin to dig deeper into the book we find more and more revealing moments giving us insight into the personalities of each individual. Edward is inappropriately humorous- not the sexual kind, but rather he’s humorous in times when he ought to be serious. I believe this to be a bit of a nervous habit. For example, upon finding out that his second-in-command, Dudley’s son, is n Ethian horse he smirks and says “I bet you spend a fortune on hay.”
Of course, amongst all the reading I found myself eager to meet the infamous Jane! She was a kindred spirit in her love for books, full of useless and useful information. She viewed books like most of us do, “through books she could see the world.” “Somewhat of a walking thesaurus when she was upset,” Jane was a lover of words.
Shortly into the book we also get a glimpse of understanding as to why Gifford is the way he is. Growing up introduced as “this is my other son, Stan’s brother,” it’s not shocking that he’s bitter and unsociable. At one point it’s even said by his parents that “it would’ve been better had he been a horse both day and night, and skipped the human part entirely. Then perhaps his parents could sell him and receive some compensation for all their trouble.”
Both Jane and Gifford have unique passions. Jane has a passion for books, while G has a passion to run. Upon the announcement of the death of the King, Jane is rushed into marrying G to produce an heir to the throne. Initially in their marriage they bicker childishly. They begin setting rules – which isn’t necessarily a bad thing considering that boundaries are healthy – like her staking a claim to her books, and him staking a claim to himself with no “riding.” They’re bitter, and back-biting towards each other, however, as they continue to be forced into each other’s presence they find themselves enjoying the company.
When they begin to discuss things in depth I’m surprised by how genuinely intelligent and compassionate G is. Of course, Jane is full of more compassion, but the fact that he felt so deeply towards anything other than running, and apples, wasn’t anticipated. It was wonderful to see a softer and more attractive side to G than just his physical features.
With each turning page G is falling more in love with Jane and you can’t help but hope for more and more. The incredible love that they seem destined to have will have you biting your nails, cursing the narrators, and begging for more!
Of course, as G begins to understand the nature of Edward and Jane’s relationship as “dearest, and most beloved friend” who has “all [her] love” G experiences jealousy eating away at him, as it would any man. G continues to worry about Jane’s emotions for Edward, while Jane is worried about Edward’s life, and Edward is worried about both Jane and himself. Edward will have to learn how to fly or die if he’s to live and if he’s to ever see Jane again.
G is focused on Jane, Jane is focused on Edward, Edward is focused on himself and Jane, and Dudley is focused on the crown! Who is focused on G? The only emotion focused toward G is his father’s hate for him, and Jane bitter remarks, which only begins to change after they go on their honeymoon. She is slowly falling for him, as he is falling for her also. Just before we transition to part two of the book, a new character is introduced and Edward’s focus shifted to Jane and Gracie- Gracie being a rebel Scot who’s running from something, a secret unknown.
As arguing increases between G and Jane, and Gracie and Edward continue on their mission, will they ever collide? Will Jane and G ever stop hating each other? Or has the time they have spent together been in vain? Will Dudley succeed at getting the crown? All questions that bombarded my mind as I continued reading.
G has his issues with philandering and debauchery, with drunkenness, and rejection. Can he learn to be the “king of his cup?” Will Jane learn to value G as her husband, and show him respect? Will their love kindle and spark into something beautiful?
Will the battle between Eꝺian’s and Verities be brought to a peaceful balance? Will these young royals ever realize the game is that’s being played around them? Or will the kingdom fall into the wrong hands jeopardizing the safety of all?
I HIGHLY suggest you read this book and find out. All the ins and outs caught me up, grabbed my heart, and took me on a ride. I bet it’ll drag you along with a welcomed rush, too! Each twist and turn brought smiles to my face, tears to my eyes, and were experienced as though I was living in their Kingdom myself.