Stavos Voronin was not as blind-eyed as many nobles and royals. Evony’s physical gestures—even the simplest movement of her hands—revealed that she had not always been destitute. The same was true of the children—of their polished manners and the boy’s knowledge of horses and tendency to be bold and fearless of strangers.
Ah yes, Stavos enjoyed a good mystery. After all, interest in the inexplicable circumstances surrounding the royals of Abawyth was the very thing that had lured him to the kingdom—the enigma of Abawyth’s twelve sleepy princesses. And yet now—now his mind was all the more intrigued. Not only was the obscurity of what had caused the profound and baffling torpidity of Abawyth’s princesses laid out before him, but also he found his curiosity intensely piqued over the riddle surrounding the very lovely Evony and her siblings.
As Stavos strode through the village resting on the outskirts of Abawyth Castle, his mind reeled with possibilities. His musings were drawn back to why he had come to Abawyth at all—to solve the conundrum surrounding the twelve beautiful princesses of Abawyth kingdom—to solve the seemingly impenetrable crux and thereby win the hand of one of Abawyth’s princesses, as his father, King Letholdus of Ethiarien, had commanded.
This certainly isn’t my usual genre! Midnight Masquerade is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. Maybe this is why it has a sort of whimsical, silly, folklore/fairytale-ish feel. I really like Stavos. And I enjoy the characters of Lovie, Mikol and Tressa. Lovie seems like someone who will stir up the romance between Stavos and Evony – which I’m sure is bound to transpire. Mikol’s adoration of Bromius, Stavos’ horse, struck an empathetic chord in me – after all, who doesn’t love a huge black stallion?! Tressa seems uberly sweet. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t relate to Evony. It seems she’s always cring or has tears springing to her eyes. And everything Stavos does makes her feel “warm”, warm racing up her arms, warming her insides, warm, warm, warm. There is a point to it all at the end, but the whole “warm” thing was littered throughout the story to the point of redundancy. And with all of Stavos’ growling it’s a wonder he didn’t turn into a wolf at some point (not that I would have minded that, believe me!) I will say that, in the beginning, I got a little irked of reading who was indebted to who more (to the point I was thinking, “Get over it already. Move on!”) Happily, the author did…to the aching romance and kissy-kissy parts between Stavos and Evony – which were hot, steamy, delicious, and . . . stirring!
The author does do a good job in piquing my interest as to the mystery of the twelve sleepy princesses. And I found myself wondering why was Evony getting fatigued and cold and perspiring when Stavos had brought them back dinner? Was she about to come down with the same ailment as the twelve princesses? And how will Stavos solve the mystery? And how much will he learn about Evony, Mikol and Tressa (and how long will it take him to put together that they are cousins to the twelve sleepy princesses)? And will Stavos and Evony end up together, or will each follow their duties as royalty?
Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Appropriate for ages 15 & up.
She was tired—oh so very, very tired. Never—not in all her life—had Evony Elorietta known such thoroughgoing fatigue. As she trudged out of the dark woods still veiled in the shadows of early sunrise, out across the expanse of cold, dew-drenched grass and onto the main road of the village, Evony wondered how she would ever endure a day that was only just beginning. Every bone in her body ached—every muscle throbbed in misery, every inch of her flesh begged for respite. Yet there would be none—at least not until she had finished her stitching—finished the near thirteen hours of sewing she now faced under the ever observant, incessantly critical eye of seamstress Agnes Teche.
After such a long, chilled, and sleepless night spent in watching—peering through the darkness and into the rooms of the inn in the woods, until her eyes were too dry to watch any longer—after listening to the shallow, often vile conversations, until her ears hurt from the foul ferment of it—Evony dreaded sewing for Mrs. Teche more than ever before. The woman was a banshee of an employer. And yet, she was grateful Mrs. Teche had had the keen eye to recognize Evony’s superior skills with needle and thread—for how else would Evony have managed to feed Mikol and Tressa—to shelter them—to keep them hidden?
About the Author:
Marcia Lynn McClure’s intoxicating succession of novels, novellas, and e-books, has established her as one of the most favored and engaging authors of true romance. Her unprecedented forte in weaving captivating stories of western, medieval, regency, and contemporary amour void of brusque intimacy has earned her the title “The Queen of Kissing.”
Marcia, who was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has spent her life intrigued with people, history, love, and romance. A wife, mother, grandmother, family historian, poet, and author, Marcia Lynn McClure spins her tales of splendor for the sake of offering respite through the beauty, mirth, and delight of a worthwhile and wonderful story.
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***I received a free copy of Midnight Masquerade from the Author through I Am A Reader, Not a Writer in exchange for an honest review.***