Title: The Enchanted
Author: Genevra Thorne
Series: Faerie Tale #1
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Prince Gabriel of Rhyddon is the reluctant heir to the faerie kingdom of Eilithia. It’s said that there is nothing more beautiful than Eilithia and the Tylwyth Teg faeries that live there. Gabriel would disagree. Since being enchanted by the seductive temptress Aneira, a powerful witch who spoke his name four years ago, he has not seen the beauty in anything. Imprisoned by indifference and oblivious to any power but Aneira’s corrupting passion, Prince Gabriel’s mind may no longer be his own, but he will never give her his heart. That was taken from him long ago, and only glimmers of that joyous pledge keep him sane.
Somewhere across the earthly realm of Wales, Taryn of Hamilhawk dreams of a magical forest with music in its trees and a man who holds her heart in his hands. But she’s afraid of magic and, looking out her lonely tower window, prays each night to forget him. She has no idea that soon she will be his wife and that she will somehow save both him and herself from a force that threatens their future. She would never imagine that her path to passionate love will be filled with faeries, a talking tree, and a shape-changing king… and best it not be revealed until Taryn is free to bring her own magnificence and resilience to bear.
All she knows is that he calls out to her in her dreams. “Save me, Taryn.”
And her heart, no matter how she tries to deny it, must answer.
Source: Review copy via NetGalley
This is an enjoyable, easy read with a very faint medieval Welsh gloss, a fair sprinkling of magic and a romance that starts as an arranged marriage and weaves its way into a perfect, destined kind of love. It’s much more fantasy than it is historical, but the characters are nice, there’s some fun family interactions and it has a decent olde-worlde feel.
Although, historically speaking, I have a few issues with this book. I won’t get into them all because that could take all day, but I’m slightly concerned that this is set in 1232, with Gabriel having already been off fighting in Llewelyn ap Gruffudd’s wars for ten or so years, when Llewelyn himself was only born in 1223… so I’m thinking that’s doubtful. My other issue is with the fact this is set in Wales, yet has absolutely no sense of place. If they’re in North Wales then surely, at some point, someone should have mentioned the mountains. I know Snowdonia isn’t vast by some ranges, but it does dominate the skyline, and it’s also gloriously beautiful. You’d notice it if you were there. There should also be rain, lots of rain, and there shouldn’t be any wisteria. Not even in an enchanted forest.
So it’s not perfect, but if you can forget the history and the location and can overlook the irritating “Irish” accent of one of the characters, then this is enjoyable. Taryn starts out as timid and nervous, having been punished continuously whenever she showed any spirit. I liked how she gradually opened up and became more outspoken as the book progressed. Gabriel also changes, from a man who cannot feel emotion or see beauty, gradually coming back to himself. I have to admit he’s never quite as cold as I might have expected, since he knows throughout that he’s missing something and is permanently searching for a solution.
The romance is sweeping, and although the progression stretches across the book it’s also kind of swift, but I liked both characters so I happily went along with the lustful feelings turning quickly to love, with added jealous moments thrown in for good measure. I liked the magic too, though I would have liked Taryn to have spent more time in the wood, and I would have loved to have seen more of Gabriel’s tree magic. It has a nice fae feel, with mischief and darkness as well as light, music and laughter. The bad guys could have done with a little more depth than women scorned, but it worked well enough in the tale.
If you’re looking for something light and easy, that doesn’t delve too deep and will sweep you away to a time and place that happened a long, long time ago in a land far, far away, then you should enjoy this. It definitely has a fairytale feel and I liked it. I look forward to reading the next one.
The Enchanted is Out Now!
Visit Genevra Thorne for more details.