Title: The Beloved
Author: Genevra Thorne
Series: Faerie Tale #2
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Lord Ashton of Aethyria is enticement, seduction, temptation–born with the power to strip even the most modest woman of her gown, her will, and her virtue. With the glamour of being born a half Daoine Sidhe faerie comes the sad fate that once a woman has gazed into Ash’s eyes, she forever loses the ability to see anything other than his ravishing beauty, and can certainly never glimpse into his soul. Ashton’s allure is so raw and enchanting, in fact, that he has exiled himself from even the human side of his family, lest his own aunts be tempted by him, and lives a life of solitude and fleeting passions. But he is part human as well, and it is his human blood that makes him long for a magic no faerie spell can equal. It is his deep desire for true love that leads him to keep his magnificent face hidden from the woman who captures his heart.
Eden is certain her nightly visitor is as disfigured as she, since he keeps his visage shrouded in shadow when he comes to her room. Scarred by fire, she believes herself ugly until Ashton’s tender kisses and gentle touch begin to teach her that true beauty comes from within. It’s an important lesson, since Ash knows that soon he must reveal himself to her. He prays that she can look beyond his unearthly beauty and see the heart of a man.
Source: Review copy via NetGalley
This second book in the Faerie Tale series is much more of a fantasy tale, with only the faintest feeling of its historical (or geographical) setting. Which isn’t a bad thing, not least because every time I read about those heather fields I get an eye twitch, while the references to Erie just made me sigh. But if you can ignore the fact that this Welsh set fantasy doesn’t feel very Welsh at all, then there’s plenty to enjoy in this romance of terrible beauty, painful scars and lonely outsiders.
Ashton is beautiful, but more than that he is powerful, and his power is allure, attracting women to him with no effort and telling him exactly what to do to please them most. It’s also a power he has very little, and sometimes no, control over. Although, to be honest, at the beginning he doesn’t seem to be trying very hard. Mostly he’s lost in a woe-is-me stage about how terrible and awful it is to be beautiful and desired and never loved, when he isn’t even sure if he can love anyway, because he has very big mummy issues.
Eden, by contrast, is not beautiful. Or at least she doesn’t think she is, because of the burn scars that cover half of her body. She’s not your average heroine, given her background, and she finds it very hard to trust what Ash claims to feel for her, but she’s stronger than she thinks she is and is a very good match for him.
Even though Ash hides himself from Eden at the start, I did like how slowly he takes getting to know her. It gives both of them a chance to grow and develop into stronger characters and it’s all pretty sweet. Not that this stage lasts, of course, because there are other things to be resolved, not least their joint feelings of isolation and loneliness and the overwhelming power of Ash’s allure.
It’s a grand, sweeping romance with magic and faeries and family trouble and a bit of heartache, and I found it an easy enjoyable read. It didn’t draw me in quite as much as I had hoped, though, and I’m not entirely sure why. I liked both Eden and Ash, though at times they both verged on whiny for me, and I liked a lot of the secondary characters – though Ash’s sister needs to control her own magic, because it’s pretty invasive. I loved getting to see Shara again, and really enjoyed her part in the story.
In all this is an enjoyable fantasy romance about inner beauty and true love winning over lust. It can be read as a standalone, but you’ll understand more of what Ash is up against if you’ve read The Enchanted first.
The Beloved is Out Now!
Visit Genevra Thorne for more details.