Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: Regency Royals, #2
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Sasha Killick’s parents died while returning from England on a diplomatic mission for King Alistair of Athawick and at the behest of his wife, Queen Giabella, they adopted Sasha and she was raised as a sibling to their children. But when she grew older, the King refused to let the Queen give her the same priveledges as his daughter Princess Ilaria and forced Sasha into servitude – she was no longer to be treated as their daughter, now she was to be Ilaria’s companion and occasional body double. Not that the queen or her children ever treated her that way, but that was how she was viewed by the world. So when King Alistair died and her “brother” Grantham ascended to the throne, they traveled to England to form ties and to find a match for Princess Ilaria, Sasha knew her role and that any dreams she ever harbored of a HEA for herself were just that; dreams and something she thought she was alright with until she met the man intended for her “sister”.
Thanks to the ineptitude and schemes of his no-good father, Thomas Martindale, the Earl of Bramwell has inherited a mess and a tarnished name, that was further tarnished when his sister Aurora finally married the man her father kept her from years ago. Thomas has done his best to restore the estate and his family name, but he knows to truly save the earldom, he will have to marry an heiress. When his mother suggests a match with Princess Ilaria of Athawick, he agrees to meet her and consider the match, knowing he doesn’t really have any other options. But it isn’t the princess that captures his attention and his heart, it is her adopted sister Sasha and try as he might, he just couldn’t drum up any enthusiasm for a match with Ilaria. But with his estate in need of a fortune, he is not free to follow his heart and tries to quash his feelings for Sasha – but the heart wants what the heart wants and he resigns himself to a loveless marriage with Ilaria for the “greater good” – but when Ilaria is attacked and Sasha steps in to play her double, thus putting herself in danger – it is then that Thomas knows that he can’t give her up, but first he needs to find a way to save her!
This was a well-written, fast-paced story with wonderful characters, but a good majority of the book felt like a rewrite of the previous book. That is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, I did, but it felt like déjà vu for the first 75% of the book. The book follows the same timeline as the first book in the series, but is told from Sasha and Thomas’ POV, their connection is instant, strong, and forbidden, they both try to ignore the pull, which leads to a bit of an angsty tale with wonderful characters, a touch of mystery, some steamyish love scenes and finally a well deserved HEA. I did wonder when I finished the book why the queen waited so long to rectify the late king’s cruelty, especially considering how much she appeared to love Sasha, but it was still a good read and would recommend it – this is the second book in the series, but it could easily be read as a standalone title with no problems.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that I requested and was provided to me by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.*