After nineteen years as a prisoner to the Stonerow curse, fate owes Lady Maud a cursebreaker... ...and delivers a Knight on a covert mission to win his Prince’s war, Sir Favior Elwyk. Brought together in the most painful and unwelcome way, forgiveness seems to be eternally out of reach. And the legacy of the curse still conspires to tear them apart.
Forrest builds on “Beauty and the Beast” in her slightly overwrought fairy tale of a feminist curse, political machinations, and courtly drama. Lady Maud of Stonerow has been locked away in a magical castle for 19 years due to a curse that turns each generation’s firstborn child into a beast. Favior Elwyk, a half-fae knight, arrives and binds her to help his prince’s insurgency. He is dismayed when his actions break the curse and saddle him with a young woman instead of the fearsome beast he’d hoped to employ. Maud convinces him to marry her and become Baron of Stonerow so he can provide a loyal estate inside the kingdom. Soon after the marriage, Favior rides into battle and leaves Maud at a fort with a gaggle of snippy knights’ wives and Salvador, a mage and priest who helps her research a way to end the curse forever. Once triumphant, Favior returns with Maud to Stonerow, where they awkwardly step into their noble duties only to face suspicion, gossip, and insubordination from the tenants. Favior’s mercurial inclinations to alternatively spurn and ravish Maud become somewhat tedious, but Forrest excels at highlighting resentment and defiance in the other relationships. This occasionally dawdling story will attract those who want to explore the complicated emotional, domestic, and political terrain between the kiss and happily ever after. (BookLife)