Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR
As next in line for the Evergreen crown, Prince Merrick Davendall’s future involves ruling, marriage, and producing an heir of his own. But he’s long been tormented by desires that are far from princely. Especially when the beautiful Cassius is promoted to be his new valet, and Merrick is struck by a longing like never before—a longing to know him far beyond royal and servant.
After his father’s passing, Cassius Havendale’s sole duty is to provide for his family. A promotion to serve a pampered prince is something he endures only for their sake. Surely Prince Merrick has no understanding of the true suffering of the common people, nor could he possibly understand what it’s like to desperately desire something he cannot have.
Except the prince is not at all what Cassius imagined. Kind, humorous, and caring to those in need, he also shares Cassius’s affinity for the arts. In fact, Merrick understands his deepest vulnerabilities in a most remarkable way.
As their affection deepens, the underlying tension between them becomes unbearable and they’re unable to ignore it any longer. But when the queen prepares a lavish ball with all the eligible ladies in the land in attendance, Merrick must fulfill his obligations to his country, and Cassius has the needs of his family to consider. They’ve long known their stolen moments would have to come to an end, but are they ready to give up one another and the idea of a happily-ever-after?
Reviewed for @BMBR
Tag Team with R
I had some serious grabby hands for this book. Before I cracked it open, many of my happy boxes were checked; Historical, fantasy, fairy tale spin off, difference in stations, and an interesting cover. While it didn’t live up to the excite I had going into it, it was still ridiculously sweet, with some enjoyable moments, and likable MCs.
Prince Merrick is the crown prince and his parents are trying to wife him up and knock her up so he can ensure the line of succession. He’s a dreamer and an artist with a kind heart and an affinity for men. Merrick is also loyal and squelches his desire while focusing on duty to his family, throne, and the people in his kingdom. He’s also pretty successful at keeping everything under wraps until he needs a new valet and the gorgeously intriguing, Cassius is chosen.
Cassius is under employ at the palace and moves up the ranks quickly. He’s a hard worker that focuses on providing for his family after the passing of his father. He’s enamored with Prince Merrick and helping him dress and bathe doesn’t help his attraction in the slightest.
Both men are around the same age and develop a solid bond. They understand the demands of duty and the implications of their sexuality for those around them. Especially in a time when it’s frowned upon. Their sense of duty delays a connection beyond friendship. Ever After is a slooooooow burn that is full of attraction and stolen moments that were innocent- yet full of potential. Once they break the proverbial seal…yowza. They were also adorable while content to just be together in silent companionship. There wasn’t much angst other than the obvious difference in station and sexuality that led to an easy HEA.
The first 3/4 of the story had me back and forth on my enjoyment levels. All the suitor situations dragged on with the force feeding of eligible women. The pace and plot picked up around 75% causing my enjoyment level to increase. I’m just a bit confused about the historical elements. It went back and forth between trying to use Valet/Prince customs and language to then got lost and became more modern communication/convienences on the next page. I’m assuming that’s where the fantasy elements came in which requires much suspension in “reality?” Around 85% there were finally some of feels that I wish were available throughout. They left me happy but also disappointed at the missed opportunity for the rest of the book.
Let’s talk about the females in this story… LOVE them. They were written with backbones, strength, fire, loyalty, and compassion. It’s always refreshing whether in M/M of M/F to have strong characters without the need to prop one up by demeaning or short-changing another.
Overall, this book has a sweet setting, sweet MCs, sweet romance, sweet families, sweet, sweet, sweet. That’s not a bad thing and many will absolutely connect with these adorable men and their plight. I would have liked more cohesive historical elements, more action (not that kind…) to shake up the monotony, and more feels. Still, a pleasant read and recommended for those that are looking for low angst with a ginormous helping of cheesy sweetness.
Copy provided for honest review.