About the book:
Corina and Prince Stephen had met at university. She had followed her twin brother to Brighton Kingdom to support him while he trained to serve in a coalition of armed forces. She fell for the handsome Prince, then a whirlwind romance and a secret marriage before Stephen went to Afghanistan.
When Stephen had come back from the war, he was a changed man. There had been an attack and only he had survived. With tremendous guilt and remorse over those who lost their lives to save him, he had walled himself off. He had sent Corina back to America. The marriage was never registered, he said. It was never official. He knew Corina could never love him if she knew the truth about her brother's death.
But Corina and her parents were suffering too. Her twin brother was dead. Repeated efforts to find out the circumstances of the death were thwarted. It had taken its toll on the family. They had lived in a fog of grief for over five years.
Trouble surfaces when the Bishop of the neighboring country finds a very real marriage certificate and delivers it to King Nathaniel. Prince Stephen will have to find Corina and get her to sign annulment papers. Even though he still loves her, can he do what he thinks is best for both of them?
This is the final book in this series (I think). It is my least favorite of the three. I really liked the first two but this one was a bit different.
The plot centers on the secret marriage from over five years before. The action really begins when Prince Stephen tries to get Corina to sign the annulment papers. I did not feel the plot went well. They both love each other, as is obvious, yet Stephen has this wall of guilt he has been carrying for five years. Also, Corina and her parents have been grieving for five years over the death of Corina's twin. That's a lot of grief and guilt.
I did not feel the character of Stephen was crafted well. It just did not make sense to me that he would not have at least talked to Corina about what he was feeling, even if he could not reveal the details of the attack, due to national security. If he truly loved her, he would have at least given her the opportunity to understand what he was feeling (even if he could not say why).
I appreciated Corina. She has finally decided to get out of the grieving house and get in the work force. But what had she been doing all those years? Certainly she had changed, her personality had matured. Yet none of that was seen in the novel.
And the ending was just too neat. I know this is a fairy tale kind of romance, complete with angels and buildings only a few people can see. Yet, the ending just lacked realism for me. In fairy tales everything works out in the end. (This is a romance, after all.) But for me, the five years in between was forgotten, as if it had never happened.
There is a strong Christian message at the end, one of forgiveness and redemption.
I enjoyed reading most of the book but there were just some aspects that made it less than Hauck's best for me.
I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.
You can read chapter one here.
Zondervan, 368 pages. You can buy a copy here.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.