Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the Lily Throne, and Aelwyn Myrddn, bastard daughter of the Mage of England, grew up together. But who will rule, and who will serve?
Quiet and gentle, Marie has never lived up to the ambitions of her mother, Queen Eleanor the Second, Supreme Ruler of the Franco-British Empire. With the help of her Head Merlin, Emrys, Eleanor has maintained her stranglehold on the world’s only source of magic. She rules the most powerful empire the world has ever seen.
But even with the aid of Emrys’ magic, Eleanor’s extended lifespan is nearing its end. The princess must marry and produce an heir or the Empire will be vulnerable to its greatest enemy, Prussia. The two kingdoms must unite to end the war, and the only solution is a match between Marie and Prince Leopold VII, heir to the Prussian throne. But Marie has always loved Gill, her childhood friend and soldier of the Queen’s Guard.
Together, Marie and Aelwyn, a powerful magician in her own right, come up with a plan. Aelwyn will take on Marie’s face, allowing the princess to escape with Gill and live the quiet life she’s always wanted. And Aelwyn will get what she’s always dreamed of–the chance to rule. But the court intrigue and hunger for power in Lenoran England run deeper than anyone could imagine. In the end, there is only rule that matters in Eleanor’s court: trust no one.
What a fantastic story! I’ve always loved historical fantasy novels, especially when romance plays a big role, and I was definitely attracted to The Ring & The Crown. It was a completely enrapturing, entertaining read and I’m so glad that I decided to pick it up.
The Ring & The Crown is set in the Franco-British court during the London Season, when the noble young ladies who are looking to wed are presented at court. Princess Marie-Victoria has her own impending wedding to the heir of Prussia (Prince Leopold), to plan for, although it is a political match, and she is very much in love with her own guard, Gill. Prince Leo tosses aside Isabelle of Orleans, his intended fiancee, in favor of marrying Marie-Victoria and attaining the Franco-British crown. Meanwhile, a newcomer from America named Ronan Astor arrives at court, determined to make this the London Season that she will be engaged.
There are many different POVs in The Ring & The Crown, but I never found myself confused by the different stories. The author did a wonderful job of distinguishing the different voices of the characters. I think the decision to use multiple main characters in this book worked really well, especially since the court is such a complicated place. There is a lot going on. If the story had been told be just one character, I wouldn’t have learned very much about the story world, and I doubt I would have enjoyed it as much.
All the characters are well-developed, and described. Usually when there are multiple protagonists, there is at least one perspective that bores me. That wasn’t the case with The Ring & The Crown! Although I had characters I liked more than others, I enjoyed all of the POVs. They all had a purpose, and added to the story.
My favorite character was probably Ronan Astor, the newcomer from America. She’s determined to get engaged this season and save her family from debt and ruin. She is the type of character that you either love or hate, but I absolutely loved reading about her. She’s determined and not afraid to make sacrifices for her family’s happiness.
The Ring & The Crown was such an entertaining read! It wasn’t particularly deep or thought-provoking, but I never stopped flipping the pages. The glitz and glamour of the court completely enraptured me. There was so much political intrigue and danger lurking around every corner. I completely LOVED it!
The ending surprised me. The climax came out of nowhere. I wasn’t even aware that we had reached the peak of the novel until the loose threads suddenly wrapped up. There wasn’t much build-up, which was disappointing. Still, I’m really looking forward to the sequel to see how things play out in the future.
Overall, The Ring & The Crown was an amazing novel! The characters were all incredibly interesting, the world was fascinating, and I was entertained the entire time. I thought this was a stand-alone at first, but I’m so glad there there is a sequel! I can’t wait to see where the author takes these characters and their stories in the next installment. 4/5 stars!