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The Crown Prince’s Bride (Royal Duology 2) by Donna Alwood Review

Hi ForeverBookers, 

I’ve just finished another great book, The Crown Prince’s Bride by Donna Alwood! It’s a contemporary, Royal romance but has grief attached to the story as well. The Crown Prince’s Bride is actually the second book in a duology. I didn’t realise this to begin with (I really wish NetGalley would tell us what number in a series/duology each book is) but meh, I still enjoyed the book for what it was. However, I don’t believe the novel was finished, and it’s labelled as a duology on Goodreads, so it’s sad that we won’t get to see these characters again. There could be another novel with these characters, I believe. 

I read “Starlight Nights" for the “A book that deals with death/grief” goal on the Popsugar Reading Challenge because one of the characters has to deal with grief, throughout.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this. I enjoyed it! 

The Crown Prince’s Bride focuses on the relationship between Stephani, a part Greek woman, who is the advisor to The Crown Prince Of Marazur, France. Right at the beginning of the novel, we know that Stephani has more than feelings for Prince Raoul. The novel is about Steph and Raoul coming together and exploring a relationship that neither one of them thought would be possible.

The side characters don’t play a huge part in The Crown Prince’s Bride. They’re there, obviously but the main characters held and moved the plot. That might have been because I didn’t read book 1 as I think a good part of this novel was based off of that.  I still enjoyed this book, though! 

The main setting is The Royal premise in Marazur. We see most of the story play out here, although there are scenes that go to other further away places. For example, Raoul takes Stephani on holiday so she can relax and he can take care of her. 

NOTE: there’s some adult content but not too much. I’d say a mature 16 year old could read this.

Spoilers Below...

Raoul was married previously to Stephani’s cousin, Ceci. She died in a car accident, however. Stephani had loved Raoul from before this, but she didn’t want to wreck his relationship with Ceci. When Steph and Raoul kiss, this is his reaction. 

“For the first time since Ceci’s death, he was glad he hadn’t died with her”

It portrays just how much he loves Ceci and how much she meant to him, but that he’s also open to moving on, down the line. 

“She had welcomed the contact. Wholeheartedly. What the hell did this mean?”

This is Stephani’s reaction to the first kiss. Just the one word sentence, “Wholeheartedly.” shows her shock and confusion, as well as the question she asks herself afterwards. It’s clear to us, the reader that Steph desperately loves Raoul from the beginning of the novel. This, of course also puts a little bit of a forbidden romance twist on the story as well, because Stephani is Prince Raoul’s advisor, so she’s not meant to fall in love with him. I enjoyed this forbidden romance element. 

“It had stung that she was actually that forgettable, but despite the disappointment, she figured it was for the best”

The story goes back and forward over the will they/won’t they premise. I didn’t mind this so much for this book because it was so short. However, for a longer book, cough cough, The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare, that back and forth really doesn’t work for me. 

As I said above grief is a huge part of this novel and getting over it. Raoul is grieving for his first wife for the majority of The Crown Prince’s Bride. Stephani knows this, and doesn’t mind that he thinks of Ceci, often. 

“All the pain and grief...it was still worth it” is what Raoul says to Stephani when he tells her that he does love her and wants her forever. 

There’s another slight twist to this novel. Something that makes the main characters actually gravitate towards each other. I don’t want to spoil it, though...

What did I like about The Crown Prince’s Bride?  

I liked how a lot of the plot was focused on the romance. 

I liked that the romance was forbidden as “forbidden romance” is a buzz phrase for me.

I liked how the plot wasn’t easy for the main characters, and that they faced challenges as anyone would in real life.  

What didn’t I like about The Crown Prince’s Bride? 

I don’t like that the duology has finished. There could have been another novel with these characters from the way this book finished, I think.  

I didn’t like that we didn’t get much sexy time. I thought this was an adult novel but it kind of read like a YA one.

I enjoyed The Crown Prince’s Bride but I wish it had been slightly longer because the story didn’t feel completed. That’s why I’m giving it 4 Stars! 

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