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Title: Christmas at the CastleMy Review:
Author: Melissa McClone
Series: Ever After #3
Published by: Tule Publishing Group
Release Date: October 18th 2016
Format: eARC, Kindle Book
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A royal wedding. A meddlesome mother. An unexpected union.
A European getaway during the Christmas holiday is exactly what veterinarian Katrina “Kat” Parsons needs. She can’t wait to be a bridesmaid in her childhood friend’s royal wedding, but she hopes to steer clear of the bride’s arrogant older brother.
Crown Prince Guillaume wants his younger sister’s wedding day to be perfect, but he’s suspicious of Kat. He and his mother on are on high alert, afraid Kat is not just there for the wedding, but also to find a prince of her own.
But when Kat’s kindness and generosity prove them wrong, the prince realizes there’s more to her than he ever imagined. Can he trust his heart or will he lose the one woman he can’t live without?
I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.
4 stars — Oh dude, this was so refreshing after my last read! I was sucked right into this one, it was everything I wanted in a Christmas book! I honestly think it just hit all my Lenore buttons, you know? I do find “royal” stories to be a bit of a guilty pleasure, and this one was kind of perfect in that way. The thing that I appreciate in royal books is that often times they unglamourize being royalty…it honestly just seems like a pain with so many expectations and rules. And I felt that for both Gill and his little sister Sophie.
I really enjoyed both of our characters…I felt like they had a lot of dimension. They were terribly flawed, but that made it satisfying to see them grow throughout the story. And the growth felt well paced and believable. Kat truly was a sweetheart, but you could see how the damage from her childhood pervaded her choices and reactions in adulthood. Her growth was a bit more subtle. Gill, on the other hand, had a pretty rough introduction to the reader. He was abrupt and rude…but you know what? Underneath it all, even at the beginning, I felt glimmers of “more than meets the eye” with him. I was so glad that he didn’t let me down. It was hard to watch him struggle with his upbringing, expectations, and the unavoidable feelings he develops.
For the most part I really loved the secondary characters too. Sophie was an interesting BFF to Kat…I did love her, but she seemed a bit more oblivious to Kat’s needs/wants. It almost felt like a bit of an unbalanced friendship, though that was as much Kat’s fault as Sophie’s. I kept wondering if her matchmaking was really to get Gill off his butt and moving, and I was a bit disappointed it wasn’t. Bertrand seemed sweet, and Jamie amused the crap out of me. He was almost over the top, but he rode the line. And I LOVED the staff, particularly Claude, Liv, and Isaac. I would LOVE to see Isaac’s story, I can see there being more to him. I could see tie ins to other books as well with some of the characters, made me a bit curious about them. I might wishlist them.
Gill and Sophie’s Mom, the Queen, was the only downside for me. She was downright mean and rude and we didn’t get to *see* the turnaround, so it was a bit unbelievable. She basically went slightly too far over the line to be redeemable enough…I needed more there. And how could she honestly want Gill to marry Rowena?? She was horrible! Surely there were nicer princesses out there.
I loved the ending, it was very satisfying. I felt like the romance and developing feelings moved at a believable pace (unlike the previous book I read), and I really felt the chemistry between them. Again, just very satisfying. And in a sidenote, I had to look it up on YouTube, but I finally know how to pronounce Guillaume!