Author: Antonia Aquilante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 05/30/2016
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
A Tale of Tournai
Youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart who juggles his work for the prince with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, something of particular interest to him because he shares the magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries a woman. Though Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, he is a dutiful son, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family.
A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together, and even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside again. When Tristan’s daughter is kidnapped, Etan and Tristan must come together to find her, find the person responsible, and support each other through the ordeal… and maybe beyond.
Anyone who read books 1 and/or 2 of the Tales of Tournai was probably eagerly awaiting both Tristan’s story and Etan’s story. The fact that they are one in the same will probably come as no surprise. Regardless of whether you wanted these two together at the start of the story, but they time they finally make it official you will hopefully be as in love with these two as I am.
As with the other stories in this series, there is magic and political intrigue. There is also two men who desperately want something they don’t think they can have and two men two gunshy even to try. Tristan spends much the book a bit on the clueless side. A lot of the conflict could have been resolved long ago with a few words and observations on his part. If you can get past that, however, Etan and Tristan make a fabulous couple.
They complement each other and have a deep bond that is tangible. the daughter is a bit of an afterthought through much of the story, even though she does represent a much of the conflict and part of the catalyst for the eventual union.
I still like the first book in the series best, but The Scholar’s Heart is a close second.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
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