Author: Antonia Aquilante
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Anne Cain
Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
Publication Date: 12/21/2015
Length: Novel (~ 50K-100K)
Genre: Fantasy, M/M Romance, Paranormal, Science Fiction
A Tale of Tournai
As the first-born son of the Duke of Tournai and cousin to the prince, Cathal has always tried to fulfill his duty to family and country, including following through with an arranged marriage to Velia, cousin to the emperor of Ardunn. But it’s Velia’s companion, Flavia, who fascinates Cathal. Cathal doesn’t know that Flavia is really Flavian, a man masquerading as a woman to escape Ardunn, a restrictive place in which Flavian’s preference for men is forbidden.
Even when Cathal discovers Flavian’s true gender, he cannot fight his attraction to him. Flavian is intrigued by Cathal, but Cathal is still betrothed to Velia, and Flavian worries Cathal is more taken with his feminine illusion than the man beneath it. While both men battle their longings for each other, spies from Ardunn infiltrate the capital, attempting to uncover Tournai’s weaknesses. They are also searching for Flavian, who possesses a magical Talent that allows him to see the truth of a person just by painting their portrait—a skill invaluable to Ardunn’s emperor.
I almost didn’t read the first book in the Tales from Tournai series, The Prince’s Consort. After I finished that installment, I was happy I hadn’t listened to my friend who DNFed it. Now that I have read book two in the series, I am doubly happy and eager for book three. Afterall, Aquilante has a sad to resolve. Poor Eton, but I digress.
Let’s talk for a minute about Cathal and Flavian. They are, after all, the stars of the second installment, An Artist’s Masquerade.
We know from book one that duty and honor are of the utmost importance for Cathal, heir to the Duke of Tournai. He lost his position as the Prince’s right-hand man and favorite cousin over his adherence to tradition and duty. At the start of this tale, he is somewhat back in the Prince’s good graces, but not completely.
It is that duty and honor that leads Cathal to accept a betrothal set up by his father, the Duke and former advisor to the Prince. He does so despite knowing nothing about his betrothed and finding that he isn’t attracted to her in the slightest. He spends more time getting to know her companion — who inevitably turns out to be a man. Up until this point, we don’t know of Cathal’s attraction to men, but it isn’t a shock for him. He goes with it. Of course, Flavian takes some time to catch up.
While their love story is full of hot, clandestine encounters, it is also obviously full of love, attractions, and mutual respect. I like these two for one another. They complete each other.
In addition to the love story, there is some shadiness going on that has to be sussed out. I wasn’t shocked to learn the identities of some of those involved in the shadiness, but it worked so well in the plot that I let that little bit of predictability go and just enjoyed the ride.
It also set us up for more visits to Tournai, because let’s face it Tournai has more stories to tell.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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