Eileen has never been interested in love. Ever since her father’s abandonment, she’s vowed to never experience such pain again. But the enchanted forest has different ideas. When the continuously shifting pathways lead her to a mysterious stranger, Eileen finds her promise to fiercely guard her heart increasingly difficult to keep.
One night when she becomes lost in a storm, the enchanted forest’s pathways lead her to the castle, home to the kingdom’s Dark Prince, where Eileen finds herself entangled in what many consider an opportunity but which Eileen believes to be a curse: competing for the Dark Prince’s hand through a series of tests that judge one’s royal worth. Eileen is neither royal nor interested in becoming a princess. But the mysterious stranger she met in the woods has his own reasons for helping her succeed, although the cost of his assistance may be too high: that of Eileen’s heart, the one thing she’s vowed never to give.
Inspired by “The Princess and the Pea” and “Rumpelstiltskin”
I started this book at random on the kindle, not remembering the description, having found another book I’d gotten 42% of the way through lackluster. I am so unbelievably happy I did! While there were definitely Princess and the Pea and Rumpelstiltskin vibes, I absolutely adored the Forest (perhaps because growing up I spent a lot of time buried inside one myself). The tranquility and need to escape really connected both of them, and I was curious to see how Eileen’s walls would be shattered or rebuilt. I absolutely loved the “cost” of things, and how she gave in, despite not knowing the man she met in the forest, and technically never having bargained or agreed to anything for help he freely gave her. The way he carefully spoke was brilliant, as was her attention to details as she ended up caught up trying to become a princess, even if she didn’t want to. I definitely felt some Ever After vibes during their meetings, given how outspoken she was when they were alone in the forest. Greatly enjoyed!
Star Rating: ✯✯✯✯✯