Dreams of Roses

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Dreams of Roses: A Sleeping Beauty and King Midas Retelling by Celeste Baxendell (Bewitching Fairy Tales book 7)

Lady Ro has been lied to her whole life. Her identity, her parents, her curse – all lies. The one person who hasn’t lied to her? The strange, armor-clad prisoner who tried to kidnap her. She flees her old life. But she then has to accept her new identity and all that means.

Midas knows what it’s like to have an unbreakable curse. And now that he’s met Ro, the true agony of his comes into sharp focus. Everything he touches turns to gold. Worse still, he can’t die, so he’ll have to live his life never being able to touch the one he loves.

But with wars and rebellions raging across the empire, neither have time for love. They certainly aren’t going to tell each other their feelings.

Midas couldn’t tell her no.

I knew this book was part of a duology from the outset, but that didn’t make the cliffhanger ending any less heartbreaking. I have to believe there’s a resolution in the next book, but right now it seems impossible.

As always, Baxendell writes with depth and nuance that pull you into the story. The characters both grow, and I appreciate that it’s not insta-love and their feelings for each other develop at different paces.

There are a number of characters from previous books in this one, including my favorite, Sandy from Songs of Stone. Most of the books in the series can be read as stand-alones, but I think to fully appreciate the magnitude of what’s happening in this one, it helps to have read the earlier books.

The central theme of Dreams of Beauty is selfishness and it’s wondrous to see how each character embodies that. Sandy sticks around to help because it’s entertaining for him. Enrique fights because he needs to save face. Helio desperately wants to fix his past mistakes. Midas, despite using his curse and doing whatever Ro needs, makes poor choices because of his desire to be near her. And poor selfish Ro – she knows what she needs to do, sees the only way to save Faen, but she’s not willing to make that terrible, awful sacrifice.

Five roses – I can’t wait for the next one to see how the cliffhanger is resolved, but I’m also sad that will be the end of this series.
No swearing on the page
No kisses – he can’t touch her.
Injuries – nothing over the top, but she is a stabby princess and they are at war.