The Beggar Prince: A King Thrushbeard Retelling by Kate Stradling (Once Upon a Prince book 2)
Thorben is only weeks away from his coronation as king of Hauke, so he plans one last hunting trip with his friends. On the way, he has to make an appearance before the princess of Elisia who is being forced to choose a husband. After she mocks everyone from noble to almost-king, her father declares he’ll chose for her: the next beggar who comes to the castle.
Unfortunately for Thorben, a sudden storm deposits him, wet and bedraggled, on the castle doorstep. Before he can say anything, he and Leonie are married. Now he’s got to get home and get the marriage annulled before his coronation. Oh, and keep his identity a secret from Leonie.
The only problem is… he’s falling for her.
This story was such a delight! Thorben was a sweetheart, but not a pushover, while Leonie had her reasons for being standoffish. And oh my goodness, when we finally learn the truth behind her actions… I felt so bad for her!
Even though the story only encompassed a couple of weeks, the romance grew in believable ways as these two got to know each other. It was lovely to see Leonie come out of her shell and trust someone, while Thorben’s eyes were opened to a world beyond what he’s always known.
A delightful tale of arranged marriage, hidden identities, and tending wounds. Even for a world without magic, Stradling has evoked the fairy tale essence beloved of retellings. I can’t wait to read more stories set in the Twelve Kingdoms!
A couple of sweet kisses (Married couple sharing a room, not a bed)