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A Captive Heart*

Childhood Betrothal Becomes Love Match

Princess Avenie is mourning the death of her father when her brother informs her that she is soon to leave the kingdom to wed a prince of another land. Apparently, they have been betrothed since they were children, but this is the first she has heard about it. Theoren, the prince, soon learns about this marriage-to-be as well, and he is not too pleased about it, wishing he had some control over who would become, ultimately, his queen.

The book alternates between Avenie’s and Theoren’s perspectives written in the first person. We see their lives as they begin to intertwine and as they separate. These are two people who had no control over whether they would come together, but a bond begins to form slowly. Unfortunately, the prince is taken away soon before the marriage because of issues with another land that he needs to attend to. What will this mean for Avenie and Theoren?

I love the way the book opened with a brief page that sets the scene about what is happening in Rayterre with gravitas. It puts you in the mind of a fantasy setting right away and gets you immersed in the book. Avenie is such a sympathetic character right away. Her brother treats her terribly and relishes doing so. He is a petty, mean-spirited man. But Avenie is resigned to her fate; could it be much worse than what she already knows? But she will be tested more than she realizes, first in her prince’s realm and then farther away as she tries to take charge of her life in a world where princesses aren’t supposed to do that.

I enjoyed this well-written fantasy novel where the characters grew and changed over the course of the story. Avenie’s and Theoren’s concurrent plotlines are intricate. I love how they danced around each other, bringing the characters together, tearing them apart, and then bring them back together, each now having a completely different perspective on themselves and each other through the trials that they had gone through.