Never After by Laurell K. Hamilton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
OK--I have to get this book off my desk and turned back in, so here is my shorter-than-usual review:
These are upside-down romance novellas, with the heroine of each trying to get OUT of marrying someone.
The first two novellas in the book were OK. Laurell K. Hamilton tells a story about a young girl whose father basically sells her to a known pervert/dirty old man/rapist, and she chooses to escape by publicly announcing she's going to rescue an almost-mythical prince, believing it's better to die that way than be tortured by her vile husband-to-be.
Yasmine Galenorn writes about a selkie hiding from the selkie prince who raped her a century ago as a way to force her into marrying him. He finally catches up to her in the Puget Sound area and nearly kills her fiance, her supernatural friends, and her.
I enjoyed the last two novellas the best. Marjorie M. Liu tells of an unconventional princess whose father sells her in marriage to a fearsome warlord in exchange for border protection. She goes on a journey to the magical Tanglewood forest in search of guidance and discovers both some new friends and the dangerous ice queen imprisoned by a crown of thorns. (This story was hard to put down.)
Sharon Shinn's novella, "The Wrong Bridegroom," is the story of a spoiled brat of a princess whose awful father holds a bloody tournament, with the champion getting to marry the princess. The post-tournament journey to meet the future mother-in-law is eye-opening and character-building. (Shinn is a master with character development.)
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