The magic of a romance novel isn’t just in the love story, and nothing quite spells fairy tale like a theme-park setting. R.S. Grey puts a fresh spin on the royal romance trope by setting her newest novel in a make-believe kingdom—a fictional theme park known as Fairytale Kingdom, stretched out along the shores of southern Georgia, and home to Princess Elena, Fairytale Kingdom’s main attraction, and her love interest, His Royal Highness. But, unlike most fairy tales, there are no archetypes in this story, or villains to fight, or evil curses to break for the characters to find their happily-ever-after. This is the story of two very real and relatable people who fall in love with one another by finding home and happiness in each other’s arms. Brimming with Grey’s trademark sense of humour and wit, this light-hearted yet richly crafted tale of love, family, and a woman’s journey of letting go of self-doubt packs an emotional punch even when it’s making us giggle, quickly becoming one of my favourite R.S. Grey romances to date.
I love love. The butterflies, the hopeful promise of what tomorrow might bring. I fell in love for the first time when I was eighteen. It was unrequited and silly, wrapped up in teen angst. Still, none of my crushes hold a candle to that one. To this day, that crush eclipses all the ones that have come after it. An annoying but enduring fact.
Twenty-six-year-old Whitney Atwood knows that she’s been stuck in a rut her entire adult life, but she doesn’t know how to move forward. Playing a fictional princess in a make-believe kingdom has allowed her to put her real life on hold, and spend her days pretending to be someone else—someone perfect, someone loved, someone who hasn’t been abandoned by her own family. And for the past eight years, Whitney has also tried very hard to forget that the first man she ever had any feelings for just up and left without even saying goodbye. And now, after almost a decade of absence, he is suddenly back in her life.
From our very first encounter, my head and my heart were on two different pages when it came to Derek Knightley. Ten years my senior, a full-grown man in a position of power in the company I worked for—logic told me to crush my burgeoning romantic feelings for him. My heart thought logic could go to hell.
As heir to the largest theme-park empire in the world, Derek Knightley has always believed that his main priority in life should be continuing his grandfather’s legacy. After spending the better part of the past decade expanding his family’s empire abroad, he is finally back home and ready to take over the reins of the company his grandfather built from the ground up, only to be faced with a very beautiful and very angry ghost from his past. No longer the smitten and shy eighteen-year-old he’d once known, Whitney Atwood has grown into a confident young woman who happens to charm anyone she meets, but for some reason, she wants nothing to do with him at all.
“For the last eight years, I’ve barely taken the time to glance up, but now, I’m looking, Whitney. I see you. You want me to grovel and beg for forgiveness over what I did back then?” He takes a step toward me. “I’d rather talk about the way I feel for you right now.”
Forced to work together day in and day out, sparks fly every time they are in the same room together. But while Derek continues to show his interest in her, Whitney remains determined to ignore the sizzling attraction between them and to keep her true feelings hidden. Because all Whitney has ever known of love is the pain of being left behind, and she knows her heart wouldn’t recover from being left by Derek a second time. But the more she pushes him away, the harder Derek fights for a woman whose naïveté and openness make him want to slay dragons to keep her heart safe and protected.
“I won’t leave you again.”
Through compelling, emotionally evocative characters, an enchanting setting that will delight the Disney-lover in any of us, and just enough finger-tingling angst to keep us glued to the pages cover to cover, R.S. Grey weaves a tender love story that feels incredibly cinematic, especially as it takes us behind the scenes of a world we hardly ever get to see that way. And once you start reading it, I pity the fool who tries to pry this book from your hands.
To love is to settle, to feel calmed by a lover’s embrace. It’s why people often define home as a person, not a place.