Duke of Snow and Apples

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Expected Release Date: August 26, 2014
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Imprint: Select
Author’s Website: http://elizabethvail.net/
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: No
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Chaste+
Pet Peeves: Some Pacing Issues
Favorite Tropes: Secret Identity

Official Blurb:

Frederick Snow, first footman, is the perfect servant: efficient, hardworking, and completely bereft of emotion. Unbeknownst to his employers, he’s the lost Duke of Snowmont, on the run from a suspicious stepfather and a powerful magic he can only control by burying his passions beneath his frosty demeanor. He’s managed to hide behind his carefully ordered life until an impertinent miss arrives and challenges everything he thought he wanted.

If Charlotte Erlwood wants to land a wealthy, titled husband at her great aunt’s house party, she has to stop losing her temper – especially with inordinately handsome footmen. Perhaps if she recruits Frederick for her matrimonial schemes, she’ll be able to direct her attention toward suitable single noblemen and away from inappropriate dalliances. But Frederick’s frigid control is no match for Charlotte’s irrepressible spirit, and her passionate kiss could summon the darker side of his magic…or wake his heart from its frozen sleep.

What Worked For Me:

  • I adored the fun, seamless blend of historical regency style romance with fantasy elements, such as Fae ancestry, small charms used to curl hair or add entertaining little moving embroidery on a young lady’s gown, or even tiny salamanders used instead of coal to keep the hearth warm in the many fireplaces in a wealthy family’s mansion.
  • I’ve always been a fan of secret identities in romance, and this one was no exception. I enjoyed watching Frederick act as a footman, and more than that, I was relieved that he wasn’t the completely emotionless automaton the blurb rather made him out to be, even in the beginning.  He merely had a much easier time of suppressing his emotions before Charlotte came along and upset the applecart, bad pun intended.
  • Though not a book I would consider steamy by any means, that doesn’t mean there was a lack of yummy tension — indeed the chemistry between Charlotte and Frederick was quite scrumptious.
  • There’s also just enough angst to keep the drama going, without being overwrought.  Though I was a bit annoyed at times when a certain someone would act in a way that was “best for everyone” instead of simply discussing it like an adult, I can’t deny that I enjoyed the bit of heartache that resulted.

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • There were a few pacing issues that I would be remiss if I didn’t mention. More than once I thought the story was winding down to the conclusion, only to realize that I had quite a ways to go before the ending.
  • A mild point, but I prefer my romances steamy, and this one was decidedly chaste. This will be a plus for many readers, and a drawback for some.

Billed as a gender-swapped retelling of Snow White, this fun historical fantasy debut novel from Elizabeth Vail was entertaining and romantic. I loved the blend of historical and fantasy elements, and I’ve always been a sucker for characters with a secret identity.  I enjoyed Frederick’s belief that his magic was deadly, and that he had to keep a tight control over his emotions in order to protect everyone around him, and more than that, I loved how Charlotte continually pushed his limits without always meaning to.

Though I prefer my romances to be steamy, I did enjoy the chemistry between Charlotte and Frederick, especially the reminder that while he may be a footman, he was still a man, which is something Charlotte had a tendency to forget at times.

There were a few pacing issues that stood out to me, where the story would hit a lull that made me think that it was winding down to a conclusion before revving back up to more action, but even with these issues, I still found it a very enjoyable read, and a great deal at the current price.

04stars
Overall, a very solid 4/5 Stars, and I look forward to more from this author.