I received this book via Author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Of Thorns and Beauty by Elle Madison, Robin D. Mahle
Series: Twisted Pages #1
Published by Whiskey and Willow Publishing on 2020-08-25
Reviewing eARC from Author
Reading Challenges: 2020 New Release Challenge, COYER All Year 2020
You think you know the tale as old time, but you’ve already got it wrong.
There never was a beauty and a beast, only a girl who was both.
And that girl was me.
Zaina will never be free.
She's forced into an arranged marriage to Viking King in a castle full of secrets. But she carries secrets of her own, and the scars of her haunted past.
Handed off from one monster to another, she has no choice but to do her best to survive and protect her sisters.
Even if it costs her everything.
A Beauty and the Beast retelling you won’t want to miss, where nothing is what it seems and time is running out.
Dark and twisted just like I like them! Of Thorns and Beauty by Elle Madison, Robin D. Mahle is the first book in their new fairytale inspired series Twisted Pages. This story hooked me from the start. I didn’t just devour this book, I consumed it body and soul. I lived in the world and felt bereft when it was over. If you are a fan of slow burn romance, characters that live in the moral gray area, and Beauty and the Beast, I highly recommend you add Of Thorns and Beauty to your shelves ASAP.
The story opens with Zaina being transported to her soon to be husband. She’s not happy, slightly scared, and more than a little angry at the situation her “mother” has put her in. Like a rose, Zaina has both beauty and thorns. Her life has been anything but easy, and now she is sent to marry a man she has never met for a purpose she isn’t sure she entirely understands. Her life up to this point has been to do whatever Madame (“mother”) has asked her to do in order to protect her sisters. If I had to describe Zaina in one word, I’d say broken, but like fine china, she’s been carefully repaired, the cracks only enhancing her beauty.
Einar is another story entirely! King of a wintery Northern kingdom, he initially comes off as cold and uncaring. With every interaction though, you quickly see that isn’t the case at all. Einar stole my heart little by little as more of his story and history are revealed. I love how the authors show his love for his servants. This says so much about the man, even when he seems to be unable to stand Zaina.
The story itself focuses on Zaina and Einar’s fledgling relationship and the mystery surrounding the castle and its inhabitants. Told entirely from Zaina’s perspective, you get a sense of her loneliness and despair over what Madame has asked her to do. While we are unclear what her mission is, it is clear from the start that a happy ending isn’t in sight for poor Zaina….or is there?
Overall, I loved Of Thorns and Beauty. I could not read it fast enough, and if I’m being completely honest here, I’ll be going back to reread it soon. I found myself fully immersed in Zaina’s world, both mesmerized at its beauty and haunted by its mystery. I cannot recommend this one enough!