THIS IS A PSA TO INFORM EVERYONE THAT DAMEN HAS A DIMPLE IN HIS LEFT CHEEK
“We’ll make another kind of empire.”
I’m dead, I’ve died,THIS IS A PSA TO INFORM EVERYONE THAT DAMEN HAS A DIMPLE IN HIS LEFT CHEEK
“We’ll make another kind of empire.”
I’m dead, I’ve died, I’ve gone to heaven – the third short story in the collection of Captive Prince short stories was a tiny little masterpiece that I will remember forever.
This is less of a review, and more of a general freaking-out over the perfection of this story.
So when I found out that the third CP story was set from the perspective of Charls, I was a quite irked. I didn’t really see the point of it and, to be honest, I really just wanted to read more about Damen and Laurent being in love. But, I still pre-ordered the story and set my alarm for 2 am so I could read it the second it downloaded on my kindle.
And I loved it.
There’s just something so surreal reading about Damen and Laurent from someone else’s eyes: in Charls we find out that Damen has a dimple in his left cheek.
I DON’T KNOW IF YOU HEARD ME PROPERLY BUT DAMIANOS KING OF AKIELOS HAS A DIMPLE IN HIS LEFT CHEEK AND THIS IS IMPORTANT INFORMATION.
He also has tousled curls and smiles so sweetly that a loyal guard is swayed and does as Damen asks.
We also see the three sides of Laurent: the vicious Ice Prince facade he presents to his enemies; the fair, kind-hearted friend he reserves for those loyal to him; and the soft, loving, romantic side that only Damen sees. I love watching the complex characterisation of Laurent grow as he becomes more and more like the person he was also meant to be, thanks to Damen.
The plot was intriguing but I was too caught up in smiling over Damen and Laurent that I didn’t see what it really was about, although I was wondering, but trusted in Pacat.
All in all, The Adventures of Charls, the Veretian Cloth Merchant was fantastic and far, far better than I thought it would be. I’m so glad I read it. I seriously can’t wait for the last story now. (But it better be from Damen’s POV again or I’ll scream).
Laurent’s feathered hat DAMEN’S BEAUTIFUL DIMPLE Damen worrying that Laurent is spending too much time alone with the mistress of the house “You do have nice eyes.” “Healthy competition.” – fkn savage Laurent dropping the price of the silk to be a bitch Damen putting a hand on Laurent’s shoulder when the horse was put down Damen defending Laurent’s honour in the inn Laurent throwing olives and hitting someone with a piece of lamb during the fight Damen single-handedly taking on eight men and then roaring – like did we expect anything else Just everything about the fight at the inn DAMEN AND LAURENT TRYING TO SKIN A RABBIT AND MAKE DINNER AND UTTERLY FAILING CHARLS LECTURING DAMEN THAT “A PRINCE’S HANDS ARE NOT MADE TO TOUCH A DEAD RABBIT” BUT NOT REALISING THAT DAMEN’S A FREAKING KING Damen and Laurent laughing so much that Laurent has to wipe tears from his eyes Everyone talking about whether or not Damen and Laurent are “DOING IT” Damen getting annoyed that everyone thinks he slept with someone for 6 hours when it was really 7 Everyone guessing how Damen and Laurent fell in love ❤ Saving the slaves DAMEN AND LAURENT KISSING – be still my beating heart LAURENT’S ASCENSION — I have waited YEARS and YEARS to read the words KING LAURENT OF VERE on the page Finding out he’s actually Laurent VI of Vere Laurent wearing all gold and looking fabulous And Charls is still so dense he doesn’t understand who Damen really is
Not everyone could have the blissful equanimity of Lamen, who seemed to pay the Prince no deference of rank, a piece of very good acting.
“That is very good of you to say, Lamen. But your word sadly counts for very little against that of a renowned merchant.”
“You do have nice eyes.” “Did you miss me?”
Charls sat across from [Laurent], uncomfortably close to the man in the blue cloak, which on closer inspection was of untreated wool, obviously home woven. They had now been brought very low, Charls thought.
“You’re not going to sit in my lap this time?” Lamen settled comfortably on the bench. The Prince said, “Charls will faint.”
From that vantage, the Prince started throwing olives. They pinged off the heads of the struggling Akielons and caused no real harm, but contributed to the general confusion.
“And how is it you now fight for Veretians?” said Alexon. Charls found himself curious to hear his answer, but Lamen said only, “I came to know one of them.”
Charls saw Lamen lift his cup and incline it towards the Prince, who echoed his gesture, the two of them smiling a little.
“You don’t drink wine,” said Lamen, a shoulder leaned against the wall. “It was a special occasion,” said the Prince. “Should I be glad you aren’t cornering a trade empire?” “We’ll make another kind of empire,” said the Prince.
The Prince’s arms slid around Lamen’s neck, drawing him closer, and the kiss deepened, Lamen pulling their bodies together. When the Prince drew back, smiling and murmuring something to Lamen, Lamen’s head dropped to the Prince’s neck. They were both speaking with obvious affection.
“Charls,” said Lamen, “I’d work my whole life to be worthy of him.” […] “I’ll stay by Laurent for as long as he wants me,” said Lamen.
“Long live the King! Long live King Laurent of Vere!”
“Lamen,” said Charls, in a shocked voice. “Why are you dressed up like the King?” ...more
Thank you very much to Romance Beckons and Netgalley for providing a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
The Return of the Earl was a Thank you very much to Romance Beckons and Netgalley for providing a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.
The Return of the Earl was a sweet, easy to read romance that captures the reader’s heart almost immediately.
The novel follows Con who, for the last 13 years, has lived on the Continent after his father exiled him from England. He is known as the Ice Prince, but when he returns home to Harrowcot Hall – a place haunted by the memories of his long-lost love – Con finds himself rethinking everything he once thought he knew about himself and the person he used to be, especially when he comes face to face with Bryn Ellison. Con is convinced Bryn betrayed him all those years ago, but as Con’s icy demeanour begins to melt, Con has to face the past and reawakened passions.
I always adore old lovers stories, where the lovers haven’t seen each other after a period of separation, and have to wrestle with their subsequent hate and attraction to one another. Schwab adapted this trope quite expertly, and then tension between the two lovers – Con and Bryn – was apparent and tender.
Con was a strange choice of protagonist: the reader is reminded every page about his reputation as “Ice Prince”, but he never lived up to it. He didn’t seem like an icy, arrogant character: he was just rude, hysterical and, excuse my phrasing here, but he reminded me a lot of a female heroine in a Gothic romance. Every second sentence was “bloody this”, and “damn that” and him complaining about ... well, literally everything. He was an incredibly despondent character who engages in a lot of self-pity. I was also confused by his choices, specifically why he chose to believe his father over Bryn especially considering how much he hated his father.
While I was disillusioned with Con, I did really enjoy Bryn’s character. He was loving and incredibly patient with Con, especially in situations where I would have told Con to go shove something somewhere. My one issue with Bryn is that we didn’t see enough of him! I enjoyed his presence on the page and his interactions with Con, but as soon as he left, the story dwindled. I feel as though this novel could have been far better with two POVs, as opposed to one. If we had gotten Bryn’s thoughts as well as Con’s, then we could have understood the love from Bryn’s side of things, and how he felt with Con leaving him for over a decade. Or maybe even more flashbacks to their childhood, and how that love developed from friendship in the first place. The slow burn was already present in the novel, but by utilising more than one POV, the tension and the romance would have been upped a notch and benefited the story.
Schwab’s writing perfectly complemented the story and I found no issue with her prose. It was highly sophisticated and lovely to read, so much so that I want to read her other m/m novel, even with the few annoyances I found in this story. It was also very obvious that Schwab had done her research on Regency England. Everything felt very authentic and true to the time period. Colour me impressed by Schwab’s research skills and how easy she made it feel to be immersed into a historically accurate story.
If you're looking for a loving and quick read, then look no further than The Return of the Earl. While the novel suffered a little from the choice of protagonist and the frequent self-deprecating discourse, the romance was wonderful to read as it rekindled....more
**spoiler alert** Got three hundred and something pages in and was losing my mind. NOTHING happens - blew past 5 years at school and the main villain**spoiler alert** Got three hundred and something pages in and was losing my mind. NOTHING happens - blew past 5 years at school and the main villain has still not been introduced. Nope.