The Prince's Bride 2 by JJ McAvoy


Let's get the important part out of the way first: I LOVED THIS BOOK. It had everything I love about royalty -- palace intrigue, the crushing burdens of etiquette and tradition, the jewels and splendor, and the weight of history's eyes upon each action. 

Odette was chosen by her prince for a very traditional reason: her money. But as a Black American woman she's not the traditional princess that Ersovia expected. 

When the book opens, Odette hasn't heard from the man she married on impulse for six months. He's been thrust into the role of heir to the kingdom and the king is incapacitated. It's an enormous burden, but I admit, I was like, "Come on, Gale, not even a text?"

Odette travels to Ersovia to get him to sign divorce papers and discovers why he hasn't contacted her. The situation is a mess and he's miserable, but it's instantly obvious these two were meant for one another.  It's not easy for Odette to decide to stay, especially as it becomes obvious that she's going to have to fight an uphill battle to be accepted by her new country, and her widowed sister-in-law hates her simply for existing, for exemplifying the happiness she once had as the wife of the heir.

I couldn't help think of another princess as I was reading this, a woman of color who married into the English royal family. Like Odette, every single breath she takes is criticized and every action is taken out of context in the press and twisted in nefarious ways. 

Odette spends her days learning the language, learning etiquette, studying history, and learning the names and ranks of the important Ersovian officials. At this point in the book, I forgave Gale for not calling because Odette herself is unable to steal a moment to even call her mom and let her know she's getting publicly married in the winter. 

Odette's mom is a gem. It took a while for me to warm to her in the first book because she seemed focused on the wrong things, but in this book, she is a tiger defending her daughter.

But Odette's family isn't all on her side. 

Small spoiler (highlight to read) Her half -sister betrays her cruelly. I was hoping by the end of the book that the sister would come to a place of repentance. Not that Odette had to forgive her, of course, but that her sister would come to realize what she had done and the loving relationship she had thrown away out of spite and jealousy.

The queen was a delight. She, too, is a loving and fierce mother. She not only has her only remaining son to protect, but she feels a duty to the monarchy itself, to protect its traditions and dignity. She's strict with Odette and insistent that she do things correctly, but she's also supportive when Odette tosses aside the script for a moment to show her real self to the people and earn their affections. 

Gale's sister is also wonderful. She was a fan of Odette's music before Odette was involved with her brother and she's thrilled that the two are going to get married.

But there's someone who doesn't want to see Odette succeed. Someone who's willing to stop at nothing to make sure she doesn't become the next queen of Ersovia.

Did I mention I loved this book? I'm only sad we didn't get to see Odette rule as queen, but maybe if we ask JJ very nicely and practice our best curtseys, she'll give us another sequel one day!

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The Prince's Bride part 2 is available on Kindle here.

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