Author: Melanie Cellier
Narrator: Esther Wane
Audiobook Length: 3 hours 29 minutes
Sometimes a fairy tale ending is only the beginning…
Sarah and Evelyn have already risked everything to help Ava win a crown. But they soon learn that a coronation is a beginning, not an ending. Not everyone in Rangmere is happy to see the young queen on the throne, and intrigue and danger lurk all around.
The cousins find themselves fighting not only for their new kingdom but also for their own survival in the royal court. When a new threat emerges, the two girls must defeat it to both save the crown and secure their own Happily Ever Afters.
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Happily Ever Afters is the third story in The Four Kingdoms series, which falls between the full-length second novel and actual third novel. I am not sure why this ended up a novella instead of a full-length novel as there are two main characters in this story and it seems they would have benefited from having more pages to explore their tale. This installment is a reimagining of Snow White and Red Rose and follows cousins, Sarah, and Evelyn, who were a part of the merchant band in the previous story. Not only does this story explore the HEAs of Sarah and Evelyn, but it also acted as a nice extended epilogue for Ava and Hans after the second novel.
Evelyn has become Ava’s personal guard while Sarah is navigating the court. While Sarah initially seems shallow and only caring about court life, it was nice to see that there is more to her character. She was interesting to learn about, but unfortunately, I found her story overshadowed by Evelyn, who is having trouble fitting in as a female guard. They discover a plot against Ava and work together with Miles, a nobleman, and Jake, another guard. The story is told from the POVs of Evelyn and Sarah, so the reader can follow along both sides of the story. As these two characters are closely related to both the plot and each other, I loved that this was dual perspective. While I leaned more towards Evelyn’s side of the story, I liked that there were options where others could also lean towards Evelyn, they could lean towards Sarah, both, and even neither. Stories like this provide great options for readers, which I enjoy.
Not only does the story explore the budding romances and plot against Ava, but there is also a continuation of the bond between Evelyn and Sarah along with some personal growth for each. There is a lot going on in this story, so, again, I am not sure why it was only a novella and not a full-length novel as the material was there. As a shorter story, a lot seems rushed because there is not the page length to delve deeper into each element. This story nicely builds on the previous novel and sets up the next one, yet it had enough information where it could be read as a standalone. The series continues to be an enjoyment and I can’t wait to see what the Rumpelstiltskin retelling holds next!