~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
And have a cover:
Btw, it was fascinating watching this cover come together. Ms Draven tantalized us on Facebook with updates, from the time she found her model for Ildiko to the finished produce. I like it because it's not a photograph or people hugging in the snow.
It was fun watching these two go from wary strangers to loving couple. There's not an ounce of instalove in this book. Both characters have loving hearts and want to make a success of their political marriage This is, in its own way, a quiet romance in an arranged marriage where the couple did not automatically hate each other 'just because'.
I especially liked the way they teased each other, using this as a way to try to become comfortable with the differences between them. Ildiko got a shock every time Brishen smiled because he had fangs; she called him Wolf and he called her Horse, which is the only thing he could compare her square teeth to. Their eyes were different too, and Brishen (and all Kai) felt nauseous when Ildiko rolled her eyes (something romance heroines tend to do). She began to roll them deliberately, just to watch the reactions.
And so, as they lived and traveled together, they advanced from respect to affection, to trust and to love.
The second half has much more action; fighting, kidnapping and the ending! The ending left me with my mouth agape and I hope Ms Draven is writing quickly because I want the next book in the Wraith King saga, like NOW!
The setting is fantastical; the world isn't ours nor are the people. But this is a very realistic romance, with characters I can relate to and root for. There's not one of Grace Draven's books I haven't enjoyed.
Highly recommended. Hope you'll give it a try.