Title: Ever After: A Gay Fairy Tale
Author: Riley Hart, Christina Lee and Joel Leslie (Narrator)
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: September 7th 2018
Genre(s): Fantasy Romance
Length: 8 hrs
Reviewed by: Belen
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
As next in line for the Evergreen crown, Prince Merrick Davendall’s future involves ruling, marriage, and producing an heir of his own. But he’s long been tormented by desires that are far from princely. Especially when the beautiful Cassius is promoted to be his new valet, and Merrick is struck by a longing like never before – a longing to know him far beyond royal and servant.
After his father’s passing, Cassius Havendale’s sole duty is to provide for his family. A promotion to serve a pampered prince is something he endures only for their sake. Surely Prince Merrick has no understanding of the true suffering of the common people, nor could he possibly understand what it’s like to desperately desire something he cannot have.
Except the prince is not at all what Cassius imagined. Kind, humorous, and caring to those in need, he also shares Cassius’s affinity for the arts. In fact, Merrick understands his deepest vulnerabilities in a most remarkable way.
As their affection deepens, the underlying tension between them becomes unbearable and they’re unable to ignore it any longer. But when the queen prepares a lavish ball with all the eligible ladies in the land in attendance, Merrick must fulfill his obligations to his country, and Cassius has the needs of his family to consider. They’ve long known their stolen moments would have to come to an end, but are they ready to give up one another and the idea of a happily-ever-after?
*Please note: Ever After is a romantic fairy tale – minus the magic – that features one compassionate prince, one brooding valet, and plenty of angsty, forbidden love. It’s loosely based on a certain treasured fairy tale in a wintery make-believe setting that wouldn’t be considered contemporary but also isn’t based on any specific time period and doesn’t play by any traditional rules.
So I started out a bit confused because the blurb on Audible clearly states: Please be sure to listen to the Dear Reader letter at the beginning of the book before you begin. The problem is there’s no “Dear Reader” letter at the beginning of the audio. So…was it important? Was it something I really needed to know? I don’t know!
Anyway, Ever After is a fantasy without the magic, a sweet fairytale, slow burn romance about the forbidden love between a prince and his valet that takes place in an interesting amalgam of traditional and modern (with formal language and some modern conveniences like cars).
Joel Leslie uses his best accents to bring the characters and the world to life. His pacing is good, his character voices distinct, and he provides emotional context to Merrick and Cassius’s plight.
I enjoyed the narration, but found myself frustrated with the story’s pace at times. Though, the last couple of hours really grabbed my attention and kept me riveted.
Recommended for those looking for an escape with great character and relationship development, a slow burn, and a very happy ending.