Title: The Solstice Prince
Series: Realms of Love: Book One
Author: SJ Himes
Narrator: Joel Leslie
Run Time: 6 hours and 1 minute
At a Glance: Solstice Prince is a lovely fairytale romance whose strong world-building, well-crafted story and cast of characters keeps its sweetness from being trite or cloying, and Leslie’s skillful performance makes for a charming listen.
Reviewed By: Jovan
Blurb: Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded. Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical.
Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.
One day, when necessity and fate intervene, Jaime meets someone unexpected – Prince Maxim, youngest son of the Pyrderian King, a sword master and a devastatingly kind man. Unaccustomed to powerful people with compassion and heart, Jaime flees. A cascade of events reveals Jaime’s hidden talents of healing, and he finds himself not in chains, but at the beginning of a new life. This swift change of fortune opens Jaime up to new possibilities, including a smitten prince who cautiously courts Jaime, easing him away from his fears and reminding him that compassion and love can make him strong.
The winter solstice is quickly approaching, and Prince Maxim shows Jaime the enjoyment and excitement to be found in a land that embraces the ice and cold, and the mysteries of all things magical. He learns to see the man under the royal mantle, and Maxim is more than even Jaime suspected. The winter solstice is nigh when tragedy strikes, and Jaime learns that his past of grief and sorrow can be a pillar of strength for his solstice prince. If there is one thing that Jaime believes above all else, it is in the healing power of love.
Review: This delightful, heartwarming romance captures the heart and the imagination. The fantastical world and its lively inhabitants draw the reader in as we follow Jaime on his journey of recovery from the depredations inflicted by his fellow citizens and the horrors of slavery.
Jaime is adorably sweet and selfless, and though traumatized, maintains his core goodness. Bolstered by kindness from others, he eventually reclaims his life and stops living in fear while being swept away by Prince Maxim’s goodhearted charm and fortitude. Maxim and Jaime’s courtship is endearing, and watching them navigate the giddiness and highs of love, as well as its quiet comfort during emotional hardship, is gratifying.
As for the narration, Joel Leslie is talented, and, as usual, it shines through in his delivery of emotion and nuance. That being said, while I usually enjoy his work, something about this performance just felt a bit off to me. Perhaps it’s one of those instances where the way in which the narrator interprets the MCs’ voices does not fit for the reader, especially as I read the book first. However, Solstice Prince is a lovely fairytale romance whose strong world-building, well-crafted story and cast of characters keeps its sweetness from being trite or cloying, and Leslie’s skillful performance makes for a charming listen.
You can buy The Solstice Prince here:
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