Zuri Davis, wedding planner extraordinaire, has a bit of a problem. The last wedding she planned? Yeah. It didn’t go so well. Think cheating bridegrooms and burning wedding dresses. Worse, the bridegroom was cheating on his fiancée with her. She should have known something was off when the groom skipped all of the pre-wedding planning sessions. Now with her reputation in shreds, she’s trying to get her mojo back in the town of Ever After, Missouri and Fairy Godmothers, Inc. The town is magical. Perfect for fairy tale weddings. Too bad Zuri doesn’t believe in Happily Ever After.
Philip Charming, prince-turned-Bed and Breakfast owner, has a bit of a problem. By day, he’s a frog. A fly-chomping, wart-having literal frog. Only the kiss from his one True Love (note the capitalization there) will lift the curse. A curse he well and truly earned some three hundred years ago. But he’s changed. Made amends. But he’s still never managed to find his one true person. At least, not until Zuri.
Philip is convinced Zuri is the one for him. Zuri is convinced that all men are frogs. Which one is right?
This is an adorable magical modern-day fairy tale retelling of the Princess and the Frog between a woman with a broken heart and a man under a curse. It’s a story about healing and discovery. And it’s a lot of fun.
A good portion of the fun is due to the town and the side characters. The town of Ever After is like someone shook up a volume of Grimm’s fairy tales and shook it out into the mountains of Missouri. The Seven Dwarfs run a bar, there’s a bridal boutique called Cinderella and Fella that makes real glass slippers, and of course there are three Fairy Godmothers. I personally loved the Evil Queen, Ravenna, and the Beast, Hunter, the most. They were so fun and such great characters.
Zuri was an interesting heroine. Kind, smart, funny. She’s coded as Black (references to Hot combs, hair curling/frizzing when wet, other little things) but it isn’t explicitly stated. which I wish it was, but at the same time I did like the little touches. She’s a professional who knows her business and is good at organizing. I also liked how she stood up for herself and for her own happiness. She was a good egg.
Philip… oh Philip… He’s the Prince Charming that every woman deserves. At least now that he’s gotten over himself – look, the curse helped, okay? – and is trying to be a better man. He’s still got failings and foibles, but that doesn’t make him any less charming (see what I did there?). This guy constantly kept subverting my expectations but in the best possible ways. He’s like the Anti-toxic masculinity. I loved him lotsly. And I loved his character arc. Seriously, I loved it so much.
I even found Alec, who is arguably the main human antagonist, to be a good character. In so many other romance novels, he’d be the hero. Seriously. He does all of the typical romance novel hero things - the grovel, a grand romantic gesture, even his infidelity isn’t a deal breaker (Points at the literal ton of romances with Rakes, Playboys, and Rogues). Here, Alex wasn’t the hero. And the things he did that would be romantic in other novels were shown to be toxic and manipulative. Frankly, it was super refreshing and eye opening. I want to delve super deeply into all of the tropes that he hit, but they would be super spoilery. But let’s just say I loved where his story arc went too. It’s honestly so refreshing. But I suspect that, like The Rakess, that some readers aren’t going to get this meta aspect to the story. But for me, this subversiveness really elevated the book in my opinion.
The book is definitely steamy and sexy and is unafraid of using adult language. For me, I loved that. Some readers, may not. The consent was absolutely stellar. Loved it. It was sexy but explicit and it shows that writing consent in romance isn’t impossible.
The book isn’t perfect though. The beginning is a little clunky and there’s too much time spent on giving us updates about the characters from the previous book. Characters who don’t actually show up in this book. Additionally, the sex scenes themselves were not as good as the actual consent. They sort of skimmed a line between open and closed door, literary and explicit. Not my favorite thing about the book.
Ultimately the book was fun and funny… a true romantic comedy. I found myself laughing in several places. There were so many good lines. My Ebook was highlighted all over the place.
Frankly I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to read Ravenna’s story and Hunter & Zeva’s as well.
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley