The Kiss of Deception, by Mary E. Pearson

ImageToday is Lia’s wedding day, and she has no intention of attending. Princess Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia and her lady-in-waiting, Pauline, manage to slip away just before she is forced to wed an unseen prince. They gallop away to a coastal town, shedding the bridal costume as they go. Once they arrive in Pauline’s home town, both young women begin working as barmaids under the watchful eye of Berdi, the owner. Lia works hard and tries to learn the flirty ways of the other barmaids, particularly after two handsome strangers show up.  The princess has begun to relax and believe that her disguise has been successful, but she does not know that one of these men is her jilted prince and the other is an assassin sent to kill her.

The first half of this novel is very nice. It’s just the kind of story that I enjoy most: a historical romance with a whiff of intrigue and a dash of the supernatural. The author shows tremendous talent by skillfully writing in a genre so different from her excellent sci-fi series that opens with The Adoration of Jenna Fox! Mary Pearson tells the tale mostly from Lia’s viewpoint, with an occasional chapter from one of the two men. Just past the halfway point, though, Pearson smacks the reader right between the eyes with a terrific twist, and what was a good book becomes an exceptional novel. The writing becomes more intense, and the story takes on more emotional complexity. I cannot tell you a single thing about it without giving away too much, but I will say that I was so sorry to reach the end of this 500-page novel, and the cliffhanger ending left me so happy that this is only the first book of the “Morrighan Chronicles.”

Very highly recommended. The Kiss of Deception will be released in July, so plan accordingly!

Disclaimer: I read an advance reader copy of this book. Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.

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