Kiss of the Goblin Prince by Shona Husk is a story about second chances. And third chances. And twentieth chances. On the one hand, it’s about realizing that we only have a short time at this life, and that we have to make the most of it. And at the very same time, it’s a story about that classic conundrum that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. Literally, life after life, whether the person remembers those other lives or not. The soul remembers.
Amanda watches her sister-in-law marry a man that she barely knows, and wonders how Eliza could turn her life around so fast. Not that Roan isn’t a major improvement over the now-residing-in-jail Steve. But Eliza and Roan haven’t even known each other long enough to file the 30 days paperwork to make this wedding legal.
Amanda is a widow with a young daughter, a daughter with a fatal disease. A daughter whose father died before she was born. She was a wife for a year, and has been a widow for seven. She’s poured all her energy into taking care of her daughter, Brigit. Watching as severe asthma steals more and more of Brigit’s lungs every time she has an attack.
But in that church, watching Eliza marry Roan, she finds herself watching Roan’s brother, Dai. And feeling things she hasn’t felt in years. And isn’t any too comfortable with.
Dai is no more sure of himself than Amanda. Roan and Dai spent almost 2,000 years under a curse. They were goblins. Slowly, slowly losing their souls to the lust for gold, cursed by a Druid priest during the Roman occupation of Wales for leading a failed rebellion.
Eliza’s love for Roan cured the curse. Roan was the King, and curing him, cured Dai as well. But they were the only ones left in their band of warriors to survive the ages. And Dai, well sometimes, he’s not so sure he came all the way back. In nightmares, he’s still in the Shadowlands, still a goblin.
What he feels for Amanda, he’s afraid to pursue. He spent those centuries researching their curse, researching magic. He’s bargained away parts of his soul, many times over. Those vows still bind him. And in the human lands, he discovers that he can practice real magic. Magic that has not been seen since the Druids that cursed them died out.
With his newfound magic he learns much that surprises him about the modern world. He can see connections between people. He can see disease, even though he doesn’t know how to cure it. He can actually see the growing attraction that runs between himself and Amanda.
And he can see the reason why he, Amanda and her daughter Brigit were brought together. In a previous life, Brigit was his sister. He couldn’t save her then, but now, he feels that he must try, no matter what it costs him.
Even if he has to tell Amanda the truth, and he loses her. The only woman he has ever loved.
Escape Rating A: This story was complex, and it really drew me in. It kept going deeper and deeper as it went. On the surface it seemed straightforward enough. Eliza and Roan get married (after The Goblin King) and now it’s Dai’s turn.
But not simple at all. Dai is much more tortured, not just by the past, but by everything he studied. All those magic rituals and vows, one on top of another. He’s been a scholar for centuries! All those secrets, and no one to ever tell. Starting with the biggest secret of all.
Amanda has been hurting too. She feels like she can never do enough for her daughter, and she’s fighting a battle she can’t win. Eventually she’s going to be left alone. But all her energies are focused on taking care of Brigit.
Putting these two tormented people together made for one amazing story.
For more of my thoughts on this book, take a look at Book Lovers Inc.