Title: Rowena's Key
Author: AJ Nuest
Series: The Golden Key Chronicles 01
Read Type: ARC for HarperImpulse
You can purchase a copy of this instalment of the series from Amazon UK and Amazon US
Alternatively you can purchase the entire Golden Key Chronicles on Amazon UK and Amazon US
You can find out more about the author on her Website, Blog, Facebook, Author Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest
Book BlurbThe key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…
Antiques restorer, Rowena Lindstrom, finds herself the owner of an ancestral armoire containing a hidden key and a magic mirror leading to another realm!
But the handsome warrior prince waiting on the other side is truly the final straw. This must be an elaborate joke, right? As she struggles to discover the truth, Rowena learns Prince Caedmon Austiere needs the key to save his kingdom. In the end, she cannot deny him anything. Including her heart.
Author BioI am a multi-published, award-winning author who lives in the middle of a cornfield in NW Indiana. My loving husband, two beautiful children and a bevy of spoiled pets have agreed to stay and, in exchange for three rations per day and laundry service, tolerate my lunacy.
While I spend most days happily ensconced in crafting romance across a multitude of genres, an underground coup has been percolating. The dogs just informed me the cat is secretly vying for dictatorship.
I received a copy of The Golden Key Chronicles from the author in return for an unbiased review. At the author's request I will read and review each novella separately, followed by an overview.
Strong language: Yes
Violence: Yes, Graphic
Sexual content: Yes, Graphic
Rowena, a wealthy antiques dealer, buys an ancestor's armoire, and soon finds an ancient key with her initials on hidden within. But that's not all she find by far, for soon she has a magic mirror with a dashing prince on her hands!
I loved the characters portrayed in this novella. Rowena was feisty and held her own, unwilling to fall for the fantasy of a magic mirror into a different time. This gave her prince, Caedmon, on the other side quite something to wrap his head around, as he fell boundlessly in love with her, yet could not trust, or fully understand her. The other men we met via the mirror, often only briefly, beefed up that world and showed what depths awaited, with different characters, and archaic speech, they showed the kind of world Caedmon inhabited. But, of course, back on our side I cant leave out Ollie, the quirky best friend we all wish we had. He overflowed with colour and wit, making me laugh. He also had a much deeper side, acting like a big brother to Rowena, caring for her and ready to protect her should anyone try to harm her.
Rowena learns from Caedmon of a prophesy talking of a sorceress with a golden key that can save his kingdom – the key she possesses. She refuses to believe him, to allow herself to be fooled, thinking it a high tech trick, yet she is still drawn back to that mirror the next night, anxious to see what will happen. I felt I would have liked more information on the prophesy earlier, but the mystery, along with the hot guy, draw Rowena back and test her resolve. I had no problem being drawn back with her!
During the day, in between the initial meetings with Caedmon and his men, Rowena spends time at her antiques shop, trying to bring some rationality back into her life. Getting they key tested and generally burying herself in her work. This was the one part of the story I didn't engage with however. While elsewhere the writing often glistened and flowed across the page, here it felt dull and flat, much like Rowena's emotions while she was away from the mirror. I feel this part was necessary as a way to ground her, and bring Ollie into the story, but I would have liked the writing to stay more consistent.
She could never stray from the mirror for long however, no matter how many times she told herself it was a practical joke. This is where the fantasy and romance really combined to produce something special, and where I think all readers will want to be. As Rowena quizzes Prince Caedmon, both of their lives are brought into better light, their histories shared with each other. Caedmon had an adorable and sexy way to talk, with some catchphrases that had me cracking up. His awful attempts at wooing Rowena with the arts has much the same results. It is steamy and sexy, with a sweet, loving underside.
The ending completely took me by surprise, I was shocked at what happened. Looking forward to reading the next instalment.
Overall this was a fun, sexy read, with plenty of fantasy, magic and mystery into the bargain. The characters were fun and well written. In most places the writing was alive.
I would have liked more explanation earlier in the story, and a little adverb cutting in a couple of scenes, but this was a fun escape from the world for a while.
I give this novella 4 stars and look forward to continuing The Golden Key Chronicles