She isn’t a beautiful young maiden hoping to erase the Commander’s memory.
Opal Whilstead knows she has a reputation: a reputation as a bright, giving, upright woman—smiling and laughing her way through hopeless spinsterhood. It’s been so long since she’s had serious feelings for a man, but now she finds herself taken with the Commander Exemplar of Diachona’s army.
And she regrets it.
Not only is the Exemplar a widower still longing for his wife, but he’s the father of the reigning king. Even if a man of such prestige could find love again, he’d be unlikely to search for it among the kingdom’s old maids. Besides, Opal dreads being found, due to a grievous secret she carries…
I received a copy of this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
Picture the most cliché fantasy heroine. Unnaturally beautiful, young, innocent, slightly naïve, and abnormally prone to forcing second-hand embarrassment on readers. Now, (if you’re like me) insert an eye roll. Then change the picture to someone who is still beautiful, but has a few wrinkles around her eyes and lines around her mouth from years of smiling, with a touch of gray in her hair. She’s not a teenager, she’s not quite as innocent as she first appears, and while she is kind to everyone, she is not naïve. But best of all, she doesn’t give readers second-hand embarrassment. And there you have Opal Whilstead.
Honestly Opal was my absolute favorite part of this book. As I’ve already mentioned, she defied so many stereotypes for this genre of heroine, and she did so quite well. It was refreshing to have this new perspective, and definitely added a lot to the story. The best part about this, though, is that she didn’t sit aside and wait for marriage. She served her family, volunteered at the orphanage, participated in community events, and overall had a very full life. Opal is a phenomenal role model of sorts — one that I would love to be more like.
Continuing on my Opal rant (and revealing the communication major in me), I was so impressed with her interpersonal communication skills. She meaningfully engaged with everyone from toddlers to royalty to military rejects. Even with Staid she kept her graceful communication style and effectively avoided making me cringe from any awkward interactions.
Moving on, Staid was great, Joshua was adorable, and the story was engaging. I really only have two complaints — first, it was too short. I say that about every book that I enjoy and is under four hundred pages, so it may or may not be a valid comment? The second complaint is just that there were a few sections where the dialogue got a bit confusing and I wasn’t quite sure what the speaker was saying. But this only happened two or three times, so it’s not a huge deal. Overall it was a very enjoyable read!