Embracing the Outcast by Nadine Keels (Crown Legacies; 2)

Book Blurb:

They can only experience beauty if they dare to behold it…

Now that Princess Eunice of Diachona has come of age, she has much more to study, and a new weight sits on her compassionate shoulders. Her late mother was an admirable ruler, but Eunice can hardly see herself thriving in the political arena. In fact, she doesn’t think many people see her at all, especially not would-be suitors who often bypass quiet Eunice to pursue ladies they find more attractive.

So when Eunice meets a serious, gifted artist who expresses his desire for her company, she isn’t sure if his interest in her is romantic or simply artistic. And why does this young man seem to be as saddened by Eunice as he is drawn to her?

I received a copy of this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

Review

A couple of months ago, I got the opportunity to review Reviving the Commander, the first book in Nadine’s Crown Legacy series. I loved it, and was so excited to see that she requested a review for the sequel, Embracing the Outcast.

To start off with, I love series that focus on different characters, while still giving you updates on the original characters. It was really interesting to see Opal interacting with Eunice and the rest of the royal family, and getting glimpses into her new life as a part of this family. It’s just a satisfying confirmation that the ‘happily ever after’ ending is still in tact.

Moving on to Eunice, she played a small role in Reviving the Commander, and she intrigued me in the little bit that I saw her. She defies a lot of stereotypes: her body shape is round (or as she describes it, “cuddly”), she does not like a lot of attention, and tends to be more reserved. But at the same time she has a huge heart, and genuinely cares about everyone, from her family to the villagers. This is one of my favorite things about Nadine’s writing style in both of her books — her characters are real. They aren’t the stereotypical beautiful, slender, confident, intelligent, and overall perfect women. They have gray hairs in Opal’s case, and a round face in Eunice’s. Nadine does a wonderful job removing some of the more common (and often toxic) beauty standards, and reinforces that beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and appearances.

This leads me to my absolute favorite part about this book. I can’t say much because it would be a massive spoiler, but suffice it to say that there is a huge plot twist at the end. I am not often surprised with these types of things, but I had to go back and re-read it to make sure I read it right. Nadine continues her theme of beauty in all shapes and sizes, but takes it even further to reinforce the value of all people regardless of what they can and cannot do.

Overall, I have no complaints other than echoing what I said about Reviving the Commander, which was simply that it was too short. Everything was clean, enjoyable to read, and contained an important message for readers to take away.

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