Love blossoms unexpectedly between a prince from a magical seafaring kingdom and an outsider princess who is last on his matchmaking list.
Prince Dilys Merimydion of the Calbernan Isles longs for the day he can settle down and get married. As son of the Isles’ queen, he’s destined to carry on his family’s powerful bloodline and secure a royal bride from the kingdom of Summerlea. With three princesses to choose from, Dilys knows he's supposed to make a beneficial match with one of the two more powerful princesses. The only match that would be frowned upon would be a union with the middle princess, Gabriella Coruscate, also known as Summer, whose mystical talents are weak at best. But though her skills as a weathermage haven’t manifested as strongly as her sisters’, Summer is known throughout her kingdom for being kind and gentle. When the eligible men of the Calbernan Isles sail up to Summerlea to find wives for themselves, she knows a betrothal to a prince isn’t in her future—but then she sees Dilys. Enter a murderous band of pirates terrorizing the Calbernan sea trade lines, led by a mysterious figure known only as the Shark, and this fantasy romance goes from sweet to adventurous in a heartbeat. While the book gets off to a slow start, with page after page of infodumps, things settle into a charming rhythm once Dilys leaves his island in search of a woman fit to be his eventual queen. Wilson’s (The Winter King, 2014, etc.) careful crafting of the various fantasy kingdoms makes them come vividly to life, especially Calbernan’s mighty matriarchal society, in which men have to earn the right to marry by serving years as sea mercenaries and protecting the kingdom. Summer shines as an underestimated heroine with plenty of untapped talents, and Dilys' earnestness in wanting to start a family is a surprisingly adorable trait in a romance hero.
This fantastical romance provides an expert mix of magic, love, and adventure.