Charmed Memories is the second in the Princess of Valendria series by Mary Waibel and follows the adventures of Prince Trevor, brother of the first book’s heroine. His fiancé Princess Elsbeth was lost at sea and presumed dead four years ago. Since then Trevor has refused to believe she is lost and feels honor bound to continue to search for her. In following every possible lead, he invokes the assistance of Woodland Guide Bri on his journey to find another clue to his fiance’s possible whereabouts. Bri and Trevor struggle with their deepening feelings for each other even as their search takes them to Elsbeth’s native country. Along the way, Trevor discovers Bri is the victim of amnesia. The closer they come to finding Elsbeth, the more their love for each other seems doomed. Trevor suspects Bri might be the princess he searches for, while Bri never realized how difficult helping Trevor would prove, nor how deadly.
This is the kind of book to curl up with late at night, romance and suspense intertwined with a fairy tale. Trevor is a conflicted hero, clumsy and somewhat clueless about Bri’s feelings for him, but devoted to his promise to the missing Elsbeth. Bri is a strong heroine who helps the prince because she loves him, but struggles with her fears at what the search might reveal to her about herself. The tension mounts throughout the story as it appears Bri may actually be the princess, or a girl promised to a different prince. The plot twists keep coming until the mystery is solved. For those who like me haven't read the first book, this book stands well on its own (though I plan to go back and read book one!).
The story is so fresh the fairy tale being retold is only hinted at until close to the end, but the mystery becomes more and more compelling. Some might consider this tale to be too divergent from the original version, but I think it adds to the romantic tension and a satisfying plot. The hero and heroine are well developed, with neither one being overly dominant and both having realistic flaws while proving themselves worthy of each other. If you like fairy tales and romance, this is the book for you!
In the interest of full disclosure I received a complimentary ARC of Mary Waibel’s Charmed Memories in exchange for an honest review.