Rating: 4.25 stars
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Prince Mateo is the youngest of twelve children and the only son. He had a wonderful childhood with loving parents and a dear nurse. However, after his mother’s death, Mateo’s father was so saddened by the loss that he couldn’t bear to let his children stray far, stifling their freedom even as they became of age to marry.
Now his father is angry that despite the fact the princesses are limited in their travels outside the castle and that they are closed off in their room every night, by morning their new shoes are worn through. The king is furious that clearly his daughters are sneaking around, yet they refuse to tell him where they are going or how they get there. In his anger at being disobeyed, the king promises that anyone who can figure out where the princesses are going each night will win riches and the choice of any child’s hand in marriage, including Mateo’s.
Mateo has no interest in marrying. After seeing his father’s grief at his mother’s death, he is unwilling to marry for love and risk subsequent loss. And after being looked at as a commodity for his lineage, he finds marrying for anything less than love too distasteful. But with a unappealing suitor determined to solve the mystery and win Mateo’s hand, Mateo decides he had better figure out the secret himself and win the right to make his own choice in marriage.
Mateo is surprised to be aided on his quest by his old nurse. She has long told him stories of the fairy lands, and his connection to it. But Mateo thought them just stories, and is shocked when she gives him a magic cloak that renders him invisible so that he can follow his sisters at night. And he is even more shocked when, after sneaking into their room, he finds a portal opening to a magical fairy realm.
Once in the fairy land, Mateo meets eleven fairy prince and princesses who each have won the love of one of his eleven sisters. Mateo also meets Opalo, the youngest prince, who claims that he is Mateo’s true match, his fairy destiny. While Mateo finds himself incredibly attracted to Opalo and amazed by the wonders of the fairy world, he is unwilling to commit his heart as fast as his sisters. Opalo has fallen for Mateo immediately, his fairy heart recognizing Mateo as his true match, but Mateo is much more hesitant. Although he loves the fairy world, enjoys being with Opalo tremendously, and certainly loves their sexual connection, he is wary of risking his heart and committing to more. But as his father’s health continues to fail, Mateo must make some big decisions. Should he reveal to his father what his sisters have been up to, and possibly risk his father stopping their trips to see their true loves? And more importantly, is he willing to open up his heart for a chance to be with Opalo, despite his past certainty that he would never fall in love?
Love’s Nest is the third book in Blake and Andrew’s Tempting Tales series and I continue to love the authors’ unique twist on old fairy tales. Here they have created a rich and well developed world, both that of Mateo’s kingdom, as well as the magical fairy world. In the fairy land the authors really excel, with wonderful descriptions and rich detail, especially about the fascinating fairies. I loved how they are so closely linked with birds, and they each have rich and colorful plummage and think of the birds as their cousins. It is such a creative take on the traditional fairy lore and I found it all fascinating and incredibly well done.
I also really enjoyed the story and the slow build of romance between Mateo and Opalo. I appreciated that despite knowing that Mateo is meant for him, Opalo refuses to use magic or other fairy thrall to convince Mateo to be with him. He is determined to win Mateo’s heart, even as his own suffers while waiting for Mateo to find his way to him. It was a nice twist on the fated mates concept and I liked that we see that even though these guys are working at a different pace, they can still ultimately find their way together. I do wish that more of the falling in love itself was shown on page, as most of it happens during a time jump in the story. I think that would have been more rewarding when we ultimately see them in love together. But I did enjoy the development of their relationship.
I am unfamiliar on the story upon which this was based, though I assume it is of Spanish origins based on the character names and some occasional Spanish words. I wish the authors had given us the name of the original story, just because it would have been neat to be able to compare and follow along. That was one of the things I especially enjoyed about Andrews and Blake’s excellent take on Jack and the Beanstalk in Ascending Hearts. But I had no problem following along with the story and thought it was a perfect choice, with lots of magic and such an exciting fairy world.
So I really enjoyed this one and continue to really like this series. I would definitely recommend Love’s Nest, especially for folks looking for a new spin on the fairy tale and an excellent take on the fairy world.
Cover Review: I liked this one and find the colors particularly eye catching, but I wish it was more true to Opalo. He is so distinctive with his pink lips and pink feathers on his head, and while this evokes the sense of him, it could have been so striking if he was depicted more as described. But overall nicely done.