The River Prince, Realms of Love #2 by Sheena Jolie

The River Prince is another entry into the Realms of Love series where fantasy romances come true. When a young prince has known nothing but abuse and courageous soldier risks everything to save him. Can the possibility of war dissuade a newly found love of a lifetime?

From the blurb:

From bestselling author SJ Himes writing as Sheena Jolie comes the long-awaited new book in the Realms of Love Series!

The countries of Eistrea and Hellebore were once one land, torn asunder by a brutal war. A thousand years later, the Hellebore Empire and the Kingdom of Eistrea foster peace along the shared borders of the massive river Adracias, united by faith in a mysterious river god and an ancient treaty signed in blood and magic.

Prince Elia of Eistrea is the youngest of four and is hated by siblings and royal parent alike. Outcast for being different in more ways than one, Elia suffers through abuse and scorn without much hope for a better life. Gifted with magic that leaves him hated by his father, Elia is waiting for the day he's tossed aside like trash and left to die, or married off to a cold-hearted stranger after political power.

The festival of Adracias approaches, and the Hellebore Empire has sent their ambassador to Eistrea, guarded by a squadron of the infamous Hellions, the best warriors in Hellebore. One of their numbers is Sir Merrick, a kind, gentle warrior who notices Elia and treats him as if he were precious. Despite knowing better, Elia falls in love with the Hellion guard. Elia dreams of a day he can call a man like Sir Merrick his love, and yearns for the impossible.

Yet Sir Merrick has a secret, one even bigger than the magic abilities Elia keeps hidden from the realm under the threat of violence. When Elia learns the truth hidden in plain sight, the potential for war on a scale never seen before erupts between the two lands. Tensions rise and swords are drawn, and then Elia is offered a chance to both achieve his heart's most secret desire and preserve a thousand-year-old peace.

The River Prince is a standalone fantasy romance set in the same world as The Solstice Prince, in neighboring countries. There is an interconnected plot in the series that becomes relevant in later books. Both books can be read as standalone stories without any issue. CW for domestic abuse and bigotry. The final word count to come.

SNik's Review:

Second in series (Realms of Love), but can be read as a standalone. Fantasy. Hurt/comfort. Slow burn. Slight age gap. 

Prince Elia is the abused and hated youngest son in the kingdom of Eistrea, having been born with magic he has been ignored and beaten all of his life, struggling to survive with his untrained magic. When the handsome soldier Sir Merrick from the neighboring country of Hellebore shows Elia kindness, both men are smitten but Merrick is hiding his true identity and cannot risk Elia’s safety. 

There are many political machinations and intrigue alongside Merrick’s increasing need to save Elia from his family and Elia’s own desire to be cherished and experience happiness. 

There is nothing more swoony than finding love and being rescued to live a better life, and Elia finally gets to experience being protected and feeling worthy and Merrick is committed to keeping the man he has grown to love close and secure. Merrick is capable and protective of Elia who is innocent and sweet. 

The River Prince is an adventure with likable main characters, supportive secondary characters, and a fairy-tale like romance.

Rating: 4.5 Stars

The River Prince is available to buy as an ebook or to read with Kindle Unlimited subscription.