Author: Alexis Duran
Publisher: Loose Id
Rating: 4 stars
Received from Publisher
Blurb: Born the useless fourth son of the Lord of Glimmerveen, Wryler dreams of getting married and escaping the rustic confines of his father’s castle. A wealthy merchant’s son seems to hold the key to Wryler’s safe if somewhat dreary future. However, the arrival of a mysterious stranger on the eve of Wryler’s betrothal sends his plans into disarray and Wryler finds himself traded off in marriage to one of the most notorious rogues in the land.
Is Lord Aeric Rouchet the scoundrel he appears to be, or is he something much worse? Separated from his family and thrust into a strange and dangerous new life at the foreboding Gryffon Hall, Wryler must unravel the secret of his husband’s shadowed life and defeat the curse which threatens not only his growing affection for the barbarian in his bed, but the lives of everyone the Lord of Gryffon Hall is sworn to protect.
Review: Wryler had plans for himself. He knew he’d be in an arranged marriage, but he figured he’d use that opportunity to be in a more metropolitan area, where he’d have access to libraries and he’d be able to delve into his scientific studies more thoroughly. Suddenly, the marriage the thought he’d be part of is no more and he’s betrothed to a barbarian whose castle is in a more remote area than his own home. The barbarian is sexy and all, but this whole isolated thing was not part of Wryler’s life plan. Thankfully, there is a large library at Gryffon Hall. Wryler also decides he really likes his new husband, Lord Aeric Rouchet. One thing Wryler does notice is Aeric isn’t showing him everything. And then Wryler happens to see more than he was supposed to. Aeric isn’t completely human. Wryler doesn’t exactly know who he can trust, but he knows who he can’t trust. Wryler wants to help his husband, however Wryler didn’t understand the depths other people would go to in an attempt to destroy and control Aeric. Wryler has to hope Aeric feels as intensely for him as he does for Aeric.
This story is a charming version of Beauty and the Beast with a small side of Rumpelstiltskin. This book was fun and fanciful, with a dashing and roguish hero for Wryler to fall in love with. I find the tropes in this book to be really fun when in fantasy stories. We have opposites attract, arranged marriage, and shades of insta-love. As is usual for the opposites attract trope, we find Wryler and Aeric are not as different as they seem at first blush. Despite knowing very little about his mother’s side of the family, Wryler has her to thank for his compatibility with his new husband, his father’s machinations and control over his life meant less than his mother’s blood.
I felt Wryler and Aeric’s rapid attraction to each other worked well here. Partly because Aeric is just an all around nice guy who simply wanted to have sex with a guy he found attractive. This wasn’t spun as an instant connection. It felt fast as opposed to fated. In a book of this length it worked well.
Gryffon Hall is a fun new take on old classic tales. It provides both nostalgia and an assured HEA in classic fairy tale style.