Hereafter By Jody Hedlund
Prince Ethelrex has been sent to find the lost princess Emmaline, the last of the lost princess of Mercia at all costs. He has been sent to use her to find the legendary treasure of King Solomon at all costs. In doing so, he finally hopes to appease his father and prove his worthiness to ascend the throne. A stolen throne, but a throne none the less.
Only one little hiccup. He has also been instructed to marry Princess Emmaline at all costs.
And he might have, maybe, accidentally, kind of sort of fallen in love with her.
Hereafter has a creative premise. The prince is a villain, for heavens' sake! I can't remember the last book I read that had that as a plot point. Rex's internal struggle and surprising choices as he has to choose between his father and Emmaline was tense and gave so much to the plot.
We also get to see all the threads from the previous Lost Princesses novellas come to a climax. And this is one treasure hunt that has quite the unexpected ending.
As many of Jody Hedlund's young adult books do, Emmaline explores what it means to be truly strong and truly courageous . . . and how she can do that as she faces her nation's enemy frightened and alone.
All in all, Hereafter delivered all the series had me hoping for by the end without taking pat answers or endings.
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