The Scarecrow King by Jill Myles
Category: Adult (though appropriate for children, like the famous fairytales)
Summary: In the country of Balinore where everyone can perform some sort of magic, Princess Rinda is the common brown-haired, minor magical daughter of the woman from the Rumplestiltskin story who could spin straw into gold. After the death of her mother during childbirth, her father snubs her at every chance he gets in favor of her beautiful blonde haired sister who can call water from the ground with her own magic. Princess Rinda has grown up stubborn, difficult, and determined to teach her father a lesson, regardless that it has cost his kingdom far too much money. Her father suddenly hits on the idea of marrying her off. He holds a lavish ball to introduce Rinda to all the available suitors, but she loudly points out the faults of each and every person introduced to her, including the king of neighboring Lioncourt who has shown up straight after traveling a week to get to Balinore, still dusty and grimy from their trip and without bothering to trim their beards in any way. Rinda’s father decrees that he will force her to marry the next person to arrive at the palace, no matter what their rank. Rinda is awoken in the dead of the night and presented to a newly arrived poor minstrel. And so Rinda is forced to cope with her new status without any money, and being banned from the castle, and the long trip to her new husband’s homeland in Lioncourt. She concocts the idea of throwing herself on the mercy of the king of Lioncourt, though the long trip turns into an adventure and she finds herself finding a friend in her new traveling companion.
Comments: The Scarecrow King is a beautiful, romantic, sweet fairytale. And in the spirit of the famous fairytales, it’s clean, which I do appreciate when everyone seems to be writing erotic spins on the fairytales lately. It reminded me of various other fairytales and stories, the spoiled princess that Rinda was in the beginning reminded me of the princess in The Frog Prince, even the trek through the cave reminded me of several scenes in The Lord of the Rings. I loved Rinda’s attitude, which did grow and change over the course of the story. And Alek, her new husband, was such a sunny, warm, good-natured trooper no matter how difficult and stubborn and scared Rinda was (though I did wish we could see things from his perspective from time to time, though I don’t know if that would have ruined all of his secrets even though the audience could guess who he was straight from the beginning). And the adventure was excessive fun! I loved their slowly building romance and truly felt for both Alek and Rinda during the course of the adventure. And I really did love the ending! This is definitely going to remain one of my favorites!