In The Ring & The Crown by Melissa De La Cruz, we are introduced to Princess Marie-Victoria, heir to the crown of the mightiest empire in the world. She is gentle and quiet, and not very interested in the politics and ambitions of her mother. For her mother, Queen Eleanor, magic protects her fortress and keeps them all safe. With magic in such short supply, she holds the only source and it is faithful to the crown.
Aelwyn Myrddyn has returned from her exile from the court. She is the strong and brazen daughter of Merlin. She grew up with the princess, and they are fast friends. As the London Season begins, the families of the rich and famous make their way to find succor with the royals and other families of the times.
The princess is hopelessly in love, yet she must shirk her love and enter into a loveless union in order to strengthen the position of the crown. Unable to face such a dark future, she seeks the assistance of her friend Aelwyn. Both yearn to be what they are not, and after many pranks using magic glamor as they were growing up to pretend they were the other, Marie is ready to step down and trade places for good, allowing the strong and determined Aelwyn to step into her shoes.
Yet even as the worries of the crown fade away, there is danger. There is a nefarious scheme to take the crown, and only Marie can save the family. But can she? Her life has always been that of love and peace. The man she loves is waiting for her, and she is sure Aelwyn has everything under control. She must go back to be sure.
De La Cruz has an amazing grasp of characters and you alternately love and hate them. She has taken a time of legends and done a unique spin and blend of fiction, twisting them into a riveting story of courage and love. There are many kinds of both, and the experience is rich with emotion. The mystery that surrounds the Crown and the magic is intriguing. You find yourself strongly rooting for both the Princess and Aelwyn.
De La Cruz also introduces a young American socialite as well as a spurned love of the soon-to-be husband to keep the palace buzzing. . Matters seem to careen in directions much like the spokes of a wheel. Who will end up on top, and will the Crown and family maintain their rule and the might of their empire?
If you enjoy legends and magic sprinkled with mystery, adventure and romance you will find this to be the book of the season. This would be a great summer read and a wonderful addition to your library. This is a story that fairytales are made of.[amazon template=iframe image&asin=B00HEVTPHC]