Release Date: November 2013
Author Site: http://ajnuest.com/
My Rating: 4/5
Source: Received for review from author/publisher
Cover: It’s nice, I like the colors.
The key would unlock his future and the safety of his kingdom, but he never imagined the sorceress would unlock his heart…
Antiques restorer, Rowena Lindstrom, finds herself the owner of an ancestral armoire containing a hidden key and a magic mirror leading to another realm!
But the handsome warrior prince waiting on the other side is truly the final straw. This must be an elaborate joke, right? As she struggles to discover the truth, Rowena learns Prince Caedmon Austiere needs the key to save his kingdom. In the end, she cannot deny him anything. Including her heart.
Rowena’s Key is a great start to a series that I think a lot of people will enjoy. I honestly wasn’t expecting to like this one as much as I did. I’m glad I decided to give it a go when the author asked me to review it. I liked the heartfelt but subtle romance, the fantasy and magical elements, and the modern and believable characters. Everything flowed nicely into a quick and satisfying read.
We meet Rowena shortly after she impulsively buys a rather old and beat up armoire from overseas. As both a business owner and antiques restorer, she probably should have held on to the expensive shipping fees and thought a little bit more about what she was purchasing. Beginning to suffer from buyer’s remorse she sees firsthand how much wear and tear the piece has endured over the years. What makes matters worse, besides the obvious smoke and water damage, is the fact that the doors won’t even open! But life quickly changes for Rowena after she discovers a beautiful chain with a key and entire other world inside the armoire.
Kind of makes you think of Narnia, doesn’t it? The idea of alternate realms, especially inside furniture!, is always fun in my opinion. I liked the fact that Rowena didn’t automatically accept that what she was seeing was real. Of course, what she thought was a little far-fetched as well…thinking her best friend Ollie had somehow set up some masterful play-acting through the mirror of the armoire…yeah, makes much more sense. The interaction between Prince Caedmon and Rowena was one of my favorite aspects of the story. Even though they were in different time periods, spoke and acted differently, the attraction between them was genuinely felt.
I’m getting a little burned out from the meet-and-greet insta-love thing. I used to be a firm believer in the idea of ‘love at first sight’! But I suppose after reading so much about it, I started rolling my eyes more than sighing dreamily when the heroine/hero swooned seconds/minutes/days after meeting their perspective soul mate... I do believe in insta-attraction though. This I have experienced, even though I haven’t acted on it…I’ll work on that though (maybe). Rowena and Caedmon have an attraction between them despite the odds set against them. I like that the two shared intimate details about each other before even thinking of the future or the ‘L’ word. It was a nice change and made the story and romance more satisfying.
While it was a bit short for my taste I still felt pretty content with the plot, characters, pacing, and ending. I of course wanted more, but I have a good feeling that the things I was looking for in this first book will head my way with the next installments. And while the ending was a semi-cliffie, I could totally deal. It left me wanting more without feeling cheated or like I’m going to die waiting. I’m looking forward to seeing the story and the author’s writing grow in the upcoming books.