NOTE: This review contains spoilers from the first book, The Mark of the Tala. Please be aware that a major event uncovered at the end of the first book is crucial to the entire plot of The Tears of the Rose, and therefore, is discussed in this review.
Picking up almost immediately after the dramatic conclusion of the first book in the Twelve Kingdoms series, The Tears of the Rose opens with Princess Ursula accompanying the body of her deceased brother-in-law, Prince Hugh, back to his home and pregnant wife, Amelia. As expected, Amelia is distraught and conflicted over the fact that her sister killed her one true love. The entire book is told from Amelia’s point-of-view and chronicles her journey from the youngest, most beautiful daughter of High King Uorsin, to a powerful woman and heir to the throne of Avonlidgh.
Right from the start, I knew this was going to be a tough sell… As a romance, I expect a story that shares a tale of love, ending in some sort of Happily-Ever-After/For Now. I wondered how the author could pull that off, knowing the primary heroine’s husband and father of her unborn child just died?! Yet, Ms. Kennedy pens a story that not only gives readers their HEA/FN, but does so in a manner that is perfect and just for a grieving widow. The coupling between Amelia and Ash is loving, genuine, and sexy. Kudos, Ms. Kennedy!
With all that is happening to Amelia, sometimes it’s hard to remember she is only 17. I am utterly blown away by the author's portrayal of a very young and immature Amelia. She's very self-centered and has never had to think of anyone but herself. But her transformation is rewarding and fulfilling. As Amelia comes out of her grief over losing Hugh, she clearly sees herself as the puppet on strings, and when she tries to take control, each time she lashes out and hurts others. She grows cruel because of her own desires to break away and have something meaningful of her own. She's so young and trying to figure it all out. Each time this happens, she seems to grow up a little bit. It’s her story that makes The Tears of the Rose such a special tale.
While The Tears of the Rose is all about Ami’s journey, the story also continues the overarching tale of the Twelve Kingdoms: both its civil strife, as well as the confrontation with the Tala. The story uncovers more of the High King’s unforgivable actions in the name of bringing peace to the land, as well as the cost to all of the other kingdoms and its citizens. And Uorsin isn’t the only evil man looking for power. Poor Amelia is used by her father, father-in-law, and others who wish to weld power and influence. As much as I love the romantic tale, the unfolding tales of the Twelve Kingdoms is a worthy story in its own right.
The Tears of the Rose is a wonderful addition to the Twelve Kingdom series, the perfect second tale in this fascinating story - one that needs to be read, starting with the first book, The Mark of the Tala.
My Rating: A- Enjoyed a lot