Once Upon A [Stolen] Time by Samreen Ahsan

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BLURB

2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castles—and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. Now, wealthy videogame designer Steve Bernard wants her to model for a princess character in his new game. Myra can’t resist his offer, especially when she learns that Steve plans to film inside the mysterious Hue Castle—a cursed, barren, colorless place forbidden to visitors for centuries. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to Hue Castle by blood and sorcery. When she enters its doors, she awakens dark powers that will reach through time—stealing her past, torturing her present, and rewriting her future.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine or held a living flower. Cursed from birth to live in darkness and bring death to all he touches, he is at the mercy of his cruel, tyrannical father, who will not rest until he shatters Edward’s soul and makes his son into a diabolical copy of himself. Edward’s one hope is the mysterious woman who haunts his dreams—who will either break his curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly.

For Myra and Edward, past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

MY REVIEW

ARC Provided By Author in Exchange for An Honest Review

Historical romances usually aren’t my thing. I overdosed on those Zebra ones in my late teens and early 20’s, and just never had the urge to go back to reading them. But when I was approached by the author of this book with an offer of a copy in exchange for a review, the blurb intrigued me enough to give it a go.

description“Once upon a time, in a distant land, there lived a beast that imprisoned his prey outside of time. He captured her, unraveled her, destroyed her and never let her go.”
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For the most part I really enjoyed this one. It took me a bit to get into and I honestly wasn’t sure I was going to continue it, but it soon hit it’s stride and I found myself sucked into the mystery.

It was not without its issues though. One being that the dialogue of the characters that takes place during the 1415 period sounded EXACTLY like the dialogue of the characters from 2015. At one point the hero Edwards says “What a dork” Now I am no historian, but I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that wasn’t a common phrase in 1415. He also decides at one point to “go for a run” Again not sure going for a run was something men in the 1415’s were doing.

There were also a couple issues with conversations that that made no sense. For example this conversation took place literally RIGHT after Julia told Myra to find out what hospital she was born in.. ““So Myra was born at West Hampstead Day Hospital then?” he asked. My father coughed this time. I didn’t know why Steve was asking such silly questions. Even if he thought I was planning to marry him, still, why would someone need to know where I was born.”Erhmmm…I believe we covered the “why” at the end of the previous chapter.

description“Time had split me into two. I didn’t know which world I belonged to.”
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There was also a SMALL issue with Steve. He was gay with a boyfriend (Tyler) of 7 years, then near the end of the book. Steve is suddenly, not so much gay…and where the hell did Tyler go??

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We jump back and forth between 2015 and 1415. Sometimes this can be jarring to the overall story, but worked well in this instance. The book had a fairytale like feel to it. Reminded me a bit like Beauty and The Beast, but darker. This also ends on a cliffhanger, so be prepared for that.

SO, how to rate this one. It did have a few issues that took away from my enjoyment. That said, I was sucked in and found myself turning the pages to see where this was all going. I also enjoyed it enough that I will continue on to see how things with Myra and Edward workout. A generous 3 stars from your truly…

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