Book Review: Once Upon A [Hidden] Time by Samreen Ahsan

About the Book:

This is book 4 of [STOLEN] SERIES
2015…
All her life, Myra Farrow has been obsessed with medieval castle-and the kings and princes who once inhabited them. When Steve Bernard, a wealthy videogame designer offers her to model for a princess character in his new game, Myra can’t resist his offer to enter the mysterious, colorless, and cursed Hue Castle. But unknown to Myra, her soul is bound to it by blood and sorcery. When she enters the castle’s doors, she awakens dark powers, time travelling through a cursed mirror, torturing her present, and rewriting her future, leaving Steve Bernard with millions of questions.

1415…
Edward Hue, the last of the Hue royal bloodline, has never stood in the sunshine, nor felt the rain, 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 King Stefan, 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 walks into his life through a cursed mirror, out of his dreams, and introduces him: love.

Will Myra break Edward’s curse and bring him out of the darkness, or destroy him utterly? Will Steve ever be able to finish his game without Myra? Past and future collide in a tale of love, obsession, betrayal, and the hope for redemption.

My Thoughts:

I have been a fan of Samreen Ahsan’s writing and this series since the beginning. There is something magical about the setting and the story that draws the reader in. This series is a modern day retelling of the Beauty and the Beast. The story jumps between two times, one set in 1415 and the other in modern day 2015. I absolutely love how Samreen has chosen to name each book in the series giving us a hint of what is to come. There is so much meaning behind each title which becomes clear as you read the book.

This book is the fourth in the series picking up where the third book ends. In this book we follow Myra as she navigates the court and her life with Edward. She has brought some light into his life and some parts of the curse seems to be broken. On the other hand we follow her as she deals with the king and his attentions. In parallel to this, we follow Steve as he finds a way to explain Myra’s disappearance and his budding relationship with childhood friend who is also a police officer and involved in the investigation into Myra’s disappearance.

At some parts, it feels as though this book is just building on the existing feelings and settings. The rebuilding of the relationship between Edward and his niece is beautiful to read about. Myra is like a breath of fresh air and brings joy to everyone she is around. She is also a strong independent woman whose opinions stand out and thus she has to be careful in front of whom she expresses this. In a time when women are meant to be quiet, seen and not heard and definitely not stand up for themselves, she is unique and out of place. As she reads more about the Hue dynasty and the past, it’s origins, she is worried that history might repeat itself thus setting her and Edward apart.

What remains to be seen is whether Edward will stand up for what he wants and believes in. Will he stand up for love? Will the king force Myra to marry him? With so many questions arising from the ending where the author threw us a curve ball, I am looking forward to the next book which will conclude the story and the series! This is a wonderful read and I recommend it for fans of romance, retellings, time travel and fantasy fiction.

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