Book Review: Forest of Dreams and Whispers by Katherine Macdonald

  • Title: Forest of Dreams and Whispers
  • Author: Katherine Macdonald
  • Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tale Retelling
  • Where to buy: Amazon (affiliate link)
  • Would I recommend: Without hesitation! If you like a reimagined fairy tale with clever banter and a sweet enemies-to-lovers romance, this is for you!

Synopsis:

A mortal raised in the land of Faerie, Juliana Ardencourt doesn’t remember the curse being cast.

But the rest of Faerie does.

On Prince Hawthorn’s eighteenth birthday, at the first drop of his blood spilled, the kingdom will be plunged into a century-long slumber…

And the Unseelie King will reign.

As his personal guard, Juliana is sworn to serve the vain, arrogant prince only until the fateful day, but when the curse is unleashed, Juliana alone is the one that can save him.

Connected to Hawthorn through their dreams, Juliana soon finds her feelings shifting for the boy she once swore to hate…

And soon swears to sacrifice anything to save him.

My review:

I loved Katherine Macdonald’s vision of Sleeping Beauty in Kingdom of Thorns. She now puts a different spin on it with Forest of Dreams and Whispers, and I think I like this one even better!

Juliana is a mortal born in Faerie. Her father has raised her, since her mother abandoned them long ago (or so she believes). She doesn’t remember the curse cast on Prince Hawthorn, the insufferably smug and vain Seelie prince she’s sworn to protect. His eighteenth birthday is drawing near, and with it, the fulfillment of the curse. She is responsible for guarding his life in hopes that the curse can be broken by the kiss of his chosen fae bride. All Juliana knows is that she’ll be well rewarded for keeping the prince safe, and whoever his chosen fae bride is, it won’t be her.

Macdonald doesn’t tell the story in chronological order, but jumps from present to past and back again from one chapter to the next. I think this lets us get a good picture of how the relationship between Juliana and Hawthorn builds and changes.

And change it does. Juliana and Hawthorn are wonderful! They snipe and snark at each other, and Hawthorn takes positive glee in tweaking Juliana. She gets her digs in, too, but she doesn’t see how much Hawthorn enjoys yanking her chain. They’re two wonderfully oblivious teenagers, each hoping maybe the other doesn’t hate them as much as they put on, each scared to death to open up to each other about how they really feel.

The supporting characters are nicely drawn as well. The Queen, Hawthorn’s mother, is not as he perceives her. Juliana’s father, Markham, also hides a secret – from everyone, including his daughter. There is friendship and betrayal, humor and loss. And always, there is the hope that the curse can be broken.

If you love a good gender swapped story, a slow burn romance, and a tale of love and hope and courage, look no further. Pick up Forest of Dreams and Whispers and get to reading!

Disclaimer: I received an advance reader copy from Booksprout. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.

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