Group Review: The Solstice Prince (Realms of Love #1) by S.J. Himes

Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded.

Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical. Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.

One day, when necessity and fate intervene, Jaime meets someone unexpected—Prince Maxim, youngest son of the Pyrderian king, a sword master and a devastatingly kind man. Unaccustomed to powerful people with compassion and heart, Jaime flees. A cascade of events reveals Jaime’s hidden talents of healing, and he finds himself not in chains, but at the beginning of a new life.

This swift change of fortune opens Jaime up to new possibilities, including a smitten prince who cautiously courts Jaime, easing him away from his fears and reminding him that compassion and love can make him strong. The winter solstice is quickly approaching, and Prince Maxim shows Jaime the enjoyment and excitement to be found in a land that embraces the ice and cold, and the mysteries of all things magical. He learns to see the man under the royal mantle, and Maxim is more than even Jaime suspected.

The winter solstice is nigh when tragedy strikes, and Jaime learns that his past of grief and sorrow can be a pillar of strength for his solstice prince. If there is one thing that Jaime believes above all else, it is in the healing power of love.

Group average!

Lost in a Book - 4 Hearts

*takes sip*

Ahhh, yes. This book went down like hot chocolate on a cold winter day with tons of marshmallowly fluffy goodness. I’m all warm and fuzzy thinking about the absolute sweetness that was The Solstice Prince.

I’ll provide full disclosure and admit that I chose to read this because the cover reminded me of a M/M Harry Potter. Not. Even. Lying. *shrug* I’m weak when it comes to that series. While it wasn’t similar to HP, it held its own special place in my heart with its loving kingdom, drama free plot, gifted healer, and a fierce but kind prince.

We are introduced to a broken down Jaime who had been taken from his home after the death of his father, sold into slavery to pay debt, and rescued by Pyrderi guards and brought to the palace. He doesn’t know where he is or the rules of the land so he keeps his head down and works the kitchens. Jaime’s very skittish from abuse and hides that he’s a healer until he heals the Captain of the Guard. This revelation leads to a whirlwind life change where he becomes properly acquainted with the dashing Prince Maxim.

Prince Maxim is the youngest of his siblings and absolutely smitten with the man he saw rescued from the slave ship. He makes his intentions known towards Jaime quickly and begins to court the shy healer. Prince Maxim is large, a hunter, and the best swordsman in all the land. But, he approaches Jaime like he would a skittish animal until he can coax him out of hiding. He shows Jaime that he is worthy, kind, gifted, and desirable. *swoon*

Guys!!! This book is drama free. It’s sugary sweet and Prince Maxim with Jaime is absolutely adorable. There aren’t any relational issues so the men are able to organically grow together in friendship and affections without the lack of communication blah blah blah hurdles. Although this book has a lighthearted fluffy feel, it’s not without minor angst and strong feels. Jaime’s prior circumstances and Prince Maxim’s impending heartbreak provide obstacles and instead of acting as a deterrent, it brings the men together. The palace has clouds of sorrow hanging over it and Jaime provides rays of sunlight to all.

I loved the Pyrderi people and its royalty. It’s an accepting land that shows love instead of scorn. The inhabitants of the castle from the King to servants were friendly, loving, and understanding of a man that was utterly broken and needed a place to feel safe and find himself again. They all celebrated the young Prince and his love to the blushing Jaime.

The Solstice Prince is a feel good HEA read that provided the warmth I was looking for. Could there have been more relationship development on page? Yep, but I just didn’t care. Sweet story. Lovable secondary characters. Swoontastic MCs. Fabulous cover. Definitely recommended.

R *A Reader Obsessed* - 4 Hearts

SJ Himes is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, and I really can’t find much fault at all with her newest release. Markedly different from her Beacon Hills Sorcerer series, this was simply a feel good love story blending historical, magical, and fantasy elements that will surely pique many a reader’s interest.

Kind Jamie, is rescued from a cruel fate, and though he’s scared and damaged, he finds some measure of comfort in the place he’s now in, a country that is most disbelieving for its benevolence and acceptance regarding all things. Making that transition easier is Prince Maxim who takes an interest in Jamie, and soon learns to his delight that there’s more than meets the eye to the timid young man. What unfolds is a seriously sweet slow burn as Jamie and his prince get to know each other, ultimately, falling easily in love.

Low on the angst with great hurt comfort tones that goes both ways, this is surely an unbelievably perfect kingdom Jamie finds himself thriving in.. Himes creates a world with many facets since not all realms are as open minded as Pyrderi. Luckily, this is just the beginning, and I for one will not be saying no to more stories from this interesting fictional world!

Jenni Lea - 4 Hearts

This was such a sweet, sweet story.  A deviation from her usual paranormal action/adventure, SJ Himes delivers a gentle, quiet tale of a remarkable boy and the prince who loved him.

To be honest, I wasn't sure I was going to like this.  It was so far removed from what I've come to expect from this author that I felt a bit off-kilter when I started reading.  But, as I got further into the story, I found myself smiling more and more.  I should have known that I needn't have worried; I have yet to read a story by Himes that I haven't loved.  The same great writing was there and the world-building was exemplary (as usual); it was just toned down a bit.  OK, a lot.  There was virtually no angst in this book.

Jaime was adorable AF and Maxim, a complete charmer.  All of the secondary characters were fully-fleshed and played their respective roles well.  I could have gone for a tad bit of angst, but for what it was, I enjoyed it immensely.

Recommended for readers who are looking for a light, sweet, no-angst story reminiscent of a fairy tale to pass a rainy Saturday afternoon or to cleanse the palate after a heavy read.

Review copies were provided.

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