Review: Identity

Last week, I read Spelled and brought up some issues with the main character's personality as well as the lack of a direct antagonist. Now that I have completed Identity, the next book in The Kingdom Chronicles, I am pleased to say that my enjoyment Camille Peters' writing has greatly improved. The book has a fantastic protagonist who is easy to relate to and a deliciously wicked princess who does everything in her power to get between prevent the main character's happiness. The book is inspired by the fairy tale "The Goose Girl," in which a wicked handmaiden steals the identity of the princess she serves, but it more closely resembles the novella A Goose Girl by KM Shea, in which a selfish princess forces her handmaiden to take her place against her will. The story of a princess switching places with an underprivileged lookalike is fairly common in movies such as The Princess and the Pauper or The Princess Switch. It is a story that I never grow tired of, and this book was no exception.

Identity follows the struggles of Anwen, the handmaiden for the petty Princess Lavena, who was briefly mentioned in earlier books within this series. Lavena hired Anwen as her maid so that she could use her to take her place at events she does not want to attend due to their strong physical resemblance to each other. Lavena's mischievous role-swapping hits a new low when she forces Anwen into an unwanted marriage to Prince Liam, her betrothed. As a morally righteous woman, Anwen refuses to marry someone she doesn't know under the guise of another person. Lavena accounts for this by forcing Anwen to wear a magical contract ring that burns Anwen's finger any time she attempts to reveal her true self to Liam or his family. Living the life of a princess isn't so bad, but now Anwen must also take responsibility for the years of torment between the two ill-fated lovers due to their unwanted union.

This book was incredibly romantic. Unlike the earlier two books in the series, Anwen's relationship with Liam did not feel forced in spite of the fact that they had to get married before they knew each other. Liam's hatred of Princess Lavena is a huge obstacle for Anwen, but she eventually proves to him that her feelings toward their marriage are sincere. They are not your average fairy tale couple. They argue, disagree, and misunderstand each other constantly, but in the end, it is clear that want to be together and continue to work through their differences. Anwen also struggles to convince Liam's family of her identity due to her lack of princess training, but Liam is always there to support her. Together, they make each other better people, just like a real married couple should.

Of course, happy endings do not come easily when scheming villains are around. Princess Lavena proves herself to be such an awful character that I couldn't wait to find out how Liam and Anwen would ultimately rid themselves of her looming presence in their lives. The story picks up a lot when she makes a comeback near the end of the book, and I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. The fact that Lavena is the true princess who was engaged to Liam to form an alliance between their kingdoms places a huge obstacle to of his happy ending with Anwen. Yet, he insists on standing by her no matter what, even when her overprotective brother and geese do their best to keep him away. The emotional conflict in this book was spectacular and kept me on the edge of my seat.

I would recommend Identity to fans of The Princess and the Pauper and similar stories. It is an excellent love story with loads of emotional depth and feels like a realistic fairy tale. I loved the budding romance between Anwen and Liam as well as all of the ways that Anwen managed to show small parts of her true self in spite of the ring's curse. Lavena is a fantastic villain who demonstrates that princesses are not always good by default. This is by far the best book I have read by Camille Peters, and I look forward to reading her future works.


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