The Kingdom Within, Volume 1
Princess Meredith’s eighteenth birthday is fast approaching, but unlike other girls, she is not looking forward to it. Upon her coming of age, she is to marry the prince of Alder, the most powerful kingdom in the world. Though the idea of marriage to a complete stranger is appalling, she knows she has no choice. Without the marriage contract, Stonefall’s alliance with Alder will be lost, and her people will be safe no longer; Theros, King of Talos, has set his eyes of conquest on Stonefall and he wants Meredith dead.
Connor, an elite soldier entrusted with Meredith’s safety, arrives at the palace just as things begin to take a turn for the worse. Together, they embark on a journey of survival, in which Meredith will find that the only thing she never prepared for was falling in love.
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Reviewed by Katelyn Hensel for Readers' Favorite
The titular book of the Kingdom Within series by Samantha Gillespie is a fun adventure from start to finish. Turning eighteen has never been harder. Princess Meredith is being pressured to marry Prince Ethan, a powerful but completely foreign man, upon her 18th birthday. Danger from plotting nobles and dangerous kingdoms threaten, forcing her to take up security in the form of Connor. As the best of the best, an elite soldier in the kingdom's military, Connor trusts no one else with the princess's protection but himself. As the two fight to survive, they find out that love was the danger all along and no one - soldier or princess - is immune.
The romance between Meredith and Connor came on really fast, with no holds barred. I was actually surprised that Meredith sort of gave in so quickly, as she is a princess and one would think she knew better than to give in to a soldier...but their romance was hot and heavy with a touch of sweetness. I enjoyed Meredith's character the most and she definitely didn't seem like the average Cinderella type so that was fun!
The Kingdom Within by Samantha Gillespie is a fun young adult read that pretty much everyone of any age can enjoy. It's clearly the beginning of a series, due to the whopping cliff-hanger at the end, so you should have plenty more royal-peasant romances and court intrigue to look forward to from Gillespie in the future. If you enjoy romantic adventures with likeable heroes, then this one is for you!