A gender-fluid prince finds an unexpected ally in an arranged marriage with a transgender man.
Prince Darian is willing to give up his penchant for gowns when he must wed for the sake of the kingdom. However, his intended bride has a secret of their own. A marriage of convenience may bring something neither expected—acceptance, and all that entails.
- 3 To Be Read lists
His brothers accepted his fluid nature as something Darian simply was. He had been so all his life; suspended between male and female, one rising, the other ebbing without pattern or reason. The Queen, daughterless and doting, had gladly let her youngest son
wear gowns, bows, and curls far longer than appropriate, until his father had intervened with violent persuasion. At court, he now moved as a man. In private, he never stopped wearing gowns or ribbons when the softer she inside him waxed like the full moon. He allowed her complete rein. In truth, he no longer knew where he ended and she began. They were the same.
Optimist King's Wench on Boy Meets Boy Reviews wrote:
From it's original publication in BENEATH THE LAYERS:
So I won’t go too much into the details of this story because I want you to read it. Then, once you do, please feel free to DM me all your thoughts and we can discuss it at length. Tweet me, friend me on GR, whatever, let’s do this.
This story got so many things right. I will say it’s about an arranged marriage and the concept of denying yourself to meet societal expectations. While sexuality is discussed, I loved the fact the story in itself is not sexual at all. Even thinking about it, I have strong emotions: grief, when it starts the story saddened me to no end. Had it been longer I may have been distraught. The second feeling was one of hope…
From it's original publication in BENEATH THE LAYERS
All That Entails by E.M. Hamill - 4.5 Hearts
Lovely! My favorite of the anthology.
This is a fantasy story with an admirable amount of worldbuilding and relationship development between Henry and Darian. Henry is trans F2M who was allowed to be a tomboy up until puberty. He's got a supportive twin brother but his father is cruel. Very cruel. Henry is headstrong and maybe a bit stubborn, but he gives in and becomes Prince Darian's bride even though he hates gowns and corsets and heels.
As luck would have it, he and Darian met at a masked ball once and Darian left an impression.
Darian is gender fluid but leans more femme. All the things Henry despises Darian adores. He's also bisexual but expected to marry well to fill his kingdom's coffers. Never let it be said that serendipity isn't serendipitous. And that dress scene... ALL THE FEELS! SO SWEET!
The writing is strong with well drawn characters that are relatable and likable. This isn't necessarily a romance, more the genesis of something that could turn into something more. What made me uneasy were the pronouns. Every time Henry was misgendered, I winced.
I will definitely be on the lookout for more stories by this author.