Fiancée No More: The Forsaken Lady, the Prince, and Their Make-Believe Love, Vol. 2

By Mari Morikawa and Bodax. Released in Japan as “Konyaku Haki no Sono Saki ni: Suterare Reijō, Ōji-sama ni Dekiai (Engi) Sareru” by DRE Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Heart. Translated by Adam.

This series really does enjoy piling on, doesn’t it? Our happy couple are pretty happy, even though, alas, Estelle still doesn’t have much self-esteem and is thus convinced this is still a relationship of inconvenience. Arcrayne is trying to show off his more loving side, but he’s usually too calculating to pull it off, and also not very good at spotting why Estelle might be upset. Then there’s the plot of this second book, in which Arcrayne almost dies due to the machinations of “the Trickster” from the first book, and then Estelle almost dies when a dragon attacks their hunting party and she is forced to use her “this will kill dragons but also probably blow my arm off” gun, which fortunately does not blow her arm off but will likely add to her collection of scars. Worst of all, her wedding ring is broken, and reminds us that they are still not QUITE married. Which I think may be the main plot of Book 3. Not the wedding, but the “not married yet” bit.

The fact that Estelle and Arcrayne are now engaged has made a lot of people mad. The Queen is mad because, well, she hates Arcrayne and Estelle. We find out here why she hates Arcrayne, and it isn’t pretty. Adeline, Olivia’s mother, is mad because Olivia is now a former fiancee and, worst of all, is not all that devastated by it. Olivia’s father is possibly also mad, but sadly he collapses from a stroke and spends most of this book in hospital. This allows someone to infiltrate the Rainsworth household and slowly twist everything. As if that weren’t bad enough, Arcrayne’s brother is also mad, because Arcrayne is still first in line for the throne, and also because he’s forced to do what his grandfather wants, while Arcrayne is free to do as he pleases. It’ll all end in tears, I know it.

Easily the best part of the book is Olivia, who ended up being a much better character than I was anticipating. She’s pissed off at Estelle and Arcrayne, yes – especially Arcrayne, as she blames him for her father’s hospitalization – but she’s trying to stay positive, determined to move forward, and is actively working to help her family. Which makes it all the more irritating that her mother has a mind-controlling charm that turns Olivia into a puppet for the climax of the first half of the book. I feel the author didn’t want Olivia to be evil, but didn’t know how to make the plot work without her being evil, thus mind control. Oh well, at least she’s not punished for it. As for Estelle, again, her low self-worth drives most of her actions, but she’s getting better. And her knowledge of dragons and dragon hunts comes in quite handy. If she’ll only realize that Arcrayne has actually fallen for her, than this series can end.

That said, I’m pretty sure it will end in Book 3, like every Drecom series not named Blade and Bastard has done. A good romance novel with a heroine who’s not a villainess or reincarnated at all.

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