The Duke of Snow and Apples by Elizabeth Vail
**I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review**
Frederick Snow is in hiding from the life he left behind when he was he was 15 years old…away from the terrifying secret he keeps. He has powers…powers that can destroy a person to the point of leaving them as nothing but a shell – the Gray takes over and slowly destroys them, until they die, just like his mother and his gameskeeper, Farnsby. Which is why since then, he has been living a secret and private life as a footman for Lady Balrumple. He keeps his identity and his powers a secret from everyone to protect them from the Gray, and himself.
That is until he’s assigned to the long estranged great-niece, Charlotte Erlwood. He is intrigued by the young lady, but ever careful not to become too involved with her, for fear of the Gray. At first she is indignant to him, treating him like a true servant, but she eventually comes to look forward to seeing him – if even just in the dining room or in passing through the halls. As their affections for each other grows, they realize just how careful they need to be – as Charlotte is a lady, and “Freddy” as she calls him, is a lowly servant with nothing to offer her family. So when her sister comes for a visit, along with the Duke of Snowmont and his companion Sir Bertram – and they bring a part of Frederick Snow’s life to light that he thought he’d be safe from…the Gray. But can Frederick love Charlotte and keep her safe from the dreaded Gray?
[POSSIBLE SPOILERS} This is a great love story – I really liked how they were willing to give up everything to be together. The problem I had with the story is the “fae powers” that everyone seems to have are never fully explained. People just HAVE them – as they are apparently descendants of the fae – but it’s never explained WHY or HOW they kept the powers, or for that matter, what exactly Fredrick’s powers did. I thought that Charlotte was a strong young lady, looking for her life to begin, and someone to share it even if it means marrying someone that she doesn’t love yet. She wants security and safety…and while Freddy is neither of those things, he still manages to win her heart – but will it be enough? I think with a little improved background, this could be a 5 star book for sure – the story is there, just didn’t quite come together like it could have.