Title: The Palace
Author: Penelope Sky
Publisher/Year: Hartwick Publishing 5/25/21
Length: 250 Pages
Series: Chateau #4
A line was drawn in the sand.
I made my choice.
I picked her over him.
But I begin to regret that choice, and when Raven wants to destroy the camp, I know I’ll regret it even more.
It’s great that we get to see the full story play out from both sides – watching Raven’s story evolve first with Magnus and then now seeing Melanie and Fender. The crux of the story is still the same, however this version has a different approach and connection.
We know that in the first installment of Melanie’s story, we watched Fender first lay eyes on her and fall in love with her in a way that no one expected of him. He was patient and refused to take anything from her that she wasn’t willing to give and that’s something that he’s never allowed of anyone. We watched how his long standing butler Gilbert took issue with Melanie being in his life and then realized that it was a losing battle to have problem with.
So all in all, we felt that this was a story on the right path. The challenge of course is that even though Melanie developed deep feelings for Fender and that all he wanted in return was to give her the world, there was still the looming issue of Raven – her sister. Who wanted nothing more than to take down everything that Fender and Magnus had built, just on principle. She refused to believe that there was more to either man in the sense of what they could or couldn’t do and even at the back story of it all, and that really played out to the worst extent when Raven forced Melanie to choose. Her for Fender. And she chose Raven.
We start off this second bit of the story with Melanie and Raven living in Paris, ‘free’ from the camp and all that it was, trying to rebuild their lives. Melanie is heartbroken of course because Fender was the perfect man for her but she couldn’t choose him over family. She tries to move on with her life in the sense of getting a job and finding purpose, however she knows that she’ll never find a man to take his place. Raven goes through the process of getting back to her life – dating and getting back into things, but she still wants revenge and we know how that goes.
They sneak back to the camp, burn it down and in return, they get a new level of hatred for both of them. While Magnus helped free Raven before, she’s his most hated person now. Fender takes this as a personal slight and that results in Raven being captured and Melanie being shunned.
From that point on, we watch Melanie realize that her life is empty without Fender and she tries all that she can to get back into his life. To try to gain his trust and his love back. It’s a tough battle since he’s not one to let those walls down again, and we watch her try her best to make that happen. At the same time we also watch Melanie do what she can to get Raven’s freedom but that’s a losing battle.
The sub plot here that we remember from the previous installments is that Fender wants to make his empire bigger and more powerful. He wants to bring in a partner Napoleon who we know Magnus has doubts on and we know how this will end. I was expecting to see more of an interaction there to better understand why Fender was so adamant about having Napoleon as his partner, but sadly that doesn’t come. Instead we just watch the demise of everything that they’ve built, and watch the massacre that takes everyone at the camp, and causes dire damage to Magnus and Fender’s health.
The culmination of this series in this last installment gives us the flip side of the story – the romance of it, the side of a woman who wants to be valued for more than her beauty and cherished above all. It’s an uphill battle but one that is meant to be since she’s truly strong and a force to be reckoned with. She believe in change and she pushed that belief on someone else and as a result, we saw the story turn a corner.
The epilogue was quite interesting though – taking us to the camp – and the hands of an unknown person. There’s a fear now in my mind of what’s to come next and the short blurb at the end of the story introducing ‘The Cult’ makes me scared for what will find its way to that area. It was bad before with the drug trade and I have shivers thinking about what’s next. Now I just have to wait a few months for that story to come out. So…on that note – Enjoy and let’s be patient for the next story to begin.