"Moth and Spark" by Anne Leonard is a romantic fantasy with an emphasis on romance, but there is also a terrible war, dragons, spells and magic in the mix http://www.amazon.com/Moth-Spark-Novel-Anne-Leonard/dp/0670015709 Set in a familiar medieval world where woman are treated as wanting little more than marrying the best man, the story sometimes trundles along because of the romance. However, the love affair of a commoner and the Prince is handled well, the female protagonist is no snivelling milquetoast having helped her doctor father out in his surgery and in the end, magic and dragons are front and center. It’s a good read, but the cover promised more.
Prince Corin is the heir to the Caithan throne, when he meets a dragon rider on the road, who enspells him with a mysterious drink and an order that he is destined to free the dragons, who are servants to the Emperor. The spell does not take effect right away, and Corin does not remember the encounter.
Meanwhile, its Summer Court and Tam, a beautiful commoner and incipient seer is at the Court. Tam is no mouse having spent time traveling with her father, a noted doctor. She is quick witted. While visiting the royal library, she bumps into Corin while reading a book about an enemy of the realm and he is quickly smitten and starts to court her. The romantic part of the novel is off and running. As he wines and dines her, the romance progresses. There are dances, intrigue among the other single women, discussions of wine, dinner and other elements of romantic fiction.
War also quickly develops. The Emperor, who mysteriously controls the dragons, does not want to lose his power over them. He allows another country to invade Caithan. He will stop at nothing to prevent Corin from learning how to free the dragons. Caithan will have to fight.
Corin and Tam will both have to use magic to try to thwart the Emperor’s plans.
That fantasy elements of dragons, war and magic are all present, however the magical fantasy part of the story are fairly simple and could have been condensed into a small story. Leonard's emphasis on romance provides a solid middle to the story and Tam plays an essential role, so without the romantic angle that forms the center and core of the novel, the story would have been too short for a novel. So if you like romance with a touch of magic and war, then this is a good book for you.