Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt ***

This is the 2nd in the series, the first of which was The Raven Prince and the last The Serpent Prince.

Now - only Raven and Serpent made it to the AAR Top 100 and I'm in accord with that. I just didn't think Leopard was anywhere near as good as Raven.

The heroine is Georgina - but everyone calls her George. She's an Earl's sister, and she inherited a large estate from an aunt. She hired Harry Pye, the hero, to be the estate manager. Harry's a buddy of Edward from Raven - they are in the Agrarian Society together.

Right off the bat I'm getting confused by the heroine being called George.

Harry is a native of the region where the estate is located - in fact, his father was gamekeeper of the local magistrate and villain, Granville. Granville is buh buh buh bad to the bone. He's a womanizer, maybe even a rapist, and he hates his older son. He raised a younger son (Bennet) born to Harry's mother. In fact, it's even possible Harry is also his biological son. When Harry was 12, Granville horsewhipped Harry and his father, and Harry lost a finger to this treatment. So that sets up the bad feelings twixt Granville and Harry.

Now, there's sheep dying from poisoning and everyone blames Harry because... well, someone found a tiny carving near a dead sheep, and Harry carves tiny beasts. Not that that is actually evidence, but everyone starts gossiping about it anyway.

Then there's George's 15-year-old sister Violet - she thinks Harry did it. She also is in hiding from a man 10 years her elder who seduced her and is trying to blackmail her into marrying him cuz she's rich and he's in debt. This entire story line never did mesh into the main story line so I kept wondering what the point of it was... OK, so Harry ran into the guy once, but it didn't have anything to do with anything. Since Violet thinks Harry did it, why does she send George a hysterical note to tell her Granville had Harry arrested? I dunno. Didn't make any sense to me.

This story didn't flow nearly as easily as Raven did for me - I just did not make the leaps with the author this time. I never really felt that George had any feelings for Harry - she just kept showing up in his cottage but I never felt she was actually falling in love. It was more like she was just toying with him. He was not in her class, after all, which she made more than clear.

After I did think they had declared for each other and everything was ok, Harry is called away to a catastrophic and fatal fire - and he has to convince her not to come help. Somehow - this was really stupid in my opinion - she decides he is actually saying he doesn't want her in his life, which gives the author a chance to throw another obstacle in their path. As if they didn't already have to leap over tall buildings, now she has George run away from Harry and try to marry someone else. How she turned his telling her to stay away and not put herself in danger at the fire into a declaration that their relationship was over, I have no clue. None. And by this point, I was already not that engaged in the story, so I wanted to reach in and slap the twit.

Of course, it's romance, so it's not a spoiler to say he keeps her from marrying the other fellow - but the scene at the church was as out of left field as all the other scenes and story lines in the book as far as I was concerned. Let's see, we had poisoned sheep, a womanizing villain, a murdered woman, an extra kid, an Earl's sister boinking the hired help... and a lot of it got left unresolved - was Bennet now the Granville heir, or were they going to try to make Harry the Granville heir? Was anyone going to take care of Will (the extra kid) or what? Was Violet interested in Bennet?

Sorry, but it just didn't give me the warm fuzzies that I like to feel at the end of a good book. Mostly I was glad it was over and I didn't have to try to follow all the divergent threads anymore. So I'm going with ... well, if I gave fractions, it would be about 2.75, so I'll round up and go with 3 stars.

1 comment:

Cindy W said...

I started off not liking the book, but slowly got into the characters. I can see why you didn't like it, but it finally worked for me. I am having one hell of a time finishing Night Embrace!!! I am going on vacation and got Devil's Cub and Match me if you can on CD from the library. Also brought Serpent Prince!