Friday, September 19, 2008

The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt *****

This is the 3rd in her Prince series, after The Raven Prince (which I loved) and The Leopard Prince (which I didn't love) - and, hurrah, I loved this one!

There were so many things to love about this story - the Viscount Iddesleigh, Simon, with his strong but misplaced sense of honor; Lucy who discovers the world outside Maiden Hall when she takes Simon into her home to convalesce; the wonderful secondary characters like her father the sea captain, Simon's sister in law and niece, the return of Edward from Raven.

Simon is found by Lucy, naked and unconscious, in a ditch, after being beaten and stabbed. Lucy takes him into her home to recover, against the wishes of her father, and she nurses him back to health. She and her father live in the country, and the fellows who tried to kill Simon had attacked him in London but took him here to die.

Having someone from London stay in her home is an eye-opener for the country miss who has been courted by the vicar for three years with no proposal in sight. She realizes there's more to life than wearing brown and gray and talking about repairing the church roof - and turns down the inevitable proposal from the vicar she doesn't love, even if it means a life without marriage at all. But Simon has fallen head over heels for Lucy, and comes back for her.

Meanwhile, he is still out for to avenge the death of his brother by the men he has been systematically dueling and killing.

Interestingly, I liked that Simon is in love with Lucy by the time he returns to London, that he proposes marriage, and that he is determined for her to remain chaste until after marriage. It seemed almost quaint and practically unheard of in romance. And even as he continues with the revenge of his brother's death, we are shown more and more reasons that shore up his determination for this revenge that make it seem almost right, almost necessary. But the killing is taking a toll on Simon's soul.

I also liked the Serpent fairy tale that is woven through the story - this time told by Simon to Lucy as a story he learned growing up - and how it intertwined with their story.

The story did what I like: it made me feel the emotions felt by the characters - their growing affection for one another, their joy at getting married, Simon's grief at losing Lucy, Lucy's anguish over Simon's inability to share what he was going through with her, and her reluctance to leave. All that. That's what makes it a 5 star read for me, and apparently for a lot of readers since it's an AAR Top 100 read as well.

1 comment:

Heather's Books said...

Cindy has been raving about this series so I am glad that you liked it. I will give them a try.