The reason for this being on my TBR pile is that it's a historical. When I was a teenager I think I read every Zebra Heartfire to the point of getting completely sick of the genre. So it's very rare for me to pick up one now. I think I have one more in the TBR which I may read for next month.
The Raven Prince follows the developing relationship of Mrs Anna Wren and the Earl of Swartingham (Edward). Anna becomes the Earl's secretary to earn the money her household needs to stay solvent. However, when she learns the Earl intends to visit a brothel in London, she decides to take matters into her own hands and rendezvous with him there as a mystery woman rather than have him satisfy his desires with anyone else.
I loved this and have already put the next two books on my wishlist. The excerpt at the back for The Leopard Prince definitely caught my interest.
What makes the story for me, are the characters of Anna and Edward. They come alive on the page and you're completely pulled into their world. They are well-matched, (which I really like) Edward has a formidable temper to put it mildly - no china ornament is safe when he's around - but Anna is more than capable of standing up for herself.
He hesitated. "I wouldn't want to intimidate you, Mrs. Wren."There's also a thread of humour that runs through the book, moreso in the early part before everything goes wrong, though it also pops its head up again towards the end. Edward is very sharp. And I could quote and quote from their snappy exchanges but I'll limit myself and let you enjoy them when you read the book if you haven't already.
"Do you think 'Duke' is a good name?" she asked.I also love the way that Elizabeth Hoyt manages to make you 'hear' how gorgeous Edward's voice is - usually when he's talking to a horse, even if he's being rude to it. And Coral's dessert description of him, is spot on.
His face blanked for a second before it cleared. He glanced at the dog in consideration. "I don't think so. He would outrank me."
The story is beautifully constructed. I don't want to give anything away, but there are small incidents or things that are mentioned in passing that have greater relevance later in the story. So it's well worth taking the time to savour the story rather than rush through it. The secondary characters are also well written - whether villain or friend, and I think I've picked out the heroes of the following books.
The love scenes are incredibly sensual but it is the relationship between the characters that I love, the little details that have raised this to a keeper for me. I can't say that The Raven Prince has converted me back to historicals, but I'll definitely be picking up the rest of Elizabeth Hoyt's backlist.