Monday, 26 January 2009

The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Second in the Princes series by Elizabeth Hoyt, The Leopard Prince follows the developing relationship between Lady Georgina Maitland and her land steward Harry Pye. Their relationship across the social divide would be complicated enough, but it's set against a background of suspicion, poisoned sheep and murder. Events which the locals blame Harry for. If Lady Georgina is going to get her man, she'll have to keep his head out of the noose first.

I liked this one more than the Raven Prince, maybe because the relationship between Harry and Georgina is more earthy, more sensual? I don't know. Maybe because there is more of the forbidden about their relationship? I love how Elizabeth Hoyt makes the characters come alive on the page, how she makes us care about them, how she makes them so real. Harry and Georgina are so right for each other but there is so much between them that they have to overcome. There is a strong chemistry between them from the outset. Lady Georgina says at the beginning of chapter 5
"Do you know that when I first met you I didn't like you?"
Harry has the last word at the end of the section.
"I never disliked you, my lady."
Almost like Scherezade, Georgina tells the tale of the Leopard Prince to Harry. Starting when they first spend the night together in the shepherds hut and continuing over their subsequent meetings. It almost serves as an analogy for their relationship, 'til at the end Georgina sets her own leopard free. They are caught in a cage of circumstance. As Harry ponders -
If she were a different woman, if this were a different place, if he were a different man...
Georgina is a strong heroine, sometimes a little snippy, but on the whole softly spoken with a spine of steel. She also has a slight tendency to voice whatever's on her mind whether it's relevant to the conversation at hand or not.
"Someday I'd like to see a man nude," she said.
Harry froze.
This keeps the more reserved and quiet Harry on his toes.

One of my favourite things about Elizabeth Hoyt's writing is how she shows situations that happen to characters when they are apart, influence their behaviour to each other when next they meet. As a reader we understand the change in attitudes of both characters but the characters themselves do not. Very clever writing. She's able to take this and write these wonderful arguments which are layered with double meanings.

The secondary characters are equally well written - Georgina's brothers and sister, Harry's brother. A shame we will never get to know more about them as EH has said on her website she's moved on to other stories.

I think that this may be the favourite of the trilogy for me. I liked it more than the Raven Prince, and I'm thinking Harry and Georgina may end up being my favourite couple. Elizabeth Hoyt is one of the few historical romance authors I read and I'm looking forward to completing the trilogy and getting started on the next series.


DonnaB said...

Hmmmm. I just can't get into historical romances. Unless they're written by people I know.

This one does sound well-written, however, so if I'm ever trapped in an elevator, or on a desert island, or in a dentist's waiting room ... with nothing but a book by Elizabeth Hoyt, I'll give it a try. LOL


LesleyW said...

Donna - I am not an historicals fan either, but I make an exception for Elizabeth Hoyt. So yep, next time you're in your dentist's waiting room that's the book you should pick. :)

Tracy said...

I haven't read either The Raven Prince or the Leopard Prince but they sound really good from what I'm reading from you. I may just have to look into them. Thanks.

Marg said...

Harry and George are definitely my favourite couple in this series! And the chemistry between the two of them! Completely hot!

LesleyW said...

Tracy - you're welcome, I don't read that many historicals but Elizabeth Hoyt is becoming one of my favourite authors.

Marg - Lol - completely agree with you.