Saturday, October 11, 2014

Review: The Prince Who Loved Me

The Prince Who Loved Me (The Oxenburg Princes #1)

by Karen Hawkins 


A handsome, rakish prince who doesn't believe in true love meets a stubborn lass who will settle for nothing less...
Prince Alexsey Romanovin enjoys his carefree life, flirting—and more—with every lovely lady who crosses his path. But when the interfering Grand Duchess Natasha decides it's time for her grandson to wed, Alexsey finds himself in Scotland, determined to foil her plans. Brainy, bookish, and bespectacled, Bronwyn Murdoch seems the perfect answer—she isn't at all to the duchess' taste.
Living at the beck and call of her ambitious stepmother and social butterfly stepsisters, Bronwyn has little time for a handsome flirt—no matter how intoxicating his kisses are. After all, no spoiled, arrogant prince would be seriously interested in a firm-minded female like herself. So . . . wouldn't it be fun to turn his "game" upside down and prove that an ordinary woman can bring a prince to his knees?

Themes: historical, Highlanders
Rating: 4 stars
Heat Rating: 
Well a new series has branched in the wonderfully witty, intriguing, and often-hilarious mind of Karen Hawkins.  I have read almost all of Karen’s books and have loved each one for its laughter, tears, and sometimes-exasperating characters.  If you are looking for a heavy and emotionally angst filled story this might not be the best choice, but for the lighter side of historical romance, you can’t do better than Hawkins.  This new series, while not technically a spin-off of the previous does carry over some familiar names and return you to a familiar place and time.  This is just one of the reasons I loved Alexsey and Bronwyn’s story of mistaken identities, challenges and ultimately lifelong love.  And let’s not negate the awesomeness of a sexy Gypsy Prince and his crazy Gypsy grandmother and all the antics they can get up to.
Bronwyn is enjoying a book in her favorite woodland hideaway when she is interrupted by the most handsome man she has ever seen and is immediately attracted to him, a truly novel experience for her.  And when he decides that he will steal a kiss, she doesn’t really put up much of a fight.  Alexsey has traveled with his grandmother to Scotland in an attempt to win her favor so she will release his birthright as king of the Gypsies to her, but he has no plans to actually enjoy his time there while he dodges her attempts at marriage matching.  When he takes the sweet and sensual woodland maiden into his arms though, he never imagines just how much his life will change.  After they are both outed, their true identities revealed to each other, the passion that was there doesn’t dissipate and each is determined to get something from the other, while maintaining their freedom and their hearts.  However, seldom can we plan for the true feelings that can develop with the chemistry that combines to make a love for the ages.  The question is can they each let go of their personal agendas in order to find happiness with one another?
Alexsey is an arrogant reprobate for sure, but he is sweet and sexy so it is really easy to overlook those less than stellar parts of his personality.  Having met his brother in a previous story, I knew I would like Alexsey in the end, but I found myself quite often wanting to knock the hell out of him for being so shortsighted and narrow-minded.  Letting go of his plans and just deciding to enjoy his time with Bronwyn humanizes him in a big way and makes me like him even more.  Seeing how sweet he is to his grandmother, without letting her very strong will trample him, shows the true measure of the man, even as his intentions toward Bronwyn are not exactly honorable.  I loved seeing him fall in love with a woman just as unwilling to give her heart to a scoundrel and then having to get down on his knees—metaphorically, of course—to get her to accept his love and proposal.  It’s obvious to me that he will make a great king and lead his people with a steady and compassionate hand. 
Bronwyn, the poor girl, just wants to be left alone, on the shelf so to speak, to enjoy her freedom and independence.  She tried to fit into the mold of the ladies of London, but her brain and her rebellious streak just never gave her a chance.  Now that she has matured there is no way she will give up her independence, not even for a man like Alexsey, even if he has captured her heart and soul.  Bronwyn’s wit and intelligence put her way ahead of all the frilly and empty-headed ladies of their era and, though her stepmother wishes otherwise, there is no changing her and making her into a debutante.  Her love of books, adventure, and family round her out into a character that will make you understand the true meaning of the phrase “a woman before her time” as there is no doubt she would fit in quite well in 2014.  Seeing her come up with a plan to best Alexsey, you can see right away that both will have their hearts broken, unless there is some serious intervention, mostly because while she is trying to manipulate his feelings, her own are sinking deeper and deeper into her heart.  
The Prince Who Loved Me, while set in the days gone by, could just as easily be a story set in modern times; a tale of the damage that misconceptions and assumptions can cause, along with the drama of a woman trying to find her way in a world where she doesn’t fit in and a man trying to reconcile his duty and his heart’s desires.  Bronwyn was an interesting character, reminding me of many a great historical heroine, with a tough outer shell, determination in spades, and a soft and loving nature underneath.  Alexsey was an arrogant mule, but sexy as hell for it, using his not-inconsiderable seductive skills to give Bronwyn the adventure of her life and teaching her that being independent doesn’t necessarily mean being alone, while learning the true meaning of love from her.  Alexsey is a passionate man and when he sets his mind to seduce Bronwyn there is no denying him, the heat that stirs between them threatening to burn the reader right along with them.  And when tragedy threatens their perfectly planned relationship, only by overcoming the naysayers in their lives and proving to each other the depth of their love do they have a chance to reach their happy ending.   I am seriously dying to see what other trouble these princes can get into and just what their lovely and clever as hell Grandmother Natasha will do to keep them in line and find them their perfect matches.   Another great series by Karen Hawkins in the making.
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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