Sunday, August 16, 2015

ARC Review: The Prince and I

The Prince and I (The Oxenburg Princes #2)

by Karen Hawkins


 Gregori Romanovin, Oxenburg’s warrior prince, is escorting his grandmother to a house party deep in the Highlands when he and his entourage are robbed at sword point by a group of ruffians led by a man the locals have dubbed “The Scottish Robin Hood.” The battle-savvy prince instantly realizes there’s something different about this thief, and it’s not just the Scottish accent—it’s the fact that “he” is really a “she.”
Lady Murian, a young widow out for revenge against the powerful earl who killed her husband and stole his birthright, is now living in the woods with her family’s banished retainers. To stay alive, she and her band of men rob rich nobles coming to visit the evil earl. But when she ambushes the Prince of Oxenburg’s golden coach, she gets far more than she expected. For when the prince uncovers her true identity, she’s afraid that he might be the real thief…of her heart.

Themes: historical, Scotland!
Rating: 4.25 stars
Heat Rating:
 Another prince has found his princess, in probably the most unexpected of places, as he travels through Scotland with his eccentric grandmother.  I have been a fan of Karen’s since the first story I read by her, and this new series revolving around the Princes of the fictional country of Oxenburg keep me coming back for more and wondering what outrageous events these men will find themselves wrapped up in next.  If you have missed the previous stories about these brothers, you are greatly missing out IMHO, but you will be fine with this story because Karen truly writes them as standalones, with all the details you need to follow along.  Max and Murian’s story is full of drama, danger, laughter, and love and it was interesting to see her school him in what it really takes to be a hero for her.  The Robin Hood themed story has some funny twists though as Max finds a way to help Murian and the ways they deal with the attraction between them.  I am looking forward to seeing what happens in the coming stories and what types of mates the rest of the princes find for themselves. 
Max is beyond disgruntled at having to transport and protect his borderline crazy grandmother as she travels to the country home of a man that neither of them can really stand, especially when she won’t tell him why they have to make the journey.  When they are set-upon by a group of thieves, Max finds himself facing the dilemma of hungry villagers in need and giving up a few of their goods is within his capability.  However things go awry when he finds himself challenged by the leader of the troupe, someone that almost bests him, but that turns out to be a most unexpected vision.  Lady Murian has done her best by her people since the death of her husband, their Laird, and the subsequent ousting of her people from their homes.  Determined to give everything to her people she captures Max’s attention and he is willing to help her reach her goals, but the attraction between them is just to irresistible and soon they find themselves falling for one another, an impossible situation when neither is willing to compromise their futures.  Can they find a way to be together and still do what’s right by both of their people?
Max was the quintessential man of his time and station—arrogant and all-knowing—but his sweetness and willingness to embrace his people as equals is not to be neglected.  I really liked him, even if at times his overbearing nature was enough to drive Murian insane, he always has the best interests of others at heart.  While I could see that he had issues giving up control, he often listens closely to Murian and was able to embrace an equal partnership with her.  The love that develops between them is at turns intense with sensuality and light with laughter, but once they realize the love they share, they both try to find a way to come together for life.  Lady Murian is a woman totally out of time; following the paths of her male counterparts and willing to give her all for her people, she would have been an awesome warrior princess in the medieval past or a kick ass military woman in this age.  She was sweet when she was able to let down her guard with Max and show her softer side, but when she steps up to be in charge of her people and their needs, her inner strength shines brightly.  I think so far that Murian is my favorite new princess of Oxenburg and I cannot wait to see how she shakes up the royal family in coming novels. 
This story might have seemed like the classic retelling of the Robin Hood story, but though there are some similarities, the differences are enough to keep you interested and wondering what will happen next.  Max and Murian are a perfectly matched couple, butting heads and bruising egos, even while tenderly caring for each other’s hearts and souls as they fall in love.  Max is a strong and dedicated warrior, but at the same time he is a man of the people, working alongside his men on everyday tasks, while taking their opinions into account just as much as his own.  Lady Murian has had a challenging life, with a lot of loss and sadness, but she doesn’t let that keep her from doing what she thinks is best for her friends and people.  I really enjoyed seeing her battling and strategizing right alongside Max, and then coming home to take him into her arms as her lover.  There was plenty of wit, laughter, and surprise that you never know what will be said or done next.  I cannot wait to see whose story is next and find out what they will go through to find their Princess and turn her into their queen. Keep the magic coming Karen, and I will keep thinking of you as the queen of Scottish Romance. 
*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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