Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Raven Prince - Elizabeth Hoyt

The Raven Prince
Elizabeth Hoyt
Warner Forever

Historical Romance

Anna Wren, a 31-year-old widow in 1760 England faces dire financial circumstances. Living in a small house with her mother-in-law, the women have made every economy possible, but still need some form of income. Anna, the daughter of a vicar who believed in education for all children, calls around at various homes in the village, searching for a position. She’s about to give up when she meets Felix Hopple, the estate manager of Ravenhill Abbey. It seems that the Earl is in need of a secretary. Anna begins work, transcribing papers while the Earl is away.

When Edward de Raaf, Earl of Swartingham, arrives home, he is astonished to see a woman working in his library. Truth be told, his temper has driven off two secretaries in as many months, and he needs a paper transcribed for a presentation at the Agrarian Society, so he allows her to stay. The two met before, briefly, and it was an uncomfortable encounter. Anna thinks Edward is unattractive and rude; Edward thinks Anna is plain and mousy. But she has more than enough spine to stand up to his displays of temper; something he admires. Anna realizes that she’s attracted to the man, and makes arrangements for a much more intimate encounter with him at a masked ball.

THE RAVEN PRINCE is an amazing debut novel. I read THE LEOPARD PRINCE first, loved it, and immediately wanted to find this one. Any historical inaccuracies are completely swept away by the depth of characterization and the story, refreshingly free of silly romance clichés, that unfolds between Anna and Edward. Both are widowed, both are mature adults, and both have been hurt by life. Anna is more practical, of necessity. Edward lashes out at people around him. Little by little, the two grow closer, despite their apparent differences. The love story between the two is completely believable and wonderful to watch. The story of the Raven Prince is told bit by bit at the beginning of each chapter. This is one of those rare books that will keep you spellbound, first page to last.

Rating: 8
November 2006
ISBN# 978-0-446-61847-2 (paperback)


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