Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

SETTING: Historical - Georgian era
TYPE: Straight Romance
PAGES: 384
SERIES: 3rd in the "Prince" series. The heroes of these three books are friends but the books really stand alone.


Country bred Lucy Craddock-Hayes is content with her quiet life. Until the day she trips over an unconscious man—a naked unconscious an—and loses her innocence forever.

Viscount Simon Iddesleigh was nearly beaten to death by his enemies. Now he’s hell-bent on vengeance. But as Lucy nurses him back to health, her honesty startles his jaded sensibilities—even as it ignites a desire that threatens to consume them both.

Charmed by Simon’s sly wit, urbane manners, and even his red-heeled shoes, Lucy falls hard and fast for him. Yet as his honor keeps him from ravishing her, his revenge sends his attackers to her door. As Simon wages war on his foes, Lucy wages her own war for his soul using the only weapon she has—her love…

Unless I read something very spectacular between now and the end of the year, TSP will most likely top my list of best historicals for 2007 in AAR's annual poll. I also made a place for it in my recently completed Top 100 Romances.

TSP had it all -- a dark tortured anti-hero, hot spicy sex scenes, and a wonderfully romantic ending which I've re-read 3 times as of this counting. However, the book had an edgy, gritty quality but was saved from being too serious by a fantastic hero and heroine. The cast of 3-D characters, including Simon's valet, and Lucy's father, a retire naval officer, were also well drawn.

Hoyt is a talented storyteller and I was engrossed from first page to last. This is another controversial book because lots of people may have issues with Simon's behavior in regards to his overwhelming need for vengeance against those who killed his brother. In fact, he goes over the top but I love this type of 'anti-hero' in the tradition of Anne Stuart, my favorite type as a matter of fact. His ultimate redemption at the end is all the sweeter. Never fear, he falls in love with the heroine, Lucy, from the start and treats her well although he fails to tell her the truth about his schemes for revenge until almost the end of the book.

Be warned that the level of violence portrayed in the duels may make some readers uncomfortable. I'm not fond of too much blood and guts myself. But to be fair I thought the duels were realistically portrayed.

Simon is a dark character but he is witty, clever and utterly charming and won my heart completely. Lucy is a down to earth country girl, and her calm demeanor and honesty are a perfect foil to Simon's sarcasm and teasing. But Lucy is also intelligent and sharp-tongued making the dialog between them a pleasure to read. The sex scenes are steamy too ... very erotic and emotional.

As in the previous two books there is a secondary story - a fairy tale about a Serpent Prince and magic and granting wishes - which Simon tells Lucy in bits and pieces throughout the book. It completely rounded out the book. I look forward to more from this author.



Dev said...

I'm in the first chapter of The Raven Prince now. I'm excited to read this trilogy ~ they all sound fabulous.

Zeek said...

This was my favorite of the 3 by far!

ReneeW said...

Dev: Oh, you lucky girl. I think I'd love to read all three again sometime.

Zeek: Me too, me too!

Stacy~ said...

I just bought all 3 and can't wait to get started. Maybe during Thanksgiving week. Great review, btw.

ReneeW said...

Stacy: Thanks! You'll have a fun reading weekend with these three.

Kristie (J) said...

Oh me too, me too on what you said. I loved this book and while Simon skated very close to that thin edge before going over - for me he managed to stay onside. Soon after reading TSP, I did a reread of Silk and Shadows which has a very similar kind of storyline.
For me, both books did a perfect job.

sula said...

ooh, I totally loved this book and for the reasons you listed. Simon was a great anti-hero. One of the things that I loved about him was that he was unashamed to admit his need for Lucy early on. Their marriage was not one of those tricky "we got married because we got caught snogging" things, and I thought that was a nice change.

Kristie and I apparently are sharing some sort of uni-brain because I too did a reread of Silk and Shadows recently. lol. If you haven't read it, it's definitely worth a look.

ReneeW said...

Kristie: Wow, I've had S&S on my wishlist a LOOONG time but I never got around to actually trying to find a copy. I'll get serious about finding it at the next UBS trip.

Sula: I agree with you about Simon and how Hoyt handled their marriage. She really is a talented writer. OK, now I'm really going to have to find a copy of S&S.

CindyS said...

I just ran out and bought this one! Squeeee!


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