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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Review: The Prince and I by Karen Hawkins

I think this marks only my third book by Karen Hawkins. Isn’t that sad? Her books are part of my Mount Everest-like list of books I am saving to buy. Geez, that sounds pretty bad doesn’t it? I’m picturing a huge pile of books that I have to scale. Anyway, has anyone read the first book in this series?

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: August 25, 2015

Max 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 hemight be the real thief…of her heart.

So, The Prince and I is basically a historical romance that starts when a group of thieves lead by “The Scottish Robin Hood” robs the coach of Oxenburg prince Max Romanovin. A bit of a scuffle ensues in which Max discovers that the leader of the merry band of thieves is a woman, not a man. Max then makes it his personal goal to find out more about her and the reason for her thievery.

Meanwhile, Lady Murian is out for revenge against the earl who killed her husband and stole his birthright, effectively leaving her homeless and penniless along with those loyal to her. To stay alive she and her band of men rob the rich nobles who are brave enough to visit the earl. When she and her group ambush the prince’s coach, she sets off a chain of events that could either restore what belongs to her people or get them all killed.

If the Lady Murian is modeled after Robin Hood, would that make Max the Maid Marion of the story? Ha, hardly. Max is a bold, dashing prince who would just as soon start a fight as end it, and Lady Murian is no damsel in distress, it was a match made in heaven! This is the second book in Karen Hawkins’ The Oxenburg Princes series (Yes, I missed the first one, boo to me) and it was fun!

I’m not gonna lie, The Prince and I was a long story and sometimes I felt that there were too many unnecessary scenes with Murian and her people repairing homes and such but the overall story had engaging characters, memorable scenes and a dash of humor here and there. Not to mention a romance between two head strong people who were used to calling the shots.

Max could have been an arrogant prince, in fact he bordered arrogance in the beginning but it quickly faded away to reveal a battle worn and somewhat depressed man. Who doesn’t love a soldier who is tired of blood and death but still has that deeply engrained need to protect the innocent? That was Max to a tee. Sometimes I forgot that he was a prince because his real persona is that of a soldier, a commander to be precise.

Murian is a feisty character but it’s clear she’s still a child in some ways. Instead of making me dislike her, I admired her. While other women her age were still finding their way into adulthood, she was already a widow, an outlaw and responsible for the wellbeing of a group of people. This woman had to grow up fast and take on roles that were most often associated with men and she was a natural born leader. The only thing about Murian that kind of irked me is that when she became involved with Max, she was more than happy to step back and let him take charge of everything. I could see that in some cases he had more experience since he was a soldier but these were her people, not his. She should have been more “hands on” and an equal to him when it came to discussing and executing plans.

Max and Murian’s romance is pretty slow to develop, the bigger issue in The Prince and I seemed to be keeping the people who were loyal to Murian alive and in overthrowing the earl that stole her home. I didn’t mind it so much because I was wrapped up in all the elements of the story. I wanted to know what happened to Murian’s husband, how it was that the earl took everything and why Max was on his way to visit the earl on the night he met Murian. It was clear Max didn’t like the earl yet his grandmother insisted they visit him at the estate.

Speaking of Max’s grandmother, I didn’t care for her at all. She was bossy, arrogant and rude. I couldn’t find a darn thing to like about this old woman! Most of the time grandmothers are meddling sure but they are, I don’t know, “grandmotherly.” This woman acted more like a petulant child used to having her every whim indulged by the people around her. Ugh, just thinking about her irritates me.

Overall though, The Prince and I is a dashing, exciting tale of romance, danger and mystery that shouldn’t be missed by romance fans. I had such fun reading about Murian’s deeds as a female bandit and watching her fall in love with someone who was worthy of her set my romantic heart a flutter.

Final Verdict: Time to hunt up the first book in the series.

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