Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Once again, Elizabeth Hoyt has given us unconventional characters in extraordinary circumstances, brought together in a truly lovely story.

Goats are dropping like flies all over Lord Silas Granville’s lands. Tempers are flaring, accusations being cast and Harry Pye is at the center of it all. He knows he’s being framed for the deaths and is determined to find out who the culprit is before Granville, who is also the Magistrate and long time enemy of the Pye family, can see him hanged. Harry is honorable, hard working, smart and sensible and everyone who knows him well knows he is not morally capable of the killings taking place, but money is influence and Silas Granville has plenty of both. And what does Harry have? Big problems. 

Georgina Maitland, also known as George, is young, single and wealthy. She’s savvy, independent and definitely a free thinker. She is also Harry Pye’s employer. She’s got her eye on her low-of-birth land manager, and not because of the rumors. Indeed, she’s got a case of the hots for Harry—and I can’t say as I blame her!

I really enjoyed the suspenseful storyline, the interrogation of suspects, the study of evidence and the way the whole thing played out. One again we’re given wonderful secondary characters who don’t bog down the story but rather, enhance it. As it was with the first book, Ms. Hoyt has included a fairytale, The Leopard Prince, which ties in beautifully with our story, and was every bit as entertaining. The sexual tension was very well done – not too much, not too little – and the scenes themselves were deliciously hot!

So why not 5 stars? Well, everything was going along great, having all of the makings of a 5 star read right up to near the end when things took a wrong turn and I was left wondering, what just happened? I don’t want to give away too much so I’ll only say that all through the book Harry was steady, consistent, reliable, dependable. And so was George—until she made a decision that was so far out in left field that I wondered if I was reading the same book, or if George had been kidnapped and replaced with some flighty little chit from another historical romance novel. And wow, I just don’t do well when that happens! I mean, I know it’s just a book, but I had become totally invested in the characters and with the stroke of a pen I went from cheering them on, hoping for their happily ever after,  to fervently hoping Harry would decide that maybe she wasn’t the woman for him after all. I mean, I could have accepted her action wholeheartedly had that been in keeping with her character, but as I said, right up until that moment she’d been savvy, dependable, intelligent, stable, grounded… and then, she simply was not. That aside, this was truly a wonderful read and I’m looking forward to not only wrapping up this trilogy with a read of The Serpent Prince but I can’t wait to dive into Elizabeth Hoyt’s The Legend of the Four Soldiers series.

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