Title: The Serpent Prince
Author: Elizabeth Hoyt
Type: Historical Romance
Series: Yes; third behind The Raven Prince, and The Leopard Prince
Why: I jumped on the bandwagon when blogger buzz elevated The Raven Prince to a must-read. I enjoyed that one so much that Hoyt’s Prince series became a must-buy.
To Save You Some Time: The Serpent Prince wraps up Hoyt’s Princes Trilogy. Next up is To Taste Temptation (May, 2008), book one in The Legend Of The Four Soldiers.
Also note, Hoyt writes contemporary romance as Julia Harper. Harper’s first book, Hot, will release in January 2008.
WHEN THE DEVIL MEETS AN ANGEL...Country bred Lucy Craddock-Hayes is content with her quiet life. Until the day she trips over an unconscious man-a naked unconscious man-and loses her innocence forever.
HE CAN TAKE HER TO HEAVEN...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.
OR TO HELL...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...
Power To Distract: Plenty. I’d forgotten how well Hoyt captivates. I’d also forgotten the emotional depth of her stories. It was this emotion that yanked me from reality into the story.
Heroine: Lucy is Hoyt’s third independent-minded heroine living her life out in relative obscurity. Unlike the first two however, Lucy bears no extra burden of responsibility save the running of her father’s household. She lives the life expected of her station, while patiently awaiting a marriage proposal from a vicar who has been courting her for three years.
Simon, of course, is the catalyst for change and watching Lucy’s reaction was both refreshing and entertaining. She doesn’t bloom under his attention. Hoyt’s story is not that clichéd. With Simon, Lucy simply enjoys being herself and being appreciated for herself. And no, she hasn’t been hiding her true self. It’s just that everyone else in her world is oblivious—in that single-minded, self-absorbed way. I felt a personal connection to Lucy on this point, hence my emotional and sensory reaction when Simon really sees her. And when she sees him, not a man she has ever envisioned for herself but one she cannot deny now that he is before her.
Hoyt gives the appearance of simply sitting back and letting these two characters fall into an awareness of each other; letting them fall in love without interference from her. It felt seamless, natural. Meant to be.
Hero: When Simon awakes to find Lucy hovering, he has that Ah, there you are moment and kicks off the whole fated to be together thing. Granted, his initial reaction to Lucy is fueled by lust, but the reader feels the rush nonetheless. It is erotic and heartwarming at the same time.
Unlike Lucy, his character is wrought with personal conflict. His blinding desire for revenge is in fact the only true conflict in the story. Hoyt does not however, use the conflict to unreasonably delay or prevent their marriage. Instead, she uses it to test the power of their love for one another. Classic and well done.
Story: Like my last emotional read, Caine’s Reckoning by Sarah McCarty, Hoyt’s The Serpent Prince is devoted primarily to the development of Simon and Lucy’s relationship. Like McCarty, Hoyt allows readers time for the emotional experience, without the clutter of too much action and intrigue. I appreciated the time and space; grateful for the chance to simply feel Simon and Lucy’s giddiness, their fear of being hurt, their hope against hope.
Emotional read. And excellent.