Monday, 22 August 2011

Review: The Rogue's Princess by Eve Edwards

1586 – London, England. Sixteen-year-old Mercy Hart is the daughter of one of London’s richest – and strictest – cloth merchants. Kit Turner is an actor and the illegitimate son of the late Earl of Dorset. A chance encounter finds Kit falling for the beautiful Mercy’s charms, but their love is forbidden. A merchant’s daughter and a vagabond – it simply cannot be. If Mercy chooses Kit she must renounce her family name and leave her home. Will she favour duty over true love, or will she give Kit his heart’s desire?

Eve Edwards Elizabethan romance series – how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1)   The research that has gone into these. So often historical romance these days is riddled with modernisms, that make you feel like you’ve just been catapulted back to the twenty first century at a most unfortunate moment. Edwards has done so much research it makes my head spin. Not only are the clothes and speech spot on, but the whole feel of the place is just perfect. It’s the first time I’ve read a well-researched Elizabethan young adult series that has remained consistent throughout.

2)   The boys. We’re faced with a family of roguish, but not too much, brothers, and boy are they handsome. It’s not just all about the looks though, they’re simply so romantic, and they do the most romantic things, and it makes me grin like an idiot if I’m reading in public.

3)   Spunky female characters. The first two books had fabulous headstrong, independent women who knew what they wanted, but also knew what was realistic. They weren’t afraid to fight for what they wanted, yet they still function within the social confines of the day. Edwards treads a very fine line with her girls, and it’s a thing of beauty to watch. However, I wasn’t so fussed on Mercy in this book. She was so meek and downtrodden. She does eventually learn to stand up for what she wants, but it takes her a while to see how under her father’s influence she really is. So it took me a while to warm up to her, and her transformation was quite sudden, but she was a good strong character that was believable, if not entirely my cup of tea.

4)   It’s not all about the romance. This has been true to a degree in the first two books, but it has never been so apparent as in this one. The romance was a nice slow burn – it gave the ‘love at first sight’ a more believable undercurrent, because it stands the test of all the things that happen to them. But the romance almost takes a backseat to the history happening around them. The plot on the Queens life is superbly constructed and fits in brilliantly with the lovers rocky road to happiness. There is so much more to these books than a pretty boy and a swooning girl – there is danger and politics and a whole mix of realism that just makes these books a cut above the rest.

5)   The fact that in amongst all that there is still at the heart a beautiful fluffy romance. These are just on the cusp of Young Adult – there’s a little bit more than kissing, but no hanky panky that would mark these as unsuitable; I’d probably say 14 and above would enjoy this.
Edwards does fluff, she does the beautiful poetic moments and the ones that make you melt. Kit really was a true romantic, showing that even the most devilish rogue can change his ways for the love of his life.

I love this series, I cannot recommend it enough to anyone who is after a beautifully written and researched historical romance for young adult. I just hope that now Tobias has grown up we get a book out of him… And then maybe the youngest Lacey… 

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