Dear Ms. Hoyt:
I’ve come to the realization that your books are not really historicals, but rather fairy tales set in the mid 1700s. As such, this story need not abide by ordinary societal rules which may restrict the fair maiden from her reward with a servant. This book, like the last one, is about sleeping beauty awakening to her womanhood and then rising from her bespelled bed to assist the knight in slaying dragons and capturing her happy ever after. This time, though, the knight wears the disguise of the maiden’s land steward.
Lady Georgina Maitland is an older lady, firmly set on the shelf. She is single by choice for as the daughter of an Earl with a family fortune, Lady Georgina was frequently courted and proposed to. She always found someone else was a better match for her suitor and this dreamy and somewhat flighty woman who loved fairy tales found herself alone at the age of 28.
While traveling to view an inherited property, Lady Georgina takes a personal interest in her land steward, Harold Pye. Harry is the son of a land steward who has some strong but disturbing ties to Lady Georgina’s neighbor. Harry knows better than to get involved with Lady Georgina but she's persistent and he can't really resist her. Further, someone is poisoning nearby landowners sheep and Harry is the prime suspect.
But once Harry’s caught in Lady Georgina’s web, he’s a willing captive and is willing to stand up for Georgina and their right to be together, even in the face of familial pressure.
Tony coughed and started his horse. “Be that as it may, a gentleman doesn’t continue to press his attentions on a lady who can’t return them.”
“Then, as I see it, you have two problems, my lord,” Harry said.
Tony’s eyes narrowed.
“One, that the lady does, in fact, return my attentions, and two”–"Harry turned to meet the earl’s gaze–"”I am no gentleman.”
I loved both Harry and Lady Georgina and they really made the story. Harry was torn between what society deemed was proper and the strength of the growing tenderness between the two of them. Lady Georgina was a dreamy delight whose life eventually becomes as delightful as the fairy tales that she tells.
There are two major problems that drag this book down at the end. First, Georgina acts like a twit on two occassions leading to a Big (and foolish as they often are) Misunderstanding. Second, the suspense plot was weak. I suppose in keeping with the fairy tale theme, the villian had to be super villianous but I thought that the villian was more of a caricature than a character. I do wish that the societal differences between Lady Georgina and Harold were addressed a bit more. However, I think that those people who bought the Raven Prince will probably find this a good read. B-