Genre: historical romance.
Prince Alexsey Romanovin enjoys his carefree life, flirting—and more—with every lovely lady who crosses his path. But when the interfering Grand Duchess Natasha decides it’s time for her grandson to wed, Alexsey finds himself in Scotland, determined to foil her plans. Brainy, bookish, and bespectacled, Bronwyn Murdoch seems the perfect answer—she isn’t at all to the duchess’ taste.
Living at the beck and call of her ambitious stepmother and social butterfly stepsisters, Bronwyn has little time for a handsome flirt—no matter how intoxicating his kisses are. After all, no spoiled, arrogant prince would be seriously interested in a firm-minded female like herself. So . . . wouldn’t it be fun to turn his “game” upside down and prove that an ordinary woman can bring a prince to his knees? (Goodreads)
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My rating: 3.5/5.
I will probably always auto-buy Karen Hawkins’ books. They are my favourite kind of historical romance – light and fluffly with enough substance and humour to make for a very, very entertaining read. That said, this one was good, but not my favourite. I’ve done a mini review of one that embodies all that I love about her writing, The Taming of a Scottish Princess, so if you’re looking for a place to start, I’d go with this Hurst amulet series, not The Oxenburg Princes.
So what made me rate this one a bit lower despite the fact that Hawkins’ writing is still spot-on?
I didn’t particularly care for the hero. And since reading romance is all about falling for the hero (isn’t it?), that’s where my main problem lies. Alexsey is a prince and is used to getting what he wants – and is a bit of a douche because of it. It doesn’t help that Bron (the heroine) is wildly attracted to the man; resisting him is really out of the question and this just supports the very good opinion he has of himself. I missed some flaws to his character or… I don’t know, something more.
Other than that, I also missed some drama. Ugh, I know, I just said that I like my romances light and fluffy, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some conflict! There was some usual tension and indecision on both sides, but there was never really any doubt as to the protagonists’ final decision. I mean, I know that in romance, the final decision is “happily ever after” in some 95 % of cases, but still. I like to see some indecision, internal struggles and such.
But I really liked the spin on the Cinderella theme – I haven’t seen one quite like this before and I think it’s actually very forward for a genre where tropes are a must and innovation is usually frowned upon. I can’t really say much more than this without giving away too much, sorry.
All in all, I’d still heartily recommend this novel to all lovers of Karen Hawkins and historical romance, but if you’re new to the genre, start somewhere else and work your way up to this one once you’ve fallen in love with her writing. Since this is the beginning of a series and this prince has several brothers, I think we’re looking at wonderful entertainment in the near future. I can’t wait!
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Have you read any good historical romances lately? I’d love a recomemndation! :)