Monday, September 05, 2011

Prince of Scandal by Annie West

Prince of ScandalPrince of Scandal by Annie West

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Annie West, you did it again. You took a hero I was prepared to hate and made him a man I fell gaga over. I was thinking that Raul would be way too arrogant, entitled, remote, supercilious, and unlikable (but why did I think that since I've loved all your heroes?). Oh no. I think it took about ten minutes into reading this book for me to see the appeal of Prince Raul.

Let me preface this by saying I really don’t get that into royalty romances (except the sheikhs..class of their own). I don’t expect to relate to Harlequin Presents, but I really can’t relate to royal romances. But that’s not an issue at all with this book. Because this royal couple are just a man and a woman, falling in love. And it was a beautiful love story to read about.

I read this book earlier today, and then I read another book in which I was given the polar opposite of Raul (but we won’t go there). Raul is a freaking prince, heir to a Kingdom, and what a man (in every sense of the word)! He's thirty years going on sixty (more like a Sylvester Stallone sixty, mind you). Tradition and duty was drummed into his head since he was four. His entire life was lived in the public eye, and he was careful to keep control and to plan everything out, not feeling deeply. When he finds out that he will lose his kingdom if he doesn’t marry Luisa, he will do whatever is necessary to see that happen. And he is rather ruthless about it. He doesn’t expect to admire, desire, and deeply love his reluctant bride.

This is one of those stories that keeps me reaching for Harlequin Presents. All the passion, drama, exotic locations, with characters that I love and want to see fall in love with each other.

Luisa was such a sweet, wonderful woman. She was strong in a way that made her very accessible to me as a reader. I could see her insecurities and identify with them. I could see how she fell for Raul and wish her happy with him, hoping he would treasure her for the unique aspects that made her up, and not try to change her. She wasn’t confident of her abilities as a future queen, but she tried her best and stayed true to herself. The last thing she wanted was to go back to the country where her grandfather lived, after he rejected her mother and Luisa herself as unfit. But she did it to save her family and friend’s farms from foreclosure.

The love scenes were great, and I especially liked the wedding night scene. That was pretty hot! I could see why Luisa found Raul very hard to resist. I certainly can’t blame her!

My favorite scene was was when Raul thinks he’s lost Luisa, and he’s shaking, so overcome with emotion. At first, Luisa thinks it’s her shaking. She can’t imagine that he feels so deeply for her, as she does for him. For a man who has spent his entire life trying to control himself so he doesn’t make any more bad mistakes like he made in the past, that was very telling. No question how much he loved Luisa.

And I admit, for a girl who never went through a princess phase, the coronation scene had me sighing breathlessly, wishing I was the long-lost heir to a principality with an arranged marriage to a breathtakingly sexy prince like Raul.

I have gotten somewhat picky about handing out five star ratings lately. But this one definitely earned it. It was very romantic and emotional, and I loved the characters. When a writer has a down-to-earth girl imagining her coronation to her very own Prince Raul, she has definitely succeeded in writing a five star book.

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