Don't I KNOW you?
I finished THE LEOPARD PRINCE by Elizabeth Hoyt the other night which is book two of Ms. Hoyt's Prince trilogy. I read SERPENT PRINCE before I read LEOPARD PRINCE which was out of sequence, but it didn't matter a jot. They were both very satisfying reads meaning that I got what I was expecting after reading several good reviews around Romancelandia. Sometimes after reading lots of good buzz I build the book up too much and get disappointed. Not so this time.
Closing the cover on THE LEOPARD PRINCE I started thinking about what really grabbed me about Ms. Hoyt's books. I realized that what I identified with most was the "knowing" or recognition the lovers had for one another. You know what I mean don't you? That feeling when you meet someone and recognize or "just know" they are going to be a part of your life? That "Ahhhhh. Yessssss." moment? Have you ever met someone and just felt like they were a perfect fit like two puzzle pieces interlocking or the right pair of shoes? Just made for you. This doesn't only apply to romantic relationships either. I've felt this way when I met people who became dear friends as well.
The recognition the characters have for one another in both THE LEOPARD PRINCE and THE SERPENT PRINCE is subtle. My favorite kind. There's unspoken respect and admiration between the H/H. Ms. Hoyt's stories unfold with the hero and heroine knowing they connect. Longing to be together. Working to be together sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly. But they both know and feel the connection. They recognize the importance of the other person to their life and well being. They know that what ever came before they met is over. They both acknowledge, mostly through internal dialogue, that their lives will be different regardless if they end up together or not.
Recognition. Knowing you've met "the one." Not in a big melodramatic way, but in a deep wondrous and sometimes painful way. I just love that stuff, don't you? Because falling in love is as torturous as it is wondrous. Terrifying and exhilarating. Delight and despair. Falling in love is rarely a peaceful experience whether you take a fast train or a stroll.
The heroines in all three of Ms. Hoyt's books are intelligent and struggle to be independent. Realistically none of them have a real desire to buck or live outside society no matter how much they might disagree with the limitations of their times, 1760 England. No matter how much women were suppressed, Ms. Hoyt's books recognize and acknowledge how disastrous it would be to live outside society's stricture...especially for a woman. It's a pet peeve of mine when a book has a female character decide to flout the society or historical time period she's in and the writer has no consequences for those choices. Even in our more (supposedly) open society and time period people are very judgmental and unforgiving of those who are "different". Can you imagine what it would have been like 150 years ago? In England?
I enjoyed THE RAVEN PRINCE (first book) very much for its originality even though I procrastinated reading it due to references to a fairy tale in the title and the blurb. I bought THE LEOPARD PRINCE when it came out and set it aside in my TBR despite all the good things I read about it. Then THE SERPENT PRINCE came out. As frequent readers here know I started the book and put it aside and read a couple of others. When I picked it up to give it another go last week I couldn't put the darn thing down. Thankfully I had THE LEOPARD PRINCE on hand to follow it up.
I'm sharing this with you because I want you to know that if you have these books don't procrastinate like I did! You'll find good solid characters you can care about. A reasonable conflict in each of them, although I would say her books are very character driven. The H/H are equally strong without seeming out of place in their historical setting. There's plenty of romance and sizzle too. So go on...give them a try. If you are like me and enjoy escaping into a good historical once in a while, you won't be sorry.
Excerpt THE RAVEN PRINCE
Excerpt THE LEOPARD PRINCE
Excerpt THE SERPENT PRINCE