The Prince's Bride
If you’re a fan of humorous historical romance, Victoria Alexander’s latest is probably already on your TBB (to-be-bought) list. If you’re afraid of books with forced humor and too much fluff, you won’t find that here, where the marriage of convenience gets an original twist.
Lady Jocelyn Shelton has finally done it. Her lifelong dream of becoming a real princess is about to come true. Crown Prince Alexei of Avalonia has been paying court to Jocelyn and has now requested that they meet privately, and a smug Jocelyn knows that all of Society, like her, is just waiting for the prince to propose. Except that it doesn’t quite go as planned. Jocelyn runs into not one, but two men (she can’t quite tell who they are, because her sight is not good) and ends up almost dead when a knife is hurled at her. She is rescued by Randall, Viscount Beaumont, and before she knows it, because the danger has not ended with that one knife, Jocelyn finds herself married to Rand and on her way with him to Worthington, his uncle’s castle.
Needless to say, this is not what Jocelyn had in mind. She has not perfected the art of using her charms in order to end up married to a mere viscount and her reaction is mostly understandable, although I did want to smack her when she kept saying she’d rather be dead than married to Rand. Rand’s first impression of his wife is not that good, either, although soon he begins to realize that Jocelyn is not quite the shallow and spoiled woman he’s thought her to be, a fact that surprises Jocelyn as well.
Their marriage of necessity soon becomes a true marriage, but there are secrets, and the one Rand is keeping is central to the story and key to his and Jocelyn’s future, at least the near future. It involves Prince Alexei, who is seeking not only Rand’s help, but also the Heavens of Avalonia, a set of jewels that could strengthen Alexei’s position as heir to the throne. Jocelyn is keeping a secret, too, and there were moments where they both could have avoided arguments or misunderstandings. They profess to love and trust each other, but in the last chapter, Jocelyn is wondering if Rand will want her as his wife.
There were many enjoyable moments in The Prince’s Bride, including the relationship between Jocelyn and her sisters Marianne and the very witty Becky, whom I hope gets a book of her own. The secondary characters are charming, especially Uncle Nigel, the old rake who has opinions on the virtues of women and gives Rand marital advice. On the down side, we have a villain who isn’t, then is, then isn’t, a baddie, and a journey in disguise that almost falls into slapstick, which is unnecessary since the book is already filled with a wonderful and warm wit.
Victoria Alexander has done very nicely for herself since making the move to Avon. If you’ve been looking for a historical filled with charm, a sexy and honorable hero, and a heroine who becomes more than the sum of her parts, you should give The Prince’s Bride a read.