The Princess and the Peer
I generally like to start reviews by listing what I liked in a book. While there are a few likable parts in this one, it was too much a chore to read the first half and find a connection to the story to even want to finish the book. The author spends too much time with the main characters dillydallying without purpose on frivolous activities rather than developing the romance.
Emma is the princess of a small European country, and in a boarding school in Scotland with other princesses. She is sent notice by her brother, the Regent of Rosewald, that her marriage has been arranged to an aging king of a neighboring country for political purposes. She is asked to leave school and await her brother’s arrival outside of London where they will eventually meet her future husband.
After waiting for days, Emma grows impatient and wants adventure one last time before she is bound in duty and a loveless marriage. On impulse, she runs away to London hoping to spend a week or two with a former teacher before returning home. Rather than head straight to the teacher’s house, Emma is caught up in the wonders of a crowded market place, where she is robbed in broad daylight. The only person to step up and help is Nick Gregory, Earl of Lyndhurst. Since Emma is left penniless after the robbery, Nick offers to drive her to her teacher’s home. Once there, Emma discovers that her teacher is out of town. Now without a place to go, Emma has no choice but to accept Nick’s offer for her to stay with him for a week or two.
The remainder of the story is about how they fall in love as they spend time sightseeing in London, Emma’s return to her family without telling Nick the truth of her identity, Nick’s eventual discovery of her identity, and their fight for their happy ending.
I truly felt I was accompanying a little child for various outings for the first half of the book. There is very little character development, so Emma comes off as an immature princess who does not think through the consequences of her actions and believes a generous stranger should be her host for any and all activities she wants to indulge in. I didn’t dislike her, but I did not like her either. Emma’s tendency to lie, hide behind people, and run away from situations did not help her cause much with this reader.
Nick comes across as a nice man. He has newly inherited his wealth, and he is generous in sharing its privilege. He is as considerate to his aging aunt as he is to Emma, whom he believes to be an out-of-work governess. Once he realizes he loves Emma and is loved in return, he is not afraid of the rank or influence of the Royals in opposition to gain her hand.
We get a glimpse of the other two princesses that will make up this trilogy. I am rather interested in Ariadne’s story. She had spirit, gumption, and heart. We also meet Emma’s family later in the story. They are quite an interesting lot – arrogant, extravagant, and sometimes scheming, yet understanding and protective of each other.
As a Regency lover, I can confirm that Ms. Warren has done her homework in adding details to the time period. This is not a wallpaper Regency; you will learn a few things about the events and places around London at that time. If only Ms. Warren had weaved in the magic of the love story earlier and stronger into the book, the story would have been at a completely different level.