As the owner and admirer of several of Christina Dodd’s Governess Series books, when I saw this title available in trade paperback at my library I checked it out without reading the summary. The title should have been a dead giveaway that it wouldn’t be one of my favorites as I am not a huge fan of the “made up royalty” characters in my romance novels. If the setting of the story is all true, but the two main characters are a Prince and Princess of fake kingdoms high in the French Alps? I just don’t enjoy it as much.
If a story is set up from the beginning as a fantasy or science fiction world in which there is a King of America and Queen of Mexico, or secret Wizard school and muggles who don’t know about magic, or vampires and werewolves co-exist with humans then my brain flips a switch as soon as I read the first page and my imagination accepts every word and generates lovely images and scenes in my head as I read. But for some reason if the setting of a story is historically factual in every way but the hero and heroine could not have existed, my imagination does not run smoothly.
I love the fantasy of romance novels, with the perfect endings, and have no idea why my imagination has no trouble accepting any amount of absurd situations, but not the Price/Princess, so I usually stay away from those plot lines.
For the rest of my thoughts please read on:
Publisher’s Weekly summed The Prince Kidnaps a Bride as:
Dodd’s fine, final installment in her Lost Princess series recounts the story of Crown Princess Sorcha of the tiny European country Beaumontagne. Forced into hiding in a Scottish convent 10 years earlier, when revolutionaries threatened her country, the winter of 1810 sees Sorcha is returning home after learning that her domineering grandmother has control of the country. Fearing assassins, Sorcha leaves the convent disguised as a man, but it isn’t long before a wayward, dull-witted fisherman named Arnou joins up to help protect her on the journey. Unbeknownst to Sorcha, Arnou is actually Prince Rainger, the arrogant young man to whom Sorcha was betrothed at birth. After years of imprisonment by a cruel usurper—years that gave rise to rumors of his death—Rainger is determined to win back his kingdom and take Princess Sorcha for his wife. As the journey rolls on, secrets are revealed and passions are succumbed to, building swiftly toward Rainger’s confrontation with his nemesis. Dodd, long a force in historical romance, does not disappoint with her latest, expertly combining compelling romance, intelligent dialogue and a page-turning plot.
There were also a few other points in The Prince Kidnaps a Bride that did not sit well with me. Dodd did not let the reader know that Arnou was Price Rainger from the beginning, my imagination ran wild with her descriptions of him as “dull witted” and slow, rendering him totally unattractive in my mind, like Quasi modo or Igor for some reason were totally stuck in my head. I did not think Arnou could be the Hero so every time another male character was mentioned I wondered if he would be the Hero. Even after Dodd let the reader into Arnou’s secret as Prince Rainger, Sorcha didn’t know and when she first started feeling attracted to smelly, fishey, dim, Arnou all I could think was “Ew, gross, come on Sorcha, you are a fake Princess. How could you?”
The only other two things I will say that bothered me were:
- On her travels Sorcha hung out at a bordello with prostitutes for 2 hours, she had been totally naïve and scared of all things sex related when she went in, but after just talking to them and hearing descriptions of “The Act” she became a sexpert and immediately was very confident to use a bunch of tricks on Rainger.
- In the climax Rainger battles the villain in a sword duel in where Rainger is seriously wounded, down to the BONE (ew, when I read that I shuddered imaging the sound and feel the sword would make as it scraped his bone) and after the duel is over, with blood dripping down his arm, Rainger starts to kneel and confess his undying love for Sorcha. Yeah, it better be undying love because you are about to DIE! In her inner monologue Sorcha even recognizes that he is possibly mortally injured but she lets him keep going. Pleeeease patch him up next time before he starts spouting poetry?
It was still a fun, light read, and was fine to keep me entertained on the metro to and from work. I especially enjoyed the displays of Sorcha’s intelligence and wit she learned from her Grandmama and from her time at the Abbey. Although this is the third and final book in a series, it was stand-alone, I didn’t feel like I needed to read the first two at all, and I don’t think I will go back and read them anyways.
While I wouldn’t recommend The Prince Kidnaps a Bride, it with a caveats of my own distaste for fake prince/princess stories, and that overall I would recommend Dodd as an author. D grade for this book individually.