Saturday, November 23, 2013

Saturday Review: Lost in a Royal Kiss

Lost in a Royal Kiss
By Vanessa Kelly
Publisher: Zebra
Release Date: 
November 26, 2013

Linnet St. Clare may look like an angel, but there is nothing angelic about her temper or her determination. She has had to be strong. When her father’s death meant her mother’s accepting a position as sub-governess in the royal household, Linnet assumed responsibility for her younger brother and sister. Linnet’s mother may be gently pushing her towards marriage, but Linnet herself has accepted that she is destined for spinsterhood because she can’t leave her siblings. So fierce has she become in her role as caretaker and protector that she frightens off prospective suitors. What Linnet doesn’t yet know is that one man refuses to be frightened off. Indeed, he has decided Linnet is exactly whom he wants as his wife.

As King George’s liaison to the Home Office, Sir Anthony Tait is a powerful man at Court. He is a man accustomed to seeing his plans reach fruition, and no plan is more important to him than making Linnet his wife. Linnet’s independence and competence that make others look askance just make Sir Anthony all the more certain she is the one for him. If gaining her hand requires subterfuge, he is persuaded that his and Linnet’s happiness will be worth the unusual exercise of his skills.

Linnet is comfortable taking charge, but when Dominic Hunter, the orphaned son of a butcher who has been reared with the royal princes due to the queen’s misguided efforts at a social experiment, attacks Prince Ernest, Linnet knows she must have help to protect young Dominic from the consequences of his folly. She turns to Sir Anthony for help because she trusts his integrity and compassion, she knows he will understand Dominic’s isolation, and she believes he has the power to act.

As Linnet and Sir Anthony work together to solve the problems of Dominic and others, they must balance the call on their consciences with the need for pragmatism and avoiding offense to the royal family. Can they find the time to respond to the call of their own hearts in the midst of their maneuvering for the good of others?

Lost in a Royal Kiss is a prequel to Vanessa Kelly’s new series The Renegade Royals. Set in 1786, a quarter century before the Regency, it introduces fourteen-year-old Dominic Hunter and the events that shaped him into the man readers will encounter in the first two books of the series. It also gives readers a delightful Georgian love story. Linnet is an endearing heroine—strong without becoming a modern miss in costume, caring, and stubborn with a willingness to sacrifice for what she considers the right thing. Anthony is a man at ease with his power but uncorrupted by it. He understands himself, and he understands Linnet. One of the things I liked best about the story is that both Linnet and Anthony understand the other better than anyone realizes.
Because the two are so tied to court life, readers get an unusually close look at the privileges and precariousness of those who are part of court circles. It is a different setting and one I really enjoyed.

A good prequel should give the reader an engaging story on its own merits and whet the reader’s appetite for the larger story. Lost in a Royal Kiss succeeds on both counts. I give the novella high marks, and I eagerly await the Regency-set historicals Secrets of a Royal Bodyguard (January 7, 2014) and Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom (April 1, 2014).

I’ve been a fan of Georgian romances since I read Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades. I have since read and loved Georgians by Patricia Veryan, Jo Beverley, Eloisa James, and Elizabeth Hoyt among others. What’s your favorite Georgian romance?


Vanessa Kelly said...

Janga, thank you so much for thoughtful review. I must say, I enjoyed visiting the Georgian Era very much! I love all the authors you mention - Georgette Heyer's The Talisman Ring is one of my favorite Georgian romances, and Elizabeth Hoyt's Maiden Lane series is simply fantastic!

Janga said...

I loved reading it, Vanessa. And what fun Heyer's The Talisman Ring is! I'll always be grateful that it added ventre à terre to my vocabulary.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Yes! I love Sally Thane's continual sending up of that phrase. I think she's one of my favorite characters in romance literature.