Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Leopard Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt



Book Description:
England, 1760

THE ONE THING A LADY MUST NEVER DO

Wealthy Lady Georgina Maitland doesn't want a husband, though she could use a good steward to run her estates. One look at Harry Pye, and Georgina knows she's not just dealing with a servant, but a man.

IS FALL IN LOVE...

Harry has known many aristocrats--including one particular nobleman who is his sworn enemy. But Harry has never met a beautiful lady so independent, uninhibited, and eager to be in his arms.

WITH HER SERVANT.

Still, it's impossible to conduct a discreet liaison when poisoned sheep, murdered villagers, and an enraged magistrate have the county in an uproar. The locals blame Harry for everything. Soon it's all Georgina can do to keep her head above water and Harry's out of the noose...without missing another night of love.


I really loved this story, second in the Princes Trilogy by Elizabeth Hoyt, I loved her first book The Raven Prince, but I liked this one even more. Good plot, hot sex and it was amusing and fast paced, it kept my interest, even though I've been so bogged down with work these days and have barely had time for reading except just before falling asleep at night. Still, I wholeheartedly recommend this romance for those of you that enjoy historicals set during Georgian times in England.

George, also known as Lady Georgina Maitland, is an independent, single woman of twenty eight years. Not surprising she takes on a man's name, but she is unmistakably highly feminine. She has inherited her wealth and is in need of a steward. She has hired Harry Pye, a non descript quiet man who does his job well. George hasn't really thought about him all that much until they have to spend the night together due to the fact her carriage has broken down, stuck in the mud en route to her estates in Yorkshire. They find shelter together in an old cottage and are alone for a whole night. Their night is innocent enough and Pye is the perfect gentleman, even though he is not quite the gentleman outwardly or inwardly. Pye is not all that he seems to be, though we don't know what his background is until the story develops more. He's strong and resourceful, he knows how to take care of himself. He's no pushover, though he must remain polite and subservient to his employer, Lady Georgina. In any case, no hanky panky takes place, but George does seem to notice him more as a man and takes an interest in him in more than just an employer/employee way.

As soon as she arrives the next day at her estate, bedraggled and travel weary, she learns that there is a mystery going on in the area. Sheep on a neighbors estate are being mysteriously poisoned and the accused is her steward, Harry Pye! Why would he be accused of such a thing? As it turns out, he has a dark history with the owner of the aforementioned estate, Lord Granville, a crude and unfeeling jerk of a landlord who has quite a few illegitimate sons in the area, though most unacknowledged. Granville is someone you would not be sorry to see die. He has two grown sons and is out to get Harry and see that he is prosecuted and hanged for killing the sheep. George is not about to let this happen to her steward, especially now that she's starting to see him through different eyes - she's taking a shine to him - especially after he impulsively gives her a searing kiss she can't forget. Oh my!

She basically foists herself upon him and the two of them together try to unravel the mystery of the poisoned sheep and get to the bottom of who is trying to frame Harry. More passionate kisses and an eventual affair makes for hot reading *fans self* Again, Hoyt takes on an unconventional love affair between a commoner and an aristocrat, only turning the tables and giving George the usual man's role as the pursuer in this relationship. I loved reading about how their love blossoms, yet they must both make hard and realistic decisions about their affair. Stop it, get married - or what? I loved George as a character. She has a will of her own, she's kind of spunky, but still a lady, yet she wants Harry, despite knowing it's really not the thing to sleep with your steward! She's got to make a decision about him. Does she love him enough? Will he even marry her if she wants to marry him? He has his pride. Harry is a mystery for a good part of the book. What is his real story, and who is he really? He's quiet and thoughtful, knows how to carve small little animals out of wood and is an adept lover. He cares a lot for George, more than he wants to admit, he knows only too well that it's dynamite to be "tupping" her, yet he can't stop himself. They are both from such different social backgrounds, how can it possibly work?

Still, aside from this conundrum, the story has it's amusing moments. George's younger brothers who come to Yorkshire to rescue her away from that bounder, Pye, add some comic relief and there are many different odd characters we meet along the way. I felt like I was right there in Yorkshire, the colloquialisms, the accents, the descriptions - they all sounded authentic and gave the book a lot of local color. Hoyt has a flair for dialogue and flavor for the period. Aside, from the fact that in real life a couple of this sort could never be received in high society, I was rooting for them and I can assure you it all ends happily with an exciting and very satisfying ending. *sigh* From start to finish this was a well done romance, tasteful, sexy, funny and well written with an interesting plotline with a mystery in it.

In addition, there is the side story of the Leopard Prince, the fairy tale that George recites to Harry through the course of the story that parallels this story slightly. Not as good as the fairy tale in The Raven Prince, but not bad.

I'm very pleased I read this, and am looking foward to reading The Serpent Prince, the last of the three. A worthwhile series to pick up and read!

4.5/5

8 comments:

Patti said...

Wow! I liked this review, so I checked your review of the first book and am definitely interested! Great review, will absolutely put in my TBR.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

That's great Patti - I hope you like them as much I as do, I'll be surprised if you don't! I'm glad my review got you to add it to your TBR list!

Joanne said...

Hey, Julie - Sorry to hear work has been busy and leaving little time for reading. We have one more week of summer vacation, and then school starts. Even though I work only part-time, all the after school activities of my two kids will keep me hopping until night, so my leisure reading time is going to be vastly cut back, too. That's ok - I'm clearing my calendar for only one book in September! ;)

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Thanks Joanne, I used to to work part time, but my company wanted me to go full time, so as of July 1st I went full time - hence I'm down to a book a week! I'm getting used to it, but I miss my old part time hours!

Blodeuedd said...

Hi Julie,
Great review, and you sure enjoyed it. Now I got a bit interested too.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Blodeuedd, give it a try, you might like it, I thought it was very well done, funny, lively and sexy!

A Self-Proclaimed Archival Beauty said...

glad u liked it! The Leopard Prince is my favorite in the series...

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

ASPAB - glad to hear someone else liked it best too (although that does not bode well for the 3rd in the series)!

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