Wednesday, February 20, 2013

REVIEW: The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Published by Forever of Hachette Book Group [2006]

The suggested theme for this month's TBR Challenge hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian is "recommended read." Most of the books on my shelves probably landed there because of reader recommendation, but I chose three that I recall being specifically recommended by fellow romance readers and asked you all to vote on which one I should read this month. The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt won by an overwhelming margin, so that's the one I read for this month's challenge. It has been on my shelves for six years or so by now and finally made the move from the TBR shelf to the read shelf.

Anna Wren is a childless widow who lives in a cottage with her mother-in-law and a young street urchin whom they took in as their servant. They have been living off her deceased husband's funds for the last several years and are running out of money. Anna looks for work and lands a position as a secretary for the wealthy Earl of Swartingham known for his pock scarred face and boorish ways.

Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, needs a new secretary--one who can tolerate his short temper and gruff demeanor. Family is important to him so he seeks a wife as he is the only one left in his family line and wants an heir.

Anna and Edward get off to a rough start after a brief encounter in the streets that leaves Anna nearly trampled by his horse and Edward on this bottom in the mud. She had no idea this rude aristocrat was the Earl and is then hired by the Earl's steward so imagine both of their surprise when they meet in his office days later. The Earl is surprised to see her again, yet the work she has been doing for him is up to par so he keeps her on. The two bicker often, but they soon come to enjoy the banter and each other's company. They talk, dine together and she even rides with him to take notes as they visit the farms in his earldom.

When Anna learns that the Earl is going to London to take care of his manly needs at a notorious brothel, Anna devises a plan to intercede and be the woman he encounters there-- in disguise, of course.

I honestly expected The Raven Prince to be a five star read since so many readers raved how much they looooved this book. I certainly enjoyed it, but not to the extent that I feel it merits such a stellar rating. Why? Well.. it was a good story with intelligent and likable characters and I was absolutely routing for the couple to get their happily ever after, but there were a few little things in the story that held it back from being an A read for me.

Anna is plain and prim, but outspoken to the Earl so this gets his attention as he's so used to people cowering from him and his pock-scarred face. So I suppose I can see that's the root of the Earl's attraction to Anna. However, I don't think Anna's attraction and affection towards the Earl was explored very well, other than the fact that he allowed, if not encouraged her, to do things that women were normally discouraged from doing, such as being knowledgeable about agriculture, riding horses and simply being a secretary! Although, maybe that's enough for a sex deprived widow in 1760 England.

I thought Anna's scheme to get into the brothel and pose as the Earl's intended prostitute a little bit unrealistic. Yes, it was a great idea, but it came together a little too easily and I have to wonder if it was something this prim widow really would have done? Would she really have gone to such daring measures after only knowing him for such a short time? I don't know if I was truly convinced that she was that attracted to him at that point. It was a fun scenario, nonetheless, and it certainly propelled the story in the desired direction, so I'm mostly letting it go as a major issue.

There are a few conflicts that stand in the way of Anna and Edward getting their happy ever after that I won't reveal because I wouldn't want to spoil anything for other readers, but in the end, things fell into place pretty quickly and easily without too much of a struggle. I suppose I was a tad disappointed at how things were wrapped up pretty neatly, but still--I enjoyed the story overall and plan to read the next two books in The Princes trilogy: The Leopard Prince and The Serpent Prince. I may as well--they're both on my TBR pile, too!

I gave The Raven Prince 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads.


You can visit author Elizabeth Hoyt at her website

Next month's TBR Challenge theme is "Series Catch-Up!" I've got a lot to choose from!

In what series are you the farthest behind?


  1. I liked this one, but it wasn't my favorite in the series. As for next month's read, I'll have to look around. I'm not sure what I have. Now doesn't that just tell you something? :)

  2. Ahh you hit the nail on the head about the easy resolution (that came out of nowhere) to that prostitute scenario, Christine. There are flaws in this read... absolutely. I mean if you think about it there's a lot of the "wallpaper" historical romance to this book too, right?

    But, but, but... I still love it. LOL! I love re-reading it too. I don't know what it is about it either. It might be ugly Edward and his rude attitude, or that I enjoy the building sexual tension in all those frustrated encounters between Edward and Anna while they work together. I never reviewed this book and probably won't because hmm... I want to keep enjoying it, flaws and all. *g*

    I enjoyed this series as a whole but after all this time it's interesting because I find that the most memorable book of the trilogy for me was The Serpent Prince, Book #3.

  3. I really liked this one...good to see you enjoyed it as well. I really liked the romance between Edward and Anna. Lovely review!

  4. Yeah, I was pretty disappointed with this one. Started out strong and then the complexity just never built enough to hold my attention. The rather outlandish elements of the plot got in the way as well. :)

  5. I have this one myself...I'm not sure when I'll be able to get to it, but your words didn't diminished my enthusiasm, for me the key idea is sexual tension. I really like it when we can see the couple's developing relationship through sexual tension scenes, much better than sex right away.

  6. Not a big fan of Ms Hoyt's historical romances... but when I saw this cover, I really had to think hard whether I've read it or not. Turns out I did­ ^_^; Tells you how much in my mind it stayed.

    Very nice review Christine :)

  7. I'm behind in a few, the Queen Betsy series by Mary Janice Davidson, the Immortals After Dark Series, In Death I'm way behind. Sometimes a series loses its mojo for me.

    Glad the book didn't turn out to be a stinker!


  8. Great to read your thoughts on this book. I liked The Leopard Prince much better, so I totally agree with you. :)

  9. Although, maybe that's enough for a sex deprived widow in 1760 England.

    Best. Line. In. A. Review. Ever! I almost snorted my morning tea out my nose :)

    This sounds like a nice read, although if I'm honest I gotta say the brothel thing gives me pause. I'll still try it though because like you? Yeah, the whole series is in my TBR. D'oh!

  10. I'm glad you liked it!! maybe it was a little too hyped for you so the stuff that didn't quite work for you.
    Now that you mention it, it is true that Ana's attraction to Edward wasn't as well explored.

    And yes about the whole brothel thing, I still find that weird and I love the book :D

  11. I liked this one, but my favourite in the series is the second one! Might have to go and find it and reread selected bits!

  12. I think that I'm behind in EVERY series that I read. Seriously...I never seem to catch up. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this one even if it wasn't perfect. I was actually thinking about grabbing Wicked Intentions by this author from the library the next time that I go. Good luck figuring out which series you are going try to catch up with ;)

  13. Great review Christine. And yes, the brothel part was a bit...OK a lot *grin* unrealistic. Hm. IDK. I'd like to read a historial romance in which the heroine doesn't suddenly turn into a 21st century woman, but is still relatable :) Tall order methinks!


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