A Royal Wedding, Book #1
Heat Factor: On par with your average historical romance
Character Chemistry: Eliza is irresistible (and irrepressible!)
Plot: Murder and marriage go together!
Overall: A little of this, a little of that, a little bit fun
I haven’t read Julia London in a long time. Like a decade. Why not? I have no idea. She writes well. In this case I’d argue to myself that it’s probably because we’re dealing with an imaginary monarchy and a generally improbable…everything. You might recall that I haven’t historically gone with the imaginary monarchy books, but I’ve enjoyed branching out lately. Ergo my brief summary of this book is: ridiculous but enjoyable.
Let’s discuss imaginary monarchies. This book has two! Alucia and Wesloria were once one (or something) and then the king had two sons by different women. Some stuff went down and the second wife’s son gained the throne of Alucia while the first wife’s son inherited Wesloria. We’re sympathetic to Alucia in this book on account of the Crown Prince being our hero. But if we’re operating based on rules of primogeniture (and I don’t know why we wouldn’t given that we’re in Victorian times), it’s hard to argue that the King of Wesloria shouldn’t have a bone to pick with Alucia. Wesloria and Alucia are constantly warring and there’s a perpetual state of intrigue (as one expects in a royal court).
Against this backdrop, the Crown Prince of Alucia comes to England to negotiate a trade deal and find a wife. Alliance with England and all that. It’s great for the Tricklebank sisters because the younger sister, a widow who inherited her husband’s Gazette publication, can publish all kinds of juicy gossip in what is now her Ladies’ Gazette. The elder sister, Miss Eliza Tricklebank, helps with the publication and takes care of her blind father, a judge on the Queen’s bench. (This is relevant later.)
Eliza is 28 and unmarried because she made a Mistake when she debuted. She’s soiled goods, so to speak, and she’s never going to make that mistake again. Yawn. Why is every heroine lately a non-virgin spinster who’s sworn off love? Anyway, Eliza is obviously special and unique. She doesn’t have to conform anymore, so she doesn’t.
It so happens that Eliza is invited to a party in honor of the Alucian delegation at Kensington palace. In a totally expected turn off events, this nobody spinster meets Prince Sebastian. The meet cute is fun, and honestly the “proper” introduction is even more fun. Eliza gets a little too sloppy drinking rum punch at the party (a wholly ungenteel activity) and generally behaves in a vulgar fashion. Sebastian doesn’t even remember who she is from one interaction to the next, so when some shady events follow the murder of Sebastian’s advisor and dear friend, it leads to Sebastian and Eliza meeting once more. He’s all snob and remembers her not all, and she continues to be 100% herself. Eventually Sebastian comes to see Eliza’s forthright ways and shabby-genteel house as everything he wants. But how does a prince marry a commoner?! He has responsibilities after all!
This book falls hard into the camp of “liberated woman DGAF about social niceties, let’s throw it out the window and bang!” The love story is pretty sweet, and I enjoyed the book, but if you have a hard time getting on board with stories that seem historically incongruous, you might have a hard time with this one. Eliza is, on the one hand, fun. She doesn’t need a fancy life. She’s living the life she chooses because she can. Whether or not she should is an entirely different story, considering that she’s living this life in the shadows specifically because of this experience she had in her youth. The other thing that I couldn’t quite let go of is that Eliza is truly SO inappropriate for the wife of a king. She has zero social graces and zero interest in learning them. But she treats Sebastian as an equal, so that’s all fine. Mmkay.
For readers who enjoy the historicals but also like a modern platform pasted on a historical background, you’ll probably like this book. I do warn you, Sebastian has teenager levels of angst. Even with the pretty heavy content of the murder mystery propelling the plot, it’s a read with an overall light-hearted mood and a better than average quota of silly.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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