This novel really surprised me. I confess, I had a few moments I wanted to chuck it. Now, I like to read about strong heroines, and Beatrice aka Baby is not one...I found it ridiculous an almost thirty-year-old woman letting her mama pick her clothes and control her live down to the minute, queen of England be damned.
It was a big eye-rolling at times...but the more I read, the more engrossed I became. I'm glad I stuck with it. The story line...I suppose it isn't really unique: man wants to seduce the princess to obtain a life of luxury without lifting a hand to earn it. BUT many a man in real life has had the same agenda...so it comes as no surprise a young man infiltrates the royal stables to get close to the last unwed princess, though there's more to it then just his own motivation...someone in the queen's only family is urging this move.
What I found unique was watching Beatrice grow a backbone, watching her finally face down her mother, ask for what she wants, take it...and when your mother is the queen of a nation, I guess this isn't easy. I also found Queen Victoria's selfishness oddly fascinating. Don't we always find the insane fascinating? How could a woman profess to love her child but treat her like dirt and deny her every happiness?
Once I got to the 3/4 mark, I could not put it down. While I realized what was going on, all the fine details hadn't worked out in my mind yet, so I was still surprised a few times. It all became a more intricate plot than I thought it was.
I also honestly doubted there would be a HEA and was literally salivating to see what was going to happen. Is poor Beatrice going to find joy or be stuck an old maid for life, her mother's servant?
Henry and Beatrice...I rarely say this..but it was so romantic!!! And this is what I like in a romance: love that blooms without and with no need of SEX. Readers just see a relationship progress: the little fretting, doubts, spurts of doubt, bursts of passion...
But will they fight for what they want? Each other? After all, the queen vows her Beatrice should never know the horrors of childbirth and all that...
LOVED that we got to see Louise and her fella again too. Great touch!
I was pleasantly surprised to discover in the author's notes that this author also writes as Kathryn Johnson. I read and enjoyed The Gentlemen Poet many years ago. This is truly just an author whose voice and stories I just plain enjoy. Wonderful coincidence.
I'm giving this a five for keeping me on the edge of my seat. I received this via netgalley.