There are few things more exciting to an avid reader than to discover a great author a bit later than everyone else. Elizabeth Hoyt isn’t exactly new to me, but I did start reading her work several years into her career. What makes this such a win, of course, is the opportunity to plow through her backlist whenever I get into a reading slump. And I get to discover absolute gems like this one.
I loved this book. Maybe I should have started with that. It’s sexy and engaging, with two unattractive lead characters who made me absolutely ache for them to get together.
Edward is a surly, scarred earl. He doesn’t socialize much and isn’t exceptionally nice to the heroine the first time they cross paths. But the widowed Anna is getting to a point where she can no longer make ends meet, so she jumps at the chance when she finds out he needs a new secretary. Of course, it’s unusual for a woman to serve as a man’s secretary, but Anna does a good job. More than that, Edward feels a kinship towards her right away. He likes talking with her. She is the light that helps bring his dark household to life.
Unfortunately, these two are not a society match. Yes, they yearn for one another, but neither will act on the impulse to take things to another level. In fact, Anna soon realizes that Edward is taking his desire for her and going to a brothel in London to work it out of his system. Her reaction to that, is what turns the book on its ear, taking it down a sensual path and tying the two of them together, forever.
There are some really good sexy times here. I have read a few reviews that found them to be a bit too much, but I has absolutely no complaints there. In fact, I thought they were just evocative enough to light my fire without feeling gratuitous.
The story didn’t really tread new ground in Historical Fiction, but Hoyt takes a fairly familiar trope and does it very, very well. Edward is so wonderfully gruff and blind to his value beyond his money and title. And Anna is so brave, following her heart, not just with Edward, but in other circumstances that forced her to take an unpopular road. Their connection is really quite lovely, and when it seems like they can’t be together, their fear and sadness rings so true. I rooted hard for their HEA and I cheered for every step that brought them closer together.
The villain in the story was a little meh, but the story needed the bit of conflict she provided. I was very satisfied with how it all came together, and this ended up being one of my favorites from an author I already adore.
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Raven Prince
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Release Date: November 1, 2006