Sunday, July 29, 2012

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: The Wild Princess by Mary Hart Perry and Giveaway!

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Release Date: July 31st, 2012
Publisher: William Morrow (HarperCollins)
Page Count: 414
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher, via Innovative Online Book Tours, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you both!!)

Four of the five daughters of England's Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were regal, genteel, and everything a princess should be. But one was rebellious, scandalous, and untamed.

THIS IS HER STORY. . .

To the court and subjects of Queen Victoria, young Princess Louise—later the Duchess of Argyll—was the "Wild One." Proud and impetuous, she fought the constraints placed on her and her brothers and sisters, dreamed of becoming an artist, and broke with a three-hundred-year-old tradition by marrying outside of the privileged circle of European royals. Some said she wed for love. Others whispered of a scandal covered up by the Crown. It will take a handsome American, recruited by the queen's elite Secret Service, to discover the truth. But even as Stephen Byrne—code name the Raven—vows to risk his life to protect the royal family from violent Irish radicals, he tempts Louise with a forbidden love that could prove just as dangerous.

In the vein of Philippa Gregory, Mary Hart Perry tells the riveting story of an extraordinary woman—a princess who refused to give up on her dreams, including her right to true love.
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What Stephanie Thinks: I am SO glad I didn't give up completely on historical fiction. As you may know, historicals are generally my least favorite genre because to be frank, I often find them too detailed and too dull. There are marvelous exceptions, of course, and The Wild Princess is one of them.

Mary Hart Perry's voice is lush and simply masterful. She certainly knows how to weave a romance into historical context, alongside sizzling suspense and lingering mystery. Louise is quite a character, both in the book and in Victorian England, and I think her delicious misconduct is beautifully portrayed. She's the kind of princess I would want to be. Not the prim and proper one who gets the throne and her mother's adoration, but the one who knows how to have fun, the one who learns from experiences rather than advice, through which she is shaped into the strong, naïve, but at the same time, incredibly worldly young woman she became. This does come at the price of a reputation, a brisk air of notoriety. Louise faces hushed whispers and blind accusations within English society. But at least she is her own being; at least she has herself. In such an era and circumstance, I don't know what could have mattered more.

And like all women who live up to insurmountable expectations, Louise has a rocky, and tremendously heartbreaking past. The novel revolves around the Fenian terrorist threats upon the country in 1871 as well as Louise's golden 'wild days', five years prior. Stephen Byrne, a bucking, irresistible non-gentleman of a character, as a member of Her Royal Majesty's Secret Service, has the responsibility over the royal children against such attacks in the book's present day. Except there's one problem: he is irrevocably attracted to the young and feisty Princess Louise, and unfortunately, she is quite apt to his charms.

The frisson between them is undeniable, and it is H-O-T! Their witty exchanges left me smiling and desperate to see them consummate their love for each other. I seriously loved the characters and their dialogue. The Wild Princess tells the story of a tragic incident as well as a slow but sure recovery that is suspenseful until the very end and thrillingly scandalous—so very improper in all the right places. I would have liked the romance aspect of Stephen and Louise's relationship to be a little stronger. As steamy as their encounters are, there are only a few intimate scenes, and vague and lyrical descriptions, rather than arousing details. Other than that, I commend Perry for penning such a poised and substantial, yet naughty and entertaining novel brimming with danger, scandal, and the journey of true love.

Stephanie Loves: "One step forward was all he needed to wrap an arm around her waist and pull her hard up against his chest. Her eyes flew wide. She whimpered as his mouth came down over hers. Unlike the other, this kiss was hard and hot and shockingly intimate.
When he released her mouth, she felt dizzy, bewildered. Perhaps her teasing had backfired?
'Don't play games with me, Princess,' Byrne warned, his voice abrasive with emotion she couldn't identify. 'You won't like my rules.'" — I absolutely LOVE their chemistry. It's witty and tender at the same time, not to mention hot hot hot!!!

Radical Rating: 8 hearts: An engaging read; highly recommended. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

Giveaway!
Thanks to the publisher and IO Book Tours, there is ONE eBook copy (winner's choice of format) of The Wild Princess up for grabs! To enter, all you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below:
Giveaway runs through August 13th, 2012 at 11.59 pm (EST).

Open to US and CAN readers only!

Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their winnings will be forfeited.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!