Thursday, January 30, 2014

Lisa Kleypas - Prince of Dreams

A wealthy and bitter exile, he most dangerous and desirable man in all of England, he burns to possess a proud, headstrong beauty who is promised to another. But winning Emma Stokehurst's exquisite hand through threats and determination does nothing to fill the empty spaces in Nikola's heart—until passion's magic carries the handsome, tormented prince back to a bygone era of splendor and romantic dreams. For there his destiny awaits him in a distant life. And in one remarkable woman's tender touch—achingly familiar but gloriously new—he must seek the elusive promise of ecstasy...and learn, at last, to love.

Comment: I've had this book to read for a long time...I've read the prequel, Midnight Angel many years ago and I don't remember many details only the impression it was a good romance in my opinion. Later I've discovered there was a sequel, this book, and I got it, but circumstances never seemed right to read it. For this year I've decided to update my Lisa Kleypas's pile of titles. This was the first and I had hopes for a wonderful story.

This story is all about Emma and Nicholas. He is an exiled Russian prince and a long time ago he decided he would marry Emma and waited until she was the right age to do so. Something about her seemed addictive to him and he doesn't stop at nothing to get her, even ruining her relationship with another man that despite unsuitable was still someone she cared about at the time. They marry and there is when the true challenge starts.

Well, the book wasn't as amazing as I thought. I expected something more romantic but despite this not being as good as I imagined, something in there still got on my nerves even more than the cliched romance. The story is divided into four parts, when Nicholas seduces and captivates Emma, then when they're married, then Nicholas' experience with the past and finally how he deals with what he learned.
Obviously, this experience I mentioned is what made me a bit leery of the see, Nicholas hits his head and he dreams or has a strong experience of another lifetime of one of his ancestors. But this part is told like he actually lives there while dreaming. It's a weird twist although not a novelty altogether. Still, I thought it didn't suit the story. I know something had to happen for the main hero to change fro selfish overbearing jerk into the romantic hero we expected but, come on, a sort of time travel experience wasn't the way, I think.

I think there were better ways for sure to make the hero's change of attitude happen without looking as forced or unlikely as the one used. What he learned while having the dreaming experience could have been achieved in another way and the things he learned in terms of history and family happenings could also appear in the plot in a different way. All in all, not the most captivating thing.

As for Emma, at first I wasn't mush into her, then I changed my idea and liked her more and in the end, the more I think about it, the more I feel she wasn't as special as that. 
I think they worked well as a couple in several moments but not all the time. Their relationship was rocky and with too many suspicion and hidden agenda to feel balanced. I know these types of romances aren't as easy to explain as contemporaries, but it would have been nice to see some more considered behavior on both their sides.

The plot isn't new, I've seen it many times in historicals. The twists aren't amazing and to be honest, the way the romance develops and how it's told isn't the best one I think. The previous book was both sexier and more emotional. I think this story was a bit lacking despite having the elements needed to work out.

In the end, a good enough story but I counted too many unlikable things to make this book work completely for me. It's readable, not as strong or weak as that, just average. And not as good as it could be, considering both the plot and the writing skills of the author. Guess it's not her best work.
Grade: 6/10

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