Friday, January 8, 2016

Anne Gracie - The Stolen Princess

The estranged younger son of an earl, Gabriel Renfrew earned glory and honor on the battlefield, but now, without purpose, he finds himself deliberately courting danger at every turn. Then one night he races his horse along a dangerous moonlit cliff—and stumbles upon a beautiful woman obviously in need of saving.
A princess on the run, Callie has disguised herself and her son, the crown prince, as commoners, hoping to protect him from those intent on stealing the throne. She has no choice but to trust the handsome ex-officer who's come to her rescue, even when he insists that only a marriage of convenience will provide her the ultimate protection. But while her new husband may keep Callie and her son safe from assassins, what will he do to her heart?

Comment: This is the first book I've read in 2016. It is also a book I was given for this past Christmas, therefore a new book to me and something not on the TBR pile precisely. I don't know why I decided to pick it, but my thought was more in the lines of "why not" and what better way to start a new reading year but with a gift given with friendship?
This book tells the story of Callie, a princess running from her country with her young son because she fears for their lives. She arrives in England and is rescued by Gabriel Renfrew, an important enough man, brother to an earl, was in the army, fought in the war...somehow, Gabriel is now bored and meeting Callie makes him feel busy again so he decides to help her because that will give him something to do. The two of them seem to be attracted to one another but Callie has had a bad past when it comes to relationships and she wants to focus on her son instead.
Callie and her son are disguised and on the run but soon Callie realizes to accept Gabriel's help is the quickest way to secure security and time to decide what to do. And if Gabriel turns out to be a man she can't stop thinking about, well...
Overall, I liked the book. It was entertaining and had some scenes I liked. But to be truthful, the main couple didn't seem captivating enough and I didn't feel chemistry nor the type of connection I expected between them. I think they almost seemed caricatured to me.
Callie isn't a weak female but she acts like it here and there and although that's not reason enough not to like a character or for her to eventually grow up or prove her character, I still feel the author didn't give her enough life to sustain the sort of story presented. I wouldn't say Callie is TSTL but her experiences didn't make her realistic enough. For someone with her past, even she kept on being a nice and friendly person, I think she was too soft and too dreamy for the sort of life she has.
Gabriel too had some issues in my opinion. He is a brave man and sometimes my idea of him would be positive. But he thinks and acts a certain way and that sort of annoyed me, especially when he thinks that seducing Callie - when she's clearly reticent and doubtful - is a good idea to make her feel more used to him and willing to trust him and stay with him. I mean, it's not even close related to rape, she is willing in that, but it feels like someone taking advantage of someone else's more innocent behavior and ideas... I just think their relationship wasn't balanced, no matter how in love they could seem towards the end.
What I really liked were the secondary characters. But some of them seem to exist to fulfill a cliché and of course that removes part of the fascination. Two characters caught my eye, apparently there's a romantic connection between them, but at the end of the book that connection wasn't addressed again and I wonder if they will be together. I was actually sad I couldn't see more of them, perhaps in future books, but it tells you something when you prefer glimpses of secondary couples instead of the protagonists.
This is the second book I try by this author and both got the same grade out of me. In terms of writing style nothing to say, it's an easy, fluid read, but this particular plot wasn't very imaginative. Ok, maybe imaginative it was, just not the best well executed one. I don't know, I didn't dislike it and there were certainly parts I was interested in reading, but for the most part it's a collection of clichés and redundant scenes I wasn't amazed at. I suppose the idea was to make this plot amazing, an adventure culminating in a HEA but despite having enjoyed many parts, the whole wasn't as fascinating.
Something definitely lacks in this book...
Then the character building felt incomplete. Characters are described as one thing but their actions and decisions imply another. I wonder if they aren't as knowledgable as they are described by the author or if they choose to act less than smart just to impress us negatively. Like being so intelligent while in the war and then not acting it in civilian life, I mean...
All in all, this book has interesting ideas but the way things happened didn't win me over. It seems the second book is more well liked by most readers and I'll try that one day just to compare things and see if I'll keep up with this author.
As for this one, it's entertaining if one isn't sure about what to read next or if just wants a silly entertainment choice, but as a whole it wasn't as strong and interesting as it could.
I wish I could think it was nicer, but in the end it lacked some good key points to be good.
Grade: 5/10


  1. For Anne Gracie, you should try The Accidental Wedding and Bride by Mistake. Those are my two favorite books. I loved The Accidental Wedding so much, I went back to read some of her books... The Stolen Princess being one of them. This was nice, but the others are better. And I really, really, really wished Ms Gracie would write Max' story!

    1. There are books in between and I like to read in order. But I'll keep it in mind. So far the two books by her I've read weren't as special as I imagined, but I'll try others in the future.