Series: The Prince Catchers #2
Published by Avon on July 29, 2014
Genres: Historical Romance
Three very different sisters beguile society with their beauty and charm, but only one of them must fulfill a prophecy: marry a prince. Who is the mystery Prince Charming, and which sister will be his bride?
All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society's mean girls.
All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure.
Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton's scheming maidens all competing for a prince's hand in marriage, Ravenna's worst nightmare has come true.
Now, playing babysitter to his spoiled prince of a half-brother and potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone.
When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping, and any number of scandalous liaisons, Ravenna and Vitor find themselves wrapped in a mystery they're perfectly paired to solve. But as for the mysteries of love and sex, Vitor's not about to let Ravenna escape until he's gotten what he desires . . .
Ravenna Caulfield is one of three sisters raised by a local vicar, Mr. Michaels Caulfield. For the past six years, Ravenna has lived with Sir Beverley Clark and his lifetime companion Mr. Pettigrew caring for their numerous birds, dogs, cats, and occasional farm-animal. Ravenna’s sister, Arabella, recently married a Duke and believes Ravenna should marry someone of equal or greater social status. Ravenna soon finds herself at a house party in France thrown for the sole purpose of finding Prince Sebastiao a wife. Among the guests is Vitor Courtenay, half-brother of the Earl of Chase. Vitor doesn’t seem to take any notice of the gaggle of women parading around at the house party, except for Ravenna. When Ravenna stumbles upon a murdered house guest, she and Vitor team up to investigate the murder and find the killer.
I….struggled to finish this one. It was “historical romance” meets “Clue” and while I greatly enjoy both of those things……not together. At least not like this. Normally I’m all about spicing up my romance novels with a good mystery – a murder mystery at that – but something about the execution of this one flopped. My head spun trying to keep track of all the characters (“suspects”), their motives and desires, as well as just what the heck was going on in the story itself. I felt that the actual “romance” between Ravenna and Vitor was lost amongst the chaos of the story, which in the end made their supposed love somewhat incredulous and forced.
Vitor is an honorable man who has spent a great deal of time around religious orders of varying types and religious hermits. Were it not for his desire for Ravenna, he is the type of man who would seriously consider taking religious vows himself. Ravenna is independent and sharp-witted, easily finding connections between the seemingly incongruous clues littering the house party and its guests. She is also a skilled medical woman with an affinity for animals. Together, Ravenna and Vitor made a good investigation team, but the feelings between them seemed more friendly than amorous. There was no real sizzle of chemistry that came across in the writing and many of their conversations centered around figuring out the mystery, not each other.
As for the mystery plot itself, I felt that it was well-paced, but more convoluted than necessary. The identity of the murderer came about after several red herrings, which I don’t mind, but the explanation felt jumbled, choppy, and a tad anti-climactic. Again, I think this was a product of too many characters. For anyone who has played the “Clue” DVD with all three endings viewed in sequence, that is very much like the last 25% of this book – it could have happened like this! Or like this! But it really happened like this! Sheer chaos and confusion. It would have played much better if the book was shorter and tighter with its explanations and plot development.