DIK Reading Challenge Review: The Serpent Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Sunday, February 28

Title: The Serpent Prince
Author:  Elizabeth Hoyt
Series:  The Princes trilogy
Genre:  Historical Romance
Publisher:  Warner Books
Format: mass market paperback
Date/Year: 9/2007

Disclosure:  This book was procured from my local library for my reading pleasure and review for my participation in the DIK reading challenge

Summary from the publisher: 


Country bred Lucy Craddock-Hayes is content with her quiet life. Until the day she trips over an unconscious man—a naked unconscious man—and loses her innocence forever.


Viscount Simon Iddesleigh was nearly beaten to death by his enemies. Now he’s hell-bent on vengeance. But as Lucy nurses him back to health, her honesty startles his jaded sensibilities—even as it ignites a desire that threatens to consume them both.


Charmed by Simon’s sly wit, urbane manners, and even his red-heeled shoes, Lucy falls hard and fast for him. Yet as his honor keeps him from ravishing her, his revenge sends his attackers to her door. As Simon wages war on his foes, Lucy wages her own war for his soul using the only weapon she has—her love…

My Musings:
The Serpent Prince is my second favorite Elizabeth Hoyt novel. (first is To Seduce a Sinner).  And right now she is one of my favorite historical romance authors.  I just finished reading The Princes Trilogy and loved each one of them (The Leopard Prince is my third favorite).
There are several things I loved about this book.  The first was how refreshing the heroine Lucy was.  She wasn’t eccentric, a blue stocking, or even a bold or take charge kind of heroine that are in so many historical romances these days.  She isn’t titled, or wealthy, or even poor for that matter.  She doesn’t have a down trodden and tragic story.  She’s normal.  She comes from a middle class family, and is comfortable with the life she leads.  She takes care of her father, has charity work, close friends, and is “almost” affianced to the town vicar.  She’s a commoner with no aspirations to become gentry.  I love her because it’s not her social status in the ton, or needing to be rescued or saved, that draws the hero to her…it’s just her…as a person that he is attracted to, despite her “plainness”.
Simon, our hero, couldn’t be more different than Lucy.  He is a viscount, a privileged and titled member of the ton.  Who is known for his dissolute ways.  In fact, he has embraced the lifestyle of a rake as if it was his profession.  He was never meant to be the Viscount Iddesleigh, as the younger brother the responsibilities of the family and the title were left to his dependable older brother.  That is, until his older brother was killed…which sparks a quest for blood thirsty revenge against the men responsible for his brother’s death.
Lucy and Simon’s romance is an opposites attract love story.  Simon dresses in the height of fashion with his red heeled shoes (a trademark of his personal style), Lucy dresses for practicality.  She finds joy in every day life, Simon is weary of every thing in his life…all except his driving need to avenge his brother, and become even just a little bit worthy of being the viscount.  Simon opens Lucy’s eyes to all of the possibilities that the world contains outside of her small sphere of acquaintances.  Before meeting Simon she didn’t really have the desire to travel outside of where she lives, but after knowing him she starts to question if she is settling because her limited choices.  He’s exciting and different to her, as she is to him.  Simon sees his recovery in the country as a respite from the life he leads and is coming to despise, and finds Lucy to be his personal “angel”.  
Naturally they fall in love, but his quest for revenge leads him to repeatedly duel, and even though he is driven to call out every one of the men responsible for his brother’s murder, each death weighs heavily on his conscious. How could a "murderer" be worthy of the love of an “angel”, and dreads the day Lucy sees him as he sees himself, and loses her love.   He keeps his actions, and his reasons a secret from Lucy, until he finally confesses why he leaves their marriage bed in the middle of the night and returns some mornings weary and bloodied.
There is so much to this story that to try and summarize it really doesn’t do it justice.  Lucy has feelings of inadequacies because she is not anything like the ladies of the ton.  And Simon has feelings of inadequacies because he never wanted the title of viscount, add to that his feelings that he doesn’t deserve the love of an “angel” because of who he is, and you have a love story with lots of self doubt, guilt, anguish…and finally redemption.  
It was pretty close to perfect in my eyes, including the fairy tale intertwined with main story.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading The Princes Trilogy by Elizabeth Hoyt then I would urge you to give all of them a try.  I loved each one of them, and despite being a series, each set of characters deals with very different issues, making each of them refreshingly unique as well as a good read.

Ratings: 4.75 stars (and for a "traditional" historical romance...this one's pretty steamy!)

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Scorpio M. February 28, 2010 at 10:34 PM  

Oh Booklover, what a great recap of The Serpent Prince! I too am a big Elizabeth Hoyt fan. She had me, hook, line & sinker when she penned Harry Pye. She made a land stewart ooze sex appeal. That is talent. I HEART Harry so much, I can't even count the ways :)

The Leopard Prince is my #1, followed by To Seduce A Sinner. I can hardly wait for Wicked Intentions, it looks like it's going to be another awesome series.

The Romance Girl February 28, 2010 at 11:23 PM  

I've recently become a big fan of Elizabeth Hoyt, after having been hooked by To Seduce a Sinner. I've read most of the Four Soldier series, and now can't wait to get to the Prince series. Your right, for traditional historicals she does get pretty steamy!

Mary (Bookfan) March 1, 2010 at 6:32 AM  

Me, too - EH fan. Loved the Legend of the Four Soldiers series. Just starting on this previous series and so excited to hear of the next series starting this year. She's steamy but also writes great stories.

Booklover1335 March 1, 2010 at 8:10 AM  

I heart Harry too! I just got done reading his story this weekend, and really The Leopard Prince and the Serpent Prince are almost a tie for second place of my fav Elizabeth Hoyt novels.

I was so hoping that the Maitland bros would get their own love stories, but after reading EH's website it doesn't look like that is going to happen. But I am looking forward to her new series...I can' wait!!! I'm so glad I found this author last year.

Mary (Bookfan) March 1, 2010 at 8:13 AM  

Did you know that she writes contemporary romance (two so far) as Julia Harper? I read "Hot" last year - very funny and, well, hot! :D

Booklover1335 March 1, 2010 at 10:05 AM  

I did see that Mary, but haven't read any of the yet. Now that I have read all of her historicals that are currently available I am thinking I need to find her contempts :) Thanks for reminding me!

Tracy March 1, 2010 at 12:20 PM  

I don't know why I haven't read this one yet. I read To Seduce a Sinner and loved it but still haven't read the rest of THAT series. *Sigh* I really need to get on the ball. lol

Great review!

ann alba March 1, 2010 at 4:21 PM  

I have just become a fan of EH now that I have more time I hope a pay a long visit to my friendly UBS
I prefer to have NEW books but on occasion it the older books of the Author I find there but I am choosy.
Have a good one.

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