How to Pursue a Princess by Karen Hawkins

June 24, 2013

Yes, I confess - I have always loved books by Karen Hawkins.  She is one of the few authors
who can write funny, and that's important in an angst-filled world.  So, I was looking forward to How To Pursue a Princess.  However, my joy soon changed to frustration.  Let's take a little jaunt into the plot line to find out why.

A matchmaking duchess is hatching a scheme to bring her god-daughter, Lily, and the lonely widower Huntley together.  Lurking at the garden gate, much to her chagrin, is Prince Wulf of the pretend county Oxenberg.  I hatessss pretend countries.  Well, our Wulf has always dreamed of a red/gold-haired lass who will love him for himself and not his money.  And, when I say dreamed of red/gold hair, I mean actually had a vision kind of dream.

Well, who should happen to have red/gold hair?  You guessed it, Lily and she's in need of a husband, a wealthy husband.  Someone who will save her family from ruin.  Too bad the prince has this stipulation about his money, ‘cause they fall in love.  But he's pretending to be poor, so Lily can't have the man she wants.  She must choose the stick-in-the mud widower Huntley.

There is the set-up.  Wulf is rich and pretending to be poor.  He wants Lily to trust him, even though he's lying through his teeth.  Trust him, everything will work out.  I'm not sure how he thought Lily's money problems were going to work out, but hey, it's all about trust!  Of course, Wulf has a plan to make Lily love him so much she will overcome her need to save her family and marry him.  It is time for Wulf to reveal his middle-school brain.  He is going to pretend interest in another woman, Emma, and make Lily soooo jealous she will have to admit her love for him.  After all, it's all about trust and finding someone who will love him for himself and not his money.  What do you say ladies, he's the kind of guy I'd want to marry! Not! Jealousy has never been one of my favorite romance themes, but sometimes it blends seamlessly into the story.  In this case, it overwhelmed the story.

I did like the secondary characters.  The duchess, her companion Margaret, Wulf's curse-casting gypsy grandmother, and the gazillon pug dogs were all fun. When they were on the pages I had a good time.  I also thought the secondary romance between the stick Huntley and Emma, who had loved him forever, was more interesting than the primary love story.

I also had a jarring moment in this book.  Oh, I remember the days when a manroot was a manroot.  A big purple-headed manroot, but a manroot all the same.  Now those were scary days.  Yikes!  But now we have the "C..." word (rhymes with rock).  It's everywhere, and honestly I don't mind its use - as long as it fits, and not just in the heroine.  In this story, it came barreling out of the blue.  One minute we are having a sweet tender love story and the next moment we are face to face with a giant hard "C..."  It just felt as if it must be time to throw in a bit of a titillating moment.

So there you have it.  How to Pursue a Princess didn't totally work for me.  I had a big problem with a hero who demanded trust but didn't do anything to earn it.  I don't see how a marriage based on manipulation can ever work.  And I missed Ms. Hawkins trademark humor.  We still have our HEA, all the right couples ride off into the sunset together and the duchess retains her matchmaking crown.

Time/Place: A House Party in Regency England
Sensuality: Last minute hot

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