HOW TO SCHOOL YOUR SCOUNDREL
Hidden Princesses #3
by Juliana Gray
Formats: Paperback: Mass Market/320 pages | ISBN 9780425265680
Penguin/Berkley |Jun 3, 2014
18 – AND UP
Galley provided by publisher via NetGalley. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Juliana Gray’s Website
Three intrepid princesses find themselves targets in a deadly plot against the crown—until their uncle devises a brilliant plan to keep them safe…
Princess Luisa has devoted her life to duty, quietly preparing to succeed her father as ruler. Nothing, however, primed her to live on the run, disguised as a personal secretary to a notorious English scoundrel. The earl is just the man to help her reclaim her throne, but Luisa is drawn to her powerful employer in ways she never imagined…
Philip, Earl of Somerton, has spent six years married to a woman in love with another man—he refuses to become a fool due to imprudent emotions ever again. Only, as his carefully laid plans for vengeance falter, fate hands him hope for redemption in the form of a beautiful and determined young princess who draws him into a risky game of secrets, seduction, and betrayal. And while his cunning may be enough to save her life, nothing can save him from losing his heart…http://www.penguin.com/book/how-to-school-your-scoundrel-by-juliana-gray/9780425265680
Having read HOW TO MASTER YOUR MARQUIS (HtMyM) in December of 2013 and found it a thrill ride and I enjoyed this book too although it felt more serious. But my memory is severely flawed as to who the baddies are.
In HtMyM It is Princess Stephanie who is the Princess featured. She is not destined to be the ruler of the principality unless something happens to Luisa, who is the ruler of their tiny principality upon the death of her father and her husband. What happens is they all go into hiding and are disguised into jobs with friends or associates of their uncle, the Duke of Olympia. He is a spymaster in Britain. She ends up working for Lord Somerton who is an absolute brutal asshat. He is the Evil Earl (instead of the Damaged Duke). And he needs to be saved from his badness, his bitterness and his all consuming desire for revenge.
I could not reconcile Luisa and Somerton getting together. He is just really, really bad.
But at the same time, I had no doubt that her goodness, her moral compass would reach into his soul and direct him to a moral magnetic north. And, they do it with a lot of good old sexual tension.
There’s some slapstick, but this book felt more serious than HOW TO MASTER YOUR MARQUIS. We learn how so many people are betraying the royal family of this little country. Luisa is all about service to her subjects, duty and loyalty. She’s been overthrown and nearly killed by the revolutionaries herself at what was really a rather turbulent time in Europe (which was always having turbulent times). She is the Imperiled Princess who needs saving for herself and her country.
In a way, the Earl, whose wife we learn in the first few pages, is not “his” in every sense of the word, has also been overthrown in his own little kingdom of wealth and power. Tossed from his moorings, and she, adrift from hers they both need rescue, and maybe a little help from the improbable cupidity of the Duke of Olympia, her Uncle. Is the “Olympia” a reference to the mythology whence Cupid sprang? This rescue could return one to her purpose in life with a fuller feeling and a more emotionally rounded life. There’s a wickedly sensual scene in which a proper princess’s bottled up sensuality explodes like shaken champagne. And for him it can become a purpose with which he can redeem his past. They each have the chance to find purpose. We all have the chance for that. I’ve been tossed from one purpose to another my whole life, so I have never been sure of mine unless it is to be adaptable. What about you?
All in all, this book is a little more complex in some ways that one would think. But at other times certain things are glossed over. I found myself wondering what had happened to Luisa’s little corgi, Quincy during the book’s climactic crisis. And the relationships and backstory involved with some of the book’s characters made this much more a series read than a stand alone.
The writing in the book has the feeling of lightness with the underlying seriousness I mentioned before, and in that reminds me of steam punk, but without the weird science. The voice or mood reminds me of Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series. Those were very readable and this series is a pleasant read as well. I enjoyed it a lot. If you like books with passion, and Victorians, light humor and intrigue, this is a good choice for you.
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