There comes a time in a woman's life when she must do the unthinkable - and find employment. For the widowed Anna Wren, that means taking a job as female secretary for the Earl of Swartingham. Secretaries are always male - never female - as Anna well knows but the real downfall of her career is the realisation that she is falling in love with Edward de Raaf - the Earl. But when she realises that he is going to visit a brothel in London to take care of his 'manly' desires, Anna sees red - and decides to take advantage of the opportunity to also take care of her 'womanly' desires - with the Earl as her unknowing lover. But the Earl has another reason for going to London. He is formalising his betrothal and trying (with little success) to forget about a secretary that has no right being female. Unhandsome, he knows that no woman wants him. Except for the mysterious lady with whom he spent two unforgettable nights at Aphrodite's Grotto, the most scandalous brothel in London. But when Anna's plan is revealed, a bit of blackmail is thrown into the mix, a proposal is rejected and even the Earl himself will be unprepared for the intrigues that ensnare them.My Thoughts:
Elizabeth Hoyt is one of my favorite romance authors and has become an absolute must buy for me. “The Raven Prince” was the very first book I read of Hoyt's and cemented her place in my little romantic heart. Let me tell you, what she can do with characters is simply beyond wonderful.
Anna Wren is a down on her luck widow living in a little English town. As she is walking down the lane one day, she is confronted by a rude, overbearing man who accidentally knocks her down. Little does she know, within days she will be working for the very same man...and that he's the richest and most well known man in town, the current Earl, Lord Swartingham!
As we all know, in a good romance, working together and spending quite a bit of time together almost guarantees a romance between the two characters...and Hoyt delivers. The buildup and chemistry of these two characters is wonderful. There is a sublime romance, but the conversations and verbal sparring between the two really sells it.
Anna laid down her quill and held out her hand to Jock, who had accompanied his master into the room. “I was beginning tothink you'd forgotten this morning's debt, my lord.”
He arched an arrogant brow. “Are you impugning my honor?”
“If I were, would you call me out?”
He made an inelegant sound. “No. You'd probably win if I did. I'm not a partciularly good shot, and my sword work needs practice.”
Anna raised her chin loftily. “Then perhaps you should be careful what you say to me.” (Hoyt, 114)
The passion and romance in this story is hardly paralleled by any books I've read recently. Anna is such a different heroine than what you read about. She sees what she wants and takes life by the horns. She is independent and not htat fake independent that lasts until someone else can take charge. Edward, the Earl, is haunted by his past but isn't afraid to seize the future either. Just enough friction to make a wonderful story, but not allow it to become bogged down.
I think everyone should read this book. Honestly. Every single person. I love it and without a doubt consider it one of my favorite books of all time. I own it in paperback and have read it so many times, the cover is almost ready to fall off. The conflict, the romance, the characters all come together in a delightful combination of a perfect story.
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Date of Publication: November 1, 2006
# of Pages: 392