She’s not waiting for her prince. He’s not looking for a bride. But sometimes the most unlikely love stories end in ‘happily ever after’…
SHE WAS STOLEN AWAY
Ellie Stratham gave up her childhood dreams of a fairy tale romance long ago. To repay her late father’s debts, she’s forced to serve her spoiled cousin, Lady Beatrice. But Ellie has devised a secret plan to escape her life as a drudge. A plan that is thrown into jeopardy when she’s abducted by a mysterious stranger.
BUT CAN HE STEAL HER HEART?
A notorious seducer of women—and a scoundrel to boot—Damien Burke has earned his nickname as the Demon Prince. But his plot to kidnap Lady Beatrice to make her brother return a priceless heirloom backfires—and he ends up with their penniless cousin Ellie as his hostage. By the time Damien realizes his mistake, he and his fiery-willed captive are trapped in a remote castle during a wild winter storm. And he soon finds that the true hostage may be his own heart.
Yes, I know. The title is silly and the cover makes the setting look like the 1980s, not the 1810s!
This book confused me a bit, as it felt like the first and second halves were written by different people. That’s not to say it didn’t have a lot of good points, just that I found the first half ten times more engrossing than the second.
Generally, historical romances based on fairy tales aren’t my thing, as they’re practically screaming out for the use of anachronisms (and magic). Apparently Abducted by a Prince is the third in a trilogy of books based on Cinderella stories, but I thought the author did an excellent job of making it work as a standalone.
Of course, being Cinderella-ish, there are some downright nasty characters in our heroine’s family. However, it didn’t particularly bother me, and I liked that while Ellie was downtrodden, she had a plan to get out. The Cinderella trope works much better in historical settings, because a woman like Ellie literally had no option but to stay with the family who treated her like a servant.
The first part of the book really brought Regency London to life (I’m taking a guess at the time period, as we weren’t given a date – a pet annoyance of mine). In a way, I was reminded of the excellent beginning to Anne Gracie’s The Autumn Bride. I was completely on board with the book, even though there were some magical shoes introduced.
I was also really pleased with how non-American the author’s language was. No complaints from my end about messing up British English!
Then Damien abducted Ellie and took her to Scotland. From here I thought the story lost some of its heart. Isolated in a castle on an island, with only two much older servants as company, the strong feel of the era got lost.
On her first night there, the heroine made an attempt to escape, followed closely by her being caught by Damien. Out on an island in the Scottish elements, in winter, pinned against a rock in the dark, Ellie – who should have been terrified – decided she was aroused by her captor. I didn’t think that was necessary. It’s a romance; we know they’ll get there in the end!
Sure, Ellie was considered ‘ruined’ by the mere fact she was abducted, but the speed at which the two leads forgot about all propriety – and fell in love – wasn’t easy to believe. From the outset they were addressing each other by their first names, and Damien was in and out of Ellie’s bedroom for all kinds of reasons – this would never have happened.
Within a week, Ellie was throwing away her virginity and announcing she wouldn’t worry about getting pregnant. And she did this even though she no longer had a home to go to, or any money.
So… I don’t know. I was struggling with how blasé Ellie was about her literally horrific future prospects, and couldn’t buy the two of them being in love so fast, considering everything between them.
I don’t know how I’d rate this book. I’d have loved it if the second half was more like the first. I do know I’d be willing to try another book by this author.
Review copy provided by NetGalley.