Welcome to my stop for Katharine Ashe’s new release I Adored a Lord, second installment in her Prince Catchers series. This is part of a Tasty Book Tour so please be sure to check out the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could be one of 3 winners of a digital copy of I Married a Duke: The Prince Catchers # 1 by Katharine Ashe.
Let me start by saying – I too Adored I Adored a Lord by Katharine Ashe. I’m still in my obsession with all things historical romance, and I was curious to see where this story would lead after reading the first in the series. The premise is simple: three young girls were sent into the world with no idea who their parents were: raised by a kindly vicar, a gypsy’s reading tells the girls that one must marry a prince to find out who they are, and end their curse. Not all that simple when raised in a small community vicarage far from the Society in which they must find their mates.
In this story, we focus on Ravenna: by far my favorite of the three sisters she would, in modern times be the girl in the tatty jeans and sweatshirt with well-worn and loved Doc Marten’s on her feet. Hopelessly un-feminine, her preferences are for animals and the outdoors over people, and she has left the vicarage to care for the animals of a local gentleman. We need not worry about propriety, for the gentleman, his multiple dogs and sheep and his good friend who always seems to be in residence are more the ‘kindly uncle’ types, and are not interested in Ravenna for nefarious or scandalous purposes.
One of the sisters has married well, and in her efforts to encourage Ravenna to do her part – she is off to a house party that is, essentially, a bride market for a young prince. Quickly this story moves forward, introducing several members of society, their horrendously behaved eligible daughters, and enough secrets, family squabbles and mysteries to sink a ship. Oh – and did I mention the murder? Set much like an Agatha Christie mixed with a game of Clue, the murderer is one of the invited guests, and Ravenna and the deliciously gallant Vitor is determined to protect her at all costs as they find the culprit. EVEN after she bruised and battered him with a pitchfork, then bit his lip.
Like all Katharine Ashe stories I have read, it really is the characters that stand out to make the story sing. Ravenna is marvelous, determined in her life’s path that will not include nobility or marriage, her slow recognition of her feelings for Vitor and the realization that she can be an object of desire even if she isn’t the ‘typical’ female invited to this party are beautifully drawn and give readers a true sense of her character and likeability. Vitor, for his part, is disenchanted with his situation, frustrated with and angered by his brother, and still tasked with ‘smoothing’ the Prince’s rough edges, even as he is aware the killer is stalking the girl he cannot forget: Ravenna.
The mystery and the romance are both stand-outs in this story. The mystery is well-crafted with plenty of characters that are potential suspects, so we get a chance to see their revelations and learn more about them, especially as many are more than a touch put-out by the restrictions on the invited guests: no leaving the estate and a skeleton staff of servants to serve what was meant to be a luxurious idyll. I’m also not a huge fan of written dialect, and Ashe uses this sparingly, to give a sense of place and station in life, without overtly beating the reader over the head. Romance wise – the story manages to develop with a solid pacing that felt appropriate, even as I sped through the pages to get to the end. There is some steam that presents an interesting reaction from Ravenna, and her softening and blossoming in her new-found love and confidence is a wonderful addition, and I will say that I was cheering for her all the way.
You aren’t required to read the first book to understand this story: it is self-contained and information that is needed is provided in the story, without overwhelming the reader or presenting too many bits of information that are unnecessary. A surprisingly engaging and quick read that shows smart writing, great characters and a mystery that isn’t truly solved until the end.
Title: I Adored a Lord
Author: Katharine Ashe
Genre: Contemporary Mystery, Historical Romance
Published by: Avon
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦Audible ♦Direct from Publisher
She’s intended for his brother. He’s destined for adventure. Then a dangerous mystery throws them together, and all they want is each other.
All that clever, passionate Ravenna Caulfield wants is to stay far away from high society’s mean girls.
All that handsome, heroic Lord Vitor Courtenay wants is to dash from dangerous adventure to adventure.
Now, snowbound in a castle with a bevy of the ton’s scheming maidens all competing for a prince’s hand in marriage, Ravenna’s worst nightmare has come true. Now, playing babysitter to a spoiled prince and his potential brides, Vitor is champing at the bit to be gone.
When a stolen kiss in a stable leads to a corpse in a suit of armor, a canine kidnapping, and any number of scandalous liaisons, Ravenna and Vitor find themselves wrapped in a mystery they’re perfectly paired to solve. But as for the mysteries of love and sex, Vitor’s not about to let Ravenna escape until he’s gotten what he desires…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.