Almost a Princess, by Elizabeth Thornton

>> Thursday, October 23, 2003

Almost a Princess is my first Elizabeth Thornton book. I've had Whisper His Name (which seems to be a kind of prequel to this one) in my TBR for ages.

What possible connection can there be between Jane Mayberry, a beautiful, independent and articulate bluestocking and a notorious killer who has eluded British Intelligence for years?

Case Devere, the Earl of Castleton, is attached to Special Branch and is determined to find out. But Jane is embroiled in her own troubles and the last thing she needs right now is this steely-eyed, arrogant aristocrat looking over her shoulder. When she quietly disappears, Case's worst suspicions are aroused. He goes after her.
I don't know. I liked some elements, but the book as a whole didn't completely work for me. A B.

The main problem was that the book felt a little disjointed. The main conflict seems to be catching La Roca, the killer who wants to murder Case, but there's something else from Jane's past which takes over most of the middle part of the book.

And here's the thing: I loved the way they dealt with this problem from Jane's past (trying very hard not to spoil things here!). There was no stupid bowing to convention, which was very refreshing. I just wish the main conflict had been this one, and not La Roca, which means I was more than a little irritated when wham! this problem disappears and we're back to catching the murderer.Damn!

Eh, well... at least, the romance works very well, because the protagonists are lovely. Case is on the surface the very clichéd "Regency spy hero", but the author goes deeper than most in the characterization, exploring what his past experiences did to him. As for Jane, she's a really nice and intelligent heroine, who refuses to martyr herself to society's conventions (see above) and doesn't hesitate to protect herself. I liked their relationship, which seemed to be based on genuine affection and love.

However, their very reasonableness and refusal to act like stereotypical romance characters made Jane and Case's relationship be resolved much too soon, leaving the suspense subplot to carry the rest of the book, so the last part wasn't really much fun.

And that epilogue! I know I complained about a too-abrupt ending in The Master of Blacktower, but this is ridiculous! 20 pages visiting with characters from other books who I don't know and who had nothing to do with the story and tying up the stories of secondary characters who appeared for 2 pages and who I care nothing about. Extremely tedious.


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