I'm ready to find a good historical romance to enjoy, how about you? I've recently had a book pointed out to me and asked to highlight it here for today's A Duchess Monday.
Julianne MacLean's latest release, By My Prince, has received some great reviews from many readers and professional book reviewers alike. It's the first in Ms. MacLean's Royal Trilogy set in the Regency period. Since I've had a lot of time on my hands this past week I've finished all of my current reads and ready to start another. So let's take a closer look at this this one. I'm anxious to see dive in and see for myself what all the rave is about. I'm familiar with the author and her writing style so I have a feeling it will be good.
Let's begin...Happy Reading!
On the night of the play at Covent Garden, Alexandra and Lucille took their seats in the center of the fifth row.
“I wish Randolph could have escorted us himself,” Lucille whispered, “instead of sending a servant to do it for him. Is there any possibility that he has escorted another woman here this evening? Are we second choice, do you think?”
“I don’t know, Mama. We shall have to wait and see.” Alex looked up at the only empty box, which was reserved for Randolph, his sister, Rose, and the regent, and wondered if her stepmother was correct. Perhaps another more purposeful young lady—not distracted by the wrong man—had put her hooks into Randolph already and was well on her way to becoming the future Queen of Petersbourg.
Just then, Lucille turned in her seat, then quickly faced forward again. “Good Lord. Sit up straight, Alexandra. Your benefactor has just walked in.”
Alex turned to see Mr. Carmichael taking a seat at the rear of the theater. She faced the stage again and kept her eyes fixed on the velvet curtains while she comprehended the situation.
This was the first time she had encountered her benefactor since her debut into society. He had always remained on the fringes, never interrupting her social engagements or her interactions with Randolph.
Was Mr. Carmichael here to observe her progress? Did he somehow know she had become diverted from her goal—a very expensive goal, which he had financed himself with the hiring of the house in Grosvenor Square, not to mention the servants, the carriage, and all the gowns?
“Is he not worried the prince will recognize him?” Alex quietly whispered. “He was once secretary to my father. Surely his face is known in Petersbourg.”
Lucille shook her head. “King Frederick would recognize him, most definitely, but not Randolph, for he was only seven when they removed Carmichael from the palace. Since then he has remained invisible to the revolutionaries who now hold power. He has not dared return to court.”
For a few tense seconds Lucille and Alex sat in silence while members of the orchestra tuned their instruments in the pit. It was a frenzied discordance of notes that did not help Alex to relax.
She could feel Mr. Carmichael’s gaze burning into the back of her head, watching her every move, no doubt wondering why she hadn’t accomplished more by now. Shouldn’t it be the heir to the throne sending her secret love letters and not his younger brother?
But Mr. Carmichael would not know of that. There was no possible way. At least she hoped there was not.
“I don’t want him here,” she whispered to Lucille. “He makes me uneasy. I will not be able to focus my attentions on the prince if Mr. Carmichael is breathing down my neck.” Lucille glared at her.
“You hardly have a choice in the matter. He bought the tickets for the seats we are now occupying, not to mention gowns and jewels. Without him, we would be nowhere. We would be stuck back in our little house in Wales, counting farthings to pay our debt to the landlord.”
Alexandra’s chin shot up. “Do not tell me I do not have choices, Mama, for I suspect the gowns and jewels we are wearing are a product of my family’s lost wealth. Where else would Mr. Carmichael obtain such resources? Unless he comes from money himself … Is this his private investment?”
Lucille stiffened. “I do not know where his money comes from. All I know is that he was your father’s loyal servant until the day he died, and he saved your life. He smuggled you to safety after both your parents had been erased from existence. So do not forget that when you speak to him.”
The audience rose to their feet just then and began to cheer and applaud. As Alex stood to join them, she looked up at the box where the prince and princess were stepping elegantly into view.
Randolph was dressed in his impressive scarlet regalia, while Rose wore a sparkling tiara and a gown of ivory and gold silk. They were a striking couple, impossibly good-looking. It was no wonder the people of Petersbourg accepted them as monarchs. They certainly carried off the role with grace and aplomb.
As the applause died down and the audience took their seats, Alexandra struggled with her pride—a dark and bitter monster inside of her.
Or perhaps it was not pride but jealousy. She could not pretend to be immune to the anger she felt from the loss of her family and position and the obvious rise of these people who had seized their crowns through the use of military force and murder. The idea of marrying this flagrant usurper was not an easy one to swallow, yet it was a price she had deemed worth paying. It was a sacrifice that would rightfully reestablish her father’s descendants as sovereigns.
Be My Prince
Royal Trilogy, Book 1
Back Of The Book
Attention one and all. His Royal Highness, Prince Randolph of Petersbourg, will set sail for London in early June and reside at St. James Palace for one full month…Some say the true motive for the prince’s visit to our fair country is to seek and marry his future queen. I will therefore pose the question to our devoted and reflective readers: Who among us will be the chosen one? —From the London Ballroom Society Pages
Lady Alexandra Monroe has been told in no uncertain terms that she must set her sights on a proposal from Prince Randolph to better her family’s situation. Instead, she finds herself falling for his charming but dangerous younger brother Nicholas, a man whose passionate nature—and irresistible good looks—makes it impossible to remember her duty. But while she is torn between ambition and desire, a wicked scandal brews, shocking secrets are revealed, and soon she begins to wonder: can true love really conquer all?
Find out more about the author at JulianneMacLean.com
Your turn! After reading this snippet, what do you think of this new series about royal love and the author, Julianne MacLean? I'd love to hear your thoughts and if you've already read the book, don't be shy! Step into the comments section and share. :)