Princes have pomp and glory—not murdered secretaries and crushes on commoners
Nothing gets London's high society's tongues wagging like a good scandal. And when the personal secretary of the visiting Prince Sebastian of Alucia is found murdered, it's all anyone can talk about, including Eliza Tricklebank. Her unapologetic gossip gazette has benefitted from an anonymous tip about the crime, prompting Sebastian to take an interest in playing detective—and an even greater one in Eliza.
With a trade deal on the line and mounting pressure to secure a noble bride, there's nothing more salacious than a prince dallying with a commoner. Sebastian finds Eliza's contrary manner as frustrating as it is seductive, but they'll have to work together if they're going to catch the culprit. And when things heat up behind closed doors, it's the prince who'll have to decide what comes first—his country or his heart.
There comes a time in every woman’s life when she stops giving a stuff what anyone thinks about her, and for Eliza Tricklebank, that time has come. At 28 years old in the Victorian era, without high connections or a large dowry, she’s firmly into spinster territory and she’s decided she’s going to savour the freedom brought by not caring. So when she has a few glasses (too many) of rum punch at a ball and gets the chance to meet a foreign prince, she seizes the day. She never expects to see him again, but strange circumstances conspire - Eliza’s gossip magazine unwittingly comes into a very important piece of information and Sebastian seeks her out.
There’s an utterly fabulous scene where Sebastian finds himself a fish out of water in Eliza’s very ordinary home and he manages to offend her by being officious and, well, royal, and she throws him out on his ear. It’s just perfection and I was giggling so hard by the end of it; it’s no surprise Sebastian can’t stop thinking about Eliza as being absolutely unlike anyone else he’s ever met.
Of course, being a prince, he’s under all sorts of obligations and expectations, not least of which is to make an advantageous marriage to a titled, wealthy, connected Englishwoman. Eliza qualifies on no counts at all, yet the heart wants what it wants. I won’t spoil the ending (though you can probably guess, this being a romance and me not having lost my temper) save to say it’s not completely beyond the bounds of belief, even if it is rather far-fetched.
Eliza is a breath of fresh air, as a heroine; her decisions to tell the truth and stuff the consequences are courageous, and considering where it leads her, inspiring. I really enjoyed this read and look forward to the rest of the series - hopefully Sebastian’s brother Leopold is next to get his own story! Five stars!
The Princess Plan is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.
Julia London is a NYT, USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical and contemporary romance. She is a six-time finalist for the RITA Award of excellence in romantic fiction, and the recipient of RT Bookclub's Best Historical Novel.