She’s discovered his secret.
Now the trouble really begins…
After three years of mourning—and turning her dear deceased husband’s gazette into the ton’s sauciest source of fashion and gossip—Hollis Honeycutt feels her life has been strangely bereft of late… Her sister is living abroad, and her best friend moved to the country. What must a young widow of rank and reputation do? Why, transform her society gossip sheets into serious investigative news, starting with a rumored coup…and the rather dashing, mysterious gentleman whom Hollis suspects might be the villain of her first real story, and she is the only one who can write it.
Marek Brendan is investigating terrible rumors of treachery and treason that threaten his home country of Wesloria, but he must proceed with caution. No one can discover the truth. After all, who would ever believe he is Wesloria’s lost crown prince? Only Hollis Honeycutt’s cerulean-blue eyes seem to know more than she’s letting on—and worse, Marek can’t seem to resist her curious charms. But even as betrayal threatens a nation and a throne, nothing is quite so dangerous as the lovely young widow who’s determined to find the truth…and a prince of her own.
|Title:||A Princess by Christmas|
|Series:||Royal Wedding Series (Book 3)|
Mills & Boon
Friends to Lovers
|Point of View:|
|Location:||England and Wesloria (Fictional European Country)|
|Release Date:||13th October, 2020|
Rich and detailed Christmas romance
This is the third – and possibly final – book in the Royal Wedding series by Julia London. The series, set in Victorian London for the most part, follows Eliza, Caroline and now Hollis, as they find their matches and discover some intrigue, alongside some royalty from the warring European nations of Wesloria and Alucia. Despite this book probably being a standalone, it is so chock full of detail in and of itself, if you don’t have the background of the relationships and political intrigue from the first two books (The Princess Plan and A Royal Kiss and Tell) then you might be a wee bit confused. But do go back and read the first two books. The Princess Plan is especially delightful and I still have a soft spot for Eliza and Bas.
Okay, onto this book…
Our heroine, Hollis, is a widow and now also the sister of a future queen. While she has some modicum of independence due to her status, she’s also very overlooked by the royal set that her sister and friend now live in. She also feels herself standing still while feeling everyone around her – family and friends – are moving on, changing and leaving. As if that wasn’t enough, Hollis is also dealing with the guilt and grief of realising that she’s finally moving on from her husband.
Hollis in the previous books seemed quite stoic and sensible. In this book, we really get to know her. She’s feisty, flighty, smart and acts on her feelings. She’s also sweet, kind and loyal. I couldn’t help but cheer her on and wish her well.
Marek, as a hero, was perfection. He was tough, strong and silent – and yet he is so desperately in need of love and belonging. I wanted to hug him so hard. He was absolutely delightful. He was so baffled by Hollis – how she treated him, how she made him feel, and how she just ‘got’ him. They were a perfect pairing. It made my heart happy.
As you can imagine, Hollis has a lot to deal with – as did Marek – and, at times, it got quite emotional. If you feel any kind of parallels with what Hollis is going through you, like me, will find it quite emotive. Hell, you’ll be bawling like a baby as you read. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – it shows how good the author is at making her characters real – but, alongside other things in the book, it’ll leave you with an emotional hangover once the book is done.
Like the first two books, there’s also the political intrigue that both Marek and Hollis get involved in, bringing them closer together. The plotting wasn’t as intricate and convoluted as in the previous novels, but it was still fun and well thought out. I enjoyed it, especially the bribery using cakes – as I myself can be bribed using baked goods.
As I mentioned, Ms London provides such rich detail of the world of her stories, that you are immediately transported to Victorian London – and better yet, Victorian London at Christmas time. There are only a smattering of Americanisms to pull you from the story – “sidewalk” being the one I remembered most vividly. I also noted that same anachronism in the previous book in this series. Pavement. It’s pavement, dammit!
So the book is as rich as plum pudding in the detail, with wonderful characters who are made for each other and a hugely satisfying love story. We also get cameos from Eliza and Bas and a cute, mini-hea for Beck which I was 100% here for. So why didn’t I give the book 5 stars?
Firstly, all through the first 2 stories I was waiting for Hollis and Donovan’s love story. This was, as you can see, not Hollis and Donovan’s love story. And I was mad. Especially when during the first chapter of this story, Hollis declared that she got butterflies when looking at Donovan but it could never be. What do you mean it could never be? This is romance – anything can be! So until things progressed and were explained, I still had that residual madness – even if I loved Marek and Hollis as a couple.
The other reason is that one of the major themes in the book is finding where you belong in the world. Hollis, especially, worries about being left behind. So the fact that, at the end of the book, the family and friends are spread all over, well, it hurt my heart. I realise that compromise and making choices is part of life – but I don’t want to read about real life. I want ridiculous, fantastical conclusions. As it was, I had happy / saddish tears towards the end of the book. Just more to add to my emotional hangover!
This book was a joy to read. It gave me SO many feels and so much vivid detail that for a while I was transported to Victorian London, and into the lives of Hollis, Marek and their family and friends. It’s sad that this might be the end of the series, but I’ve hugely enjoyed the love, romance and political intrigue that this series has given me. 4 stars from me.
Julia London is the New York Times and USA Today best selling author of more than two dozen romantic fiction novels. She is the author of the popular historical romance series, the Cabot Sisters, including The Trouble with Honor, The Devil Takes a Bride, and The Scoundrel and the Debutante. She is also the author of several contemporary romances, including Homecoming Ranch, Return to Homecoming Ranch, and The Perfect Homecoming.
Julia is the recipient of the RT Bookclub Award for Best Historical Romance and a six-time finalist for the prestigious RITA award for excellence in romantic fiction.