fiction, review

In the Prince’s Bed

Indonesian edition’s cover

Romance is always about love, no matter what other genre you put into it to blend them together and make something new. So, to my thinking, having historical romance doesn’t mean that you’ll get historical facts nor a story about something happened in the past, which is carefully retold by modern authors. It only means that you’ll get a romance tale shrouded in a “historical” atmosphere, with a setting and period convincing enough to make you feel it. But Sabrina Jeffries can do something more about it. In one of her historical romances, and the first in The Royal Brotherhood series, In the Prince’s Bed, Jeffries puts a lot of effort to synchronize a cheesy love story with a historical fact. Set in the Prince of Wales period, In the Prince’s Bed tries to present a tale of a bawdy, lustful romance quite historically.

The name is Alexander Black, everyone close to him calls him Alec, and by the time he’s coming back to England after a long period of exile he finds out that he’s not his father’s son. The letter he gets tells him that he actually is the bastard son of the Prince of Wales, widely known as Prinny, and one of many, to his dismay. He immediately calls the other two he knows, Lord Draker and Gavin Byrne, to his place and then together they establish the secret Royal Brotherhood, a circle aiming at providing help for each other so that they can reach their goals without having their secret uncovered. So Alec asks Draker and Byrne to help him finding a rich heiress to marry, considering the ugly condition of his estate. Byrne then instantly finds him Katherine Merivale, a potential heiress who’s going to inherit her grandfather’s money. To Alec’s disappointment, Katherine has already a fiancé and they’re about to marry soon. Frustrated, Alec tries to court her, wielding his charm and good looks and, of course, hiding his real financial condition. But there is one thing that he fails to anticipate, the fact that there is something more than just lust and desire between them. Alec, for sure, has to rearrange his secret plan.

Alexander Black is an epitome of any male main character a romance has. But Jeffries makes him more humorous and mischievous, wilder in a sexually dangerous sense. And Katherine Merivale has certainly matched him in any way but one, for she cannot match him in bed. Reading Katherine, I can only say that she’s also quite typical, with her innocence, witty mind, sharp comebacks and a body burned with passion. What’s surprising about this book is that Jeffries is game enough to create a homosexual character in the middle of 1810s’ England. I am not sure about the existence of homosexuality back in that period, although historically there were some countries I know of had such kind of thing. But that doesn’t stop Jeffries from creating a character like Sydney who has to hide his true sexual orientation behind a mask of an engagement.

All historical romance readers who love to read Sabrina Jeffries’s works may find that In the Prince’s Bed has a very typical plot she usually used to arrange some of her novels. It starts with a deal, a false relationship, secrets hidden behind desires that flare up between the two pretending characters, and ends up with their secrets revealed unexpectedly but they’ve already fallen in love to each other too deep to let that break their love and separate them. And, as it’s been the nature of today’s romance, they declare their love through a series of sexual intercourse, touches, kisses, seductions and everything. The good thing about reading Sabrina Jeffries’s books, and this novel in particular, is the hilarious atmosphere wrapping it up, how the main male and female characters sometimes get into a battle of wits, and how Jeffries narrates her story in a seriously funny way. I don’t think I liked the story of In the Prince’s Bed quite so much, but I really found it entertaining.

All things considered, In the Prince’s Bed may be too bawdy to my taste, but it’s still nice to read if you’re willing to put aside that aspect. And I may not want to recommend it to anyone, but for those who enjoy historical romance very much, it can be an option.

Rating: 3/5

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