|Seducing a Princess is the final book in Lois Grieman’s "Princess" trilogy. As a reader who has not read the first two books, I found the story intriguing and parts of it fresh and exciting, but I sorely missed much needed context from the previous stories to fully enjoy and understand the connections that were implied, but not explained.
The story is set in the fictional country of Sedonia in 1819. William Enton, Baron of Landow, is attending the wedding of his good friend, Nicol, the viscount of Newburn. Will is trying hard to get drunk, which is his usual state. When another wedding guest, the Baron of Bentor but known as Cask for his drinking abilities, joins them, the subject of Will’s dead wife and infant son threatens to send Will over the edge. His family was killed by highwaymen a couple of years earlier. The uncomfortable subject upsets Will so much that he drunkenly stumbles away from the wedding to seek the vile villains who killed them. He ends up in a fight and running for his life with the help of a street thief until he blacks out completely.
When Will next awakes, he is in great pain and doesn’t remember exactly who he is. He does quickly figure out that he is in a household of thieves. He finds himself obliged to Poke, the master of Darktowne’s underworld. The group includes a stunningly beautiful woman with a steely demeanor who is called Princess. Poke claims her as his possession. Also included are Gem, a teenage girl trying to be very tough; Ox, one of Poke’s brutish enforcers; Peter, the one who saved Will from the fight; and Jack, a thief who Will had tried to help in a previous book (details about this were very sketchy). Will manages to pass himself off as Mr. Slate, someone familiar with the underworld and willing to work for Poke.
Will fairly quickly regains his memory, but keeps his identity hidden. He in intrigued by Princess and quickly sees that she is not what she appears to be. He also begins to fall in love with her. He is no longer blurred by alcohol, so he begins to discover strength in himself and courage to protect some of the others from the cruelties of Poke and Ox.
The mysterious Princess only very slowly reveals herself to Will, with very good reason. Why she is with Poke is not even completely revealed until the very end of the story. The love scenes between Princess and Will are very sensual and intense, partly because of the constant danger to both of them if Poke discovers them.
The view of the inner workings of the group of thieves was well written. Poke is both charming and cruel and treats the group as a very dysfunctional family. He refers to them as his "little cubs" and uses a reward system based on what each of them has stolen. Except for Ox, the rest of the group did work to subtly protect each other from Poke’s punishments.
This book receives an acceptable rating, but I do stress that a reader should not start with this final volume of the trilogy. My concerns about not having enough information also involve the ending confrontation. Because a new reader is missing some facts about Will and his relationships in his country that are important, events seemed improbable. The last two chapters do answer some questions, but not all of them.
--B. Kathy Leitle