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Charming the Prince
by Teresa Medeiros
(Bantam, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-553-57502-3
****
On rare occasions, reading a book is such an entertaining experience that it's almost a sad moment to finish it. With Charming the Prince, it is actually more of a bittersweet moment sad because the book has ended, but happy because the progress of the new laugh lines formed while reading it has been halted.

In a delightful and unusual premise, Teresa Medeiros' medieval story asks the interesting question what happens when a young woman who firmly desires no children is forced to marry a man with twelve children?

Bannor the Bold, King Edward's fiercest, strongest and bravest warrior, has decided that his uncontrollable children need a mother. So he sends his devoted friend on a mission to find a gentle, nurturing, meek, motherly and ugly woman. You see, the last thing Bannor desires is more children, so he definitely doesn't want the temptation of an attractive bride to inflame his manly passions.

Lady Willow has spent years as the unappreciated caretaker of her many obnoxious step-siblings and half-siblings. She dreams of an attractive prince to take her away from her drab life. She gets her prince all right, and his home is a beautiful castle, but it is overrun with little monsters.

In a hilarious confrontation Bannor discovers that Willow is definitely not unattractive and Willow discovers that the handsome Bannor comes with a dozen unruly children who terrify England's most terrifying warrior. (Well, except for the babies.)

In this perfectly titled romance, Teresa Medeiros has created a charming tale with a lusty hero to die for and a bright, strong-willed heroine who goes after what she wants by declaring war on Bannor and taking his children hostage.

Full of witty dialogue and memorable characters, including the children (who really aren't so bad!), Charming the Prince is lighthearted (no evil former wives here) and fast paced, almost a fairy tale. And did I mention the sexual tension? Once Bannor and Willow realize their attraction, the next step is how they can handle it without worry of conception. Their medieval birth control (learned from the village whore) leads to love scenes full of tenderness and laughter.

If you're looking for an historical romance with delightful humor, delicious sexual tension and characters you will remember long after you close the book (and who isn't?), Charming the Prince is the perfect choice.

--Dede Anderson


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