Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a brand new royal historical romance from Julia London. A ROYAL KISS & TELL is the second book in the A Royal Wedding series and I was excited to read on in the series. Catch my review for THE PRINCESS PLAN to get a sense for that engaging story. A ROYAL KISS & TELL surely puts its characters into tough situations. Prince Leopold’s reputation is ruined trying to save sexual slaves from England’s finest lords–and Caroline’s both the instigator and the fixer for Leo’s cause.
About the book:
Every prince has his secrets. And she’s determined to unravel his…
Every dashing young man in London’s ton is vying for Lady Caroline Hawke’s hand—except one. Handsome, delectable roué Prince Leopold of Alucia can’t quite remember who Caroline is, and the insult is not to be tolerated. So, Caroline does what any clever, resourceful lady of means would do to make sure a prince remembers her: sees that amusingly risqué morsels about Leo’s reputation are printed in a ladies’ gossip gazette…all the while secretly setting her cap for the rakish royal.
Someone has been painting Leo as a blackguard, but who? Socially, it could ruin him. More important, it jeopardizes his investigation into a contemptible scheme that reaches the highest levels of government in London. Now, Leo needs Lady Caroline’s help to regain access to society. But this charming prince is about to discover that enlisting the deceptively sweet and sexy Lady Caroline might just cost him his heart, his soul and both their reputations…
This is the second book in a historical romance series, and can be enjoyed as a standalone.
Lady Caroline Hawke is in Alucia enjoying the celebrations of her dearest friend Eliza Tricklebank marrying her love, Crown Prince Sebastian of Alucia. Caroline is a celebrated English lady, invited to the poshest of salons and all the right balls. She lives with her brother and guardian, Beckett, who is a duke. Caroline takes great offense to the notion that Prince Seb’s younger brother Prince Leopold does not remember making their acquaintance–and she makes an official nuisance of herself in the courts of Alucia acting far too familiar and breaking all the rules of protocol. Leo, if he did find her attractive, is thoroughly turned off by her boorish breaks in decorum.
Leo, himself, is a man of little accomplishment. He’s spent years in England attending Cambridge and drinking his days away. As the “spare,” his father doesn’t bother educating in matters of state, he’s led an indulgent life. There are some intigues of the Alucian court–especially with concerns over its bordering nation Wesloria and the possibility for conflict–but Leo has had very little interest in any of this–and even less had been shared with him regarding the politics of the situation. Still, he’s inexplicably approached by an Alucian insurgent who tells him that Weslorian girls are being sold into sexual slavery in London to gain favors for those who seek to stage a coup de etat against Leo’s father, King Karl and unite Alucia and Wesloria under Karl’s younger half-brother’s rule. King Karl, seeking to unite factions in his favor, has just announced that Leo is betrothed to the daughter of a wealthy Weslorian industrialist–who has been implicated by his informant to be a cog in the sexual slave network. Leo has the summer to return to London, find five missing Weslorian slave girls, and potential stop his marriage to a girl who makes no secret of preferring the captain of her guard.
Leo and Caroline return to London, and their paths continue to intersect, not the least because Leo and Beckett have become fast friends. Leo steps in when Caroline is deeply ill, assisting Beckett get a doctor and bringing tokens to cheer brother and sister. Part of his attentiveness stems from the fact that the contact his informant gave is a maid in Beckett’s London home. And, when Caroline thinks she sees Leo messing about with their maid, well, she does let the rumor out to her friend, Hollis, Eliza’s sister and the editor of Honeycutt’s Gazette for Fashionable Ladies–a gossip rag that starts spreading Leo’s less-than-genteel exploits in the homes of esteemed Lords–who have themselves a Weslorian slave Leo hopes to return home.
Everyone in London thinks Prince Leo a depraved and degenerate man, helped along by all the gossip of Caroline’s friends, and his social status dries on the vine. Invitations are rescinded and he has no way of finding the remaining girls. Caroline is desolate because her heart had definitely turned toward the prince since his help with her sickness. She regrets her gossiping, and can’t understand why Leo would cavort with maids and prostitutes when he has plenty of access to quality women. When agents of the Crown turn up on Caroline’s door, she finally demands that Leo–who has indeed become a friend in these times–tell her the truth of his shenanigans. And, that turns the tide–getting Caroline in board with the rescue effort. The romance, which had been simmering begins a slow boil. It’s a long time before Caroline and Prince Leo admit their love, and even longer before they do more than kiss.
The story really revolves around the intrigue of English, Alucian and Weslorian courts. The romance is slow to develop and adversarial from the outset. Both Leo and Caroline have a lot of soul-searching to complete to turn them from vapid caricatures of the upper echelons into richer, complex characters. They do this work, first Leo and then Caroline, and the compassionate and passionate people they become are people I enjoyed reading about. If you enjoy historical romances, and royalty romances, this might be a book for your list.
About the Author:
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.
Thanks for popping in and keep reading my friends!