Christina Dodd’s Taken by the Prince was released a few weeks ago, and I just got the chance to read it this weekend. Ms. Dodd writes historical, contemporary, and paranormal romances, and I’ve read nearly all of them.Perhaps I enjoyed this particular historical novel of hers because the heroine of Taken by the Prince has a lot in common with yours truly: Victoria Cardiff is strong-willed, bossy, opinionated, and a real stunner. Okay, well, 3 out of 4 isn’t bad, right?
To be blunt, the premise of this novel is far-fetched. I can only imagine Georgette Heyer rolling in her grave, but it IS lots of fun and the characters really likeable. The hero, Saber (Raul) Lawrence, is the illegitimate son of English Viscount Grimsborough and an unnamed woman from the fictitious country of Moricadia. Moricadia is suffering under the tyranny of the de Guignard family, which unjustly overthrew the rightful heirs to the throne nearly 200 years ago. Prince Saber, sensing that the time is right, has taken full advantage of his stuffy English education and connections and is now ready to overthrow the government of Moricadia and take his place as king.
Victoria Cardiff is the friend of Saber’s half sister, Belle, and early in the novel she and the hero share a smoldering kiss at a ball. He is, naturally, an arrogant jerk, and she gets pretty steamed, particularly since her financial situation forces her to become a governess and she can’t afford any slurs on her reputation. Three years later, the prim Miss Cardiff is accompanying her employer and his family on a trip to Moricadia, where she spots Saber in the hotel. Unfortunately, she doesn’t realize that his delusions of grandeur (being a prince, etc) are in fact true, and when she makes a passing comment about said delusions, he decides that he needs to kidnap her until his revolution takes place, since he can’t have her tipping off the truly heinous, scarier than Hannibal Lector-type authorities.
This novel requires more than its share of willing suspension of disbelief, but the fantasy is so delightful I have to recommend it. Clearly Ms. Dodd has imposed 21st century characteristics upon her hero and heroine. Victoria experiences no difficulties in engaging in political debate with Saber and assists her employer with his financial work, and Saber’s willingness to listen to Victoria and acknowledge intelligence and initiative among the female revolutionaries doesn’t exactly ring true for the 19th Century. But the growing relationship between the two protagonists and the portrayal of how the men interact with each other make this fantasy charming. The secondary Moricadian characters are a hoot, and Victoria’s ability to charm them over to her side makes this one of my favorite Christina Dodd historical.