I won an advance reader’s copy (ARC) of Catherine Coulter’s Prince of Ravenscar a month or so ago. I had never read any of her novels because I had considered her strictly a romance author. When I read the publisher’s description of Prince of Ravenscar, it looked like much more than just an old-fashioned romance novel. Once I read it, I realized why Catherine Coulter is consistently at the top of the bestseller lists. Prince of Ravenscar is a historical romantic mystery and an excellent one!
Known as the prince of Ravenscar in Southern Cornwall, Julian grew up next door to the girl who would become his wife, Lily. Because he traveled a lot for business after they were married, Lilly spent almost as much time at her family’s home as his, tending a garden she loved. One afternoon she was murdered in her garden. Julian rushed to her side to futilely try to save her. Because her family found him leaning over her, with the murder weapon in his hand, they were certain he had killed her. Unable to deal with his grief, he ran away to fight a war for three years.
Now he’s returned home from war and his mother, Corinne, wastes no time in letting him know that he must marry again as soon as possible, and she has already picked out his bride. Excuse me? Oops, did I forget to mention that it’s 1831? Still Julian chaffs at his mother’s intrusion, especially since he still doesn’t know who murdered Lilly. He feels compelled to resolve her murder before he can even think about moving on with his life.
Meanwhile 20-year-old Sophie Wilkie, the bride Corinne intends for Julian, is nervously preparing with her aunt Roxanne for her first Season in London society. At age 27, Roxanne is considered “on the shelf” and a budding spinster so she is to be Sophie’s chaperone and mentor for the Season. Corinne was Sophie’s mother’s best friend, so Sophie is aware of Corinne’s manipulations regarding her wedding Julian but it is not something she takes seriously. Sophie has a mind of her own and is both anxious and excited about her first Season. She is quite taken with Roxanne’s independence and financial acumen, and toys with the appeal of having the kind of freedom Roxanne has.
Sophie, Roxanne, Julian, and Julian’s half-nephew, Devlin, are thrown together from the first ball of the Season. Devlin read a book about vampires a few years back, and has taken great pains to affect a vampire-like appearance, and to cultivate rumors that he is a real vampire. It’s made him quite the hit among young ladies in London, which he loves. In a playful moment, Sophie and Roxanne plot how to stake him out in the sun to discover if the rumors are true.
“Roxanne said thoughtfully, ‘I had considered staking Devlin out in the sun, to see what happens.’…
Sophie laughed. ‘How about I suggest to him that he take me out on the Thames at the Marksbury garden party on Saturday? I will feed him a sleeping draught and row back to shore. Then the three of us will remove him to a far part of the gardens and stake him out.’”
When it becomes apparent that Lilly’s brother has not only never gotten over her death, but is also plotting violent revenge against Julian, the four friends return to Ravenscar to find out who killed Lilly and why. Why would anyone want to kill someone so sweet? Could she have killed herself? They have to uncover the murderer before Julian or someone close to him becomes the next victim in this tragedy.
Catherine Coulter is an excellent storyteller. I absolutely loved the four main characters! These are people you’d happily invite to your next party and hope would become good friends. There’s plenty of intrigue, lots of fun, some smuggling and buffoonery, and enough intergenerational conflict to let the reader know that some things never change. If you’re interested in historical romance and/or historical mysteries, I think you’ll really enjoy Prince of Ravenscar!
If you like this review, please “like” it, +1 it, and share it with your friends!
One lucky reader will receive an ARC of Prince of Ravenscar by Catherine Coulter!
1) The deadline for entries is Saturday night, 11/19/2011, at 11:59pm EST. No entries after that date/time will be eligible.
2) This giveaway is open to entries with U.S. mailing addresses only because we do not ship books outside of the U.S.
3) You must be at least 15 years old to enter this giveaway.
4) You must use the Rafflecopter form. Even if leaving a comment is part of the giveaway, you must use the form in addition to leaving the comment for the comment to count as an entry.
5) If you already follow PopcornReads on Twitter or Facebook, you must still complete that part of the Rafflecopter form for your follow to count as an entry.
6) If you do not provide a mailing address in the Rafflecopter form, your entry will not be eligible. We will use your mailing address to ship your book to you.
7) That’s it – it’s a very easy giveaway, so have fun and best of luck!
Very Important Tip: Because of space limitations, the Rafflecopter form may not show up, depending on how you got to this review/giveaway. If you don’t see the form below this paragraph, click on the title at the top of this entire article/review. The review will then appear on its own page and the Rafflecopter form will appear below here (like magic).
If you’ve never used Rafflecopter before to enter a giveaway, here’s a little 45 sec. video on how to do it: