by Susan Sizemore, historical (2003)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-06-008289-5
Susan Sizemore takes a typical "princess" romance and mixes in some spy hero antics in Captured Innocence, but the final result is a readable but ordinary story.
Lily Bancroft is the daughter of the late (abdicated) king of a kingdom called Bororavia. Since every story like this one needs an evil, nasty cousin, in comes Gregory to kidnap Lily and hold her hostage in the Bororavian embassy. If she doesn't marry him, he will do a lot of bad things to her mother. Our bluestocking, countrified, unprincess-like princess is horrified but... oh! Mommy!
Kit Fox hails from the McLeod family of super-cracking spies (a sister starred in the previous book Too Wicked To Love). Actually, he's adopted - he was a thief until he was taken in and now he is putting his talents to good use, that sort of thing. He is one of the best, so he is assigned to get evidence that Gregory is a rebel (in romance novels, Britain is the Magnanimous Supporter and Upholder of Freedom and Independence of Sovereignty of Her Neighbors and she will do all she can to defend Bororavia's independence - ooh!). He, the playboy spy, very easily breaks into the Embassy, encounters Lily, and falls hard.
Kit is the typical stock English spy type while Lily, despite being a princess, is the typical liberalist, pro-hoi-palloi bluestocking type. The villain is the typical villain, his mistress is the typical mistress, eh. More annoyingly, the external plot trundles along like a half-dead engine complete with a plot resolution that is too convenient.
Captured Innocence is pretty predictable, cast to the brim with familiar archetype characters in a plot that is fairly typical. Conflicts that could have made the romance more interesting, such as the difference in status between the two main characters, are swept under the rug. All in all, this book takes the easy way out with its characters and plots, and the result is a fairly predictable read that doesn't try too hard to stick out from the glut of historical romances in the market. Why be so content with being mediocre, Susan Sizemore?
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