Mills & Boon, £5.99, ISBN 978-0-263-93265-2
Historical Romance, 2018
I know this is going to sound odd, but Innocent in the Prince’s Bed has a premise that should have been that for an erotic romance, but somehow it ends up in a story of this line instead. This is because the premise in itself isn’t much, and certainly not enough to warrant spilling across a full-length novel. If there are plenty of sex scenes here to keep up the momentum, however, things would be more interesting. Of course, we can also have many scenes of gruesome murder, but come on, we need more love in this world at a time like this. Plus, hello, romance novel.
Lady Dove Sanford-Wallis is a beautiful lady with a dowry of £20,000 cash on top of three coal mines in South Wales, these mines generating about £15,000 per year. As you can imagine, boys are salivating when she brings her milkshakes to the ballroom. Alas, Dove has been led to believe that her Season will be full of romantic gallantry, and instead she finds herself bumping into guys that drool at her cleavage and make jokes that she feels are just vapid. How can she marry someone she doesn’t love? She wants a handsome gentleman who will be sweet and put her on a pedestal…
And then in walks Prince Illarion Kutejnikov. He is so handsome and sexy. Okay, he says inappropriate things. He undresses her with his eyes and he certainly likes looking at his cleavage. But he’s different, because he makes her hot and randy, so yes, this is the man she wants because… uh, gallantry and romance. Yes, that’s it. He’s so sweet. Really. Oh, shut up. A girl has needs, and she needs it now. Yesterday. Tomorrow. Anywhere. And everywhere.
See, the stage is set for an erotic escapade. These two could be doing it in alcoves, their feet molesting the other person under the dining table, or something. Anything. Instead, I get a story which has Dove constantly sighing and complaining about her oh-so-painful lot of having to do her duty and marry without love on the menu, the pain of being rich and beautiful, and so forth, while Illarion basically tells her what she is or should be feeling and doing, like a hot sexy daddy type, when he’s not molesting her in a sexy, oh-so romance hero manner. The whole thing feels so mundane and trivial, yet drawn out in an interminable manner. I find myself wishing that the author had used this premise to bring on lots of sexy, plenty of it, because this is what the story needs, rather than two very privileged people moaning and sighing about their feels.
Also, there are moments when I wonder whether the author has a blind spot for her characters. For example, at one point Dove is angry that her beau-cum-shrink considers her naïve and hence a bit on the dim side. However, this story sees Illarion often telling Dove what she should be feeling and thinking, and her state of mind in Illarion’s presence tends to be a horny kind of confusion. Consequently, our heroine does come off as the very thing Illarion seems to be think she is.
There is nothing objectionable about Innocent in the Prince’s Bed, aside from me wishing that the title has been more accurate about the bed thing, and the story had been all about raunchy slamming of body parts. Maybe I’m just too old for the hand-wringing neediness of eighteen-year old girls and the daddy figures who love them, I don’t know. If you are more amenable to these things, who knows, you may like this one more than me. Me, I just can’t make myself care about the characters’ issues no matter how hard I try.