Tracy’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars
Series: Royal Wedding, #1
Release Date: November 19, 2019
Miss Eliza Tricklebank lives a quiet life as a spinster, she fixes clocks, cares for her father who is blind and a justice for the Queen and she helps her sister with her woman’s gazette. It may not be the life she had dreamed of, but she is happy. When the opportunity arises to join her sister and their dear friend Lady Caroline Hawkes at a masquerade ball for the visiting crown prince of Alucia, she jumps at the chance.
Sebastian Charles Chartier, the Crowned Prince of Alucia is in England for two reasons, one to work out a trade deal that will help his countries economy in the event of a war with the neighboring country of Wesloria and to secure a noble English bride. But tonight, Sebastian is enjoying his anonymity and hopefully a tryst with a willing matron. He shares some rum punch in a passageway with a partygoer and then endures introductions, before finally slipping away for his tryst, on his way out his secretary Matous asks for a moment of his time, he asks it can wait and promises to meet with him in a few hours, a promise he doesn’t keep. When he returns to his rooms in the morning, he calls for Matous and learns the horrifying truth – Matous was murdered the night before. Guilt drives Sebastian to investigate the crime himself – much to his staff and his brother Leopold’s displeasure. When a story about the murder makes to the pages of the Honeycutt Gazette – nothing will stop Sebastian from tracking down the owner of the paper.
Eliza enjoyed her time at the masked ball, she danced, drank too much rum punch and met the prince – twice – once in the passageway and then again when she moved in front of him and he stepped on her foot. She also noticed his secretary Matous and wonders what upset the man so much. She was saddened to learn of his death and shocked when a note is delivered to her father stating the killer is Alucian! But the real shock comes days later when Sebastian and his brother Leopold visit and demand to see her father. Eliza doesn’t care who they are, she will not wake her dad or tolerate his rude behavior and she kicks them out of her house.
Sebastian is fuming about Eliza but knows that he needs to talk to her father, so he returns to her house and apologizes, Eliza tells him what she knows and they begin a friendship of sorts. She learns more information about the note that was sent and helps him meet the last man she say Matous talking to.
Sebastian knows he has to choose a bride and that as a commoner, Eliza is not a possibility, but how he wishes she was! Things have escalated between them and he is in love, but they both know their time together is waning and heartbreak is unavoidable or is it?
I really enjoyed this story, the writing is good, the story never drags, the characters are interesting and for the most part likable, the love scenes are warmish, there are laugh out loud moments, a bit of angst, a very well done mystery and a HEA. Almost perfect, but not quite. The hero engages in a tryst with a married woman after he means the heroine – I can’t like that, just about every single title in this book is wrong – the daughter of a Baron does not have the honorific of “Lady” and incorrect use of titles and formal address are my biggest pet peeve in historical romance and finally the solution for their HEA defies credibility and because of the incorrect assumption that a Baron’s daughter has a title, isn’t even a viable solution. But overall, I really liked the story and would happily recommend the book.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher.*