A Princess by Christmas by Julia London
Tracy’s rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: A Royal Wedding, #3
Release Date: October 13, 2020
When owner of Honeycutt’s Gazette of Fashion & Domesticity for Ladies, widow Hollis Honeycutt, overhears a rumor concerning the peace accord between the counties of Alucia and Wesloria – she is immediately intrigued. Hollis’ sister Eliza is married to Prince Sebastian, the heir to the throne of Alucia. She is sure there is more to the story and won’t stop digging. She is pondering how to get information from the Weslorian delegation, when purely by chance she meets Marek Brendan, an advisor to the Minister of Trade for Wesloria.
Marek has secrets which make his life very solitary, he is a loner and straddles two worlds. He is deaf in one ear and so when he meets Hollis, he has a hard time understanding her and isn’t sure what to make of her! He tries to keep her at arm’s length, but she isn’t having it, she pulls him in to her investigation and by extension; her life. At first, he thinks she is crazy, but soon realizes she may be on to something – something that could not only destroy peace between Alucia and Wesloria, but could be a plot to assassinate his King!
This book was not at all what I was expecting, the romance is a very slow burn and almost secondary to the mystery. Hollis truly loved her first husband and has felt like life is beginning to pass her by, slowly she lets go of her mourning and opens her heart to the possibility of loving again. Marek is a subdued character, he is clearly overwhelmed by Hollis at first, but they soon discover a shared love of Shakespeare and as they work together, she discovers his secret and he begins to realize that she is what has been missing in his life. The book is the final installment in the series and it does nicely wrap up several ongoing plot points from the previous books. I felt the book did drag a bit, there are still title errors and mistakes (that may – fingers crossed – be corrected prior to publication) and the romance is on the back burner until almost the end of the book – but it was a nice read and the ending was very romantic and the epilogue was very sweet. While I would suggest reading the series in order, this could be read as a standalone title without a problem.
*I am voluntarily leaving a review for an eARC that was provided to me by the publisher.*