My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Many Thanks to Net Galley, SOURCEBOOKS Casablanca, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
The Duke’s Princess Bride attracted my attention coz of 2 reasons, one Amalie Howard’s The Beast Of Beswick which I had read earlier was superb and second the blurb talking about an Indian princess was appealing. I hardly check reviews before I read a book, it was only after finishing the last page and writing this review that I thought to check if there are other people who felt the same as me. And lo and behold, there is quite a hullabaloo with the subjects being raised in this book.
Sorry, Ms. Howard, it says in your bio that you are an author with Indian and Middle Eastern origins and the dilemma that the heroine Sarani Rao counters in this book is understandable. Also, I loved the spicy and steamy romance but and this is a big BUT, I sincerely wish that the issue of color was kept to the minimum. When every other sentence talks about the color of the heroine, it begins to jar after a while. For a seemingly fair-minded and unprejudiced hero, Rhystan also thinks of people on the basis of their color. Despite the oft repeated matter of seeing beyond the beauty of the person, Sarani and Rhystan are completely absorbed with each other’s looks and the feeling it evokes.
As an Indian, I was thankful that the author characterizes Sarani as a warrior princess and has actually mentioned Jhansi Ki Rani. History in India is in fact peppered with such strong women who fought against so much during the British rule; and that’s where my other point of contention comes in. The issue of colonialism is totally glazed over which would have not been a complication if a major part of the story was not centered around it. I have read more than a dozen historical romances with officers in East India Company but none have left me with this irritable feeling.
If you are a fan of historical romances, please do not be put off with this review as in spite of the above mentioned concerns, the romance between Sarani and Rhystan is utterly delicious, the hot, hot chemistry and sexual tension oozing off the pages. I suggest that all readers read the book for the romance alone and not delve deep into the historical aspect of it which then wouldn’t dim one’s pleasure.
Born to an Indian maharaja, Princess Sarani Rao has it all: beauty, riches, and a crown. But with a British mother, her mixed blood makes her a pariah and a target. And when Sara’s father is murdered, her only hope of survival is to escape on the next ship out―captained by the boy she once loved…and spurned.
Captain Rhystan Huntley, the reluctant Duke of Embry, has a place in the English fleet, which he’s loathe to give up. But duty is calling him home, and this is his final voyage. Leave it to fate that the one woman he’s ever loved must escape India on his ship.