The Raven Prince (Princes Trilogy #1)

The Raven Prince (Princes Trilogy #1)

by Elizabeth Hoyt

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Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant man on horseback nearly crushes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits.


The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior.


When Anna becomes the earl's secretary, it would seem that both their problems are solved. But when she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London, she sees red-and decides to assuage her desires . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455513581
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 04/01/2012
Series: Princes Trilogy Series , #1
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 108,425
Product dimensions: 4.32(w) x 6.62(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing "mesmerizing." She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.

The winters in Minnesota have been known to be long and cold and Elizabeth is always thrilled to receive reader mail. You can write to her at: P.O. Box 19495, Minneapolis, MN 55419 or email her at:

You can learn more at:
Twitter @elizabethhoyt

Read an Excerpt

The Raven Prince

By Elizabeth Hoyt

Warner Forever

Copyright © 2006

Elizabeth Hoyt

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61847-0

Chapter One

Once upon a time, in a land far away, there lived an impoverished
duke and his three daughters....
-from The Raven Prince


MARCH, 1760

The combination of a horse galloping far too fast, a muddy lane with
a curve, and a lady pedestrian is never a good one. Even in the best
of circumstances, the odds of a positive outcome are depressingly
low. But add a dog-a very big dog-and, Anna Wren reflected, disaster
becomes inescapable.

The horse in question made a sudden sideways jump at the sight of
Anna in its path. The mastiff, jogging beside the horse, responded
by running under its nose, which, in turn, made the horse rear.
Saucer-sized hooves flailed the air. And inevitably, the enormous
rider on the horse's back came unseated. The man went down at her
feet like a hawk shot from the sky, if less gracefully. His long
limbs sprawled as he fell, he lost his crop and tricorn, and he
landed with a spectacular splash in a mud puddle. A wall of filthy
water sprang up to drench her.

Everyone, including the dog, paused.

Idiot, Anna thought, but that was not what she said. Respectable
widows of a certain age-one and thirty in two months-do not hurl
epithets, however apt, at gentlemen. No, indeed.

"I do hope you are not damaged by your fall," shesaid instead. "May
I assist you to rise?" She smiled through gritted teeth at the
sodden man.

He did not return her pleasantry. "What the hell were you doing in
the middle of the road, you silly woman?"

The man heaved himself out of the mud puddle to loom over her in
that irritating way gentlemen had of trying to look important when
they'd just been foolish. The dirty water beading on his pale,
pockmarked face made him an awful sight. Black eyelashes clumped
together lushly around obsidian eyes, but that hardly offset the
large nose and chin and the thin, bloodless lips.

"I am so sorry." Anna's smile did not falter. "I was walking home.
Naturally, had I known you would be needing the entire width of the

But apparently his question had been rhetorical. The man stomped
away, dismissing her and her explanation. He ignored his hat and
crop to stalk the horse, cursing it in a low, oddly soothing

The dog sat down to watch the show.

The horse, a bony bay, had peculiar light patches on its coat that
gave it an unfortunate piebald appearance. It rolled its eyes at the
man and sidled a few steps away.

"That's right. Dance around like a virgin at the first squeeze of a
tit, you revolting lump of maggot-eaten hide," the man crooned to
the animal. "When I get hold of you, you misbegotten result of a
diseased camel humping a sway-backed ass, I'll wring your cretinous
neck, I will."

The horse swiveled its mismatched ears to better hear the caressing
baritone voice and took an uncertain step forward. Anna sympathized
with the animal. The ugly man's voice was like a feather run along
the sole of her foot: irritating and tantalizing at the same time.
She wondered if he sounded like that when he made love to a woman.
One would hope he changed the words.

The man got close enough to the bemused horse to catch its bridle.
He stood for a minute, murmuring obscenities; then he mounted the
animal in one lithe movement. His muscular thighs, indecently
revealed in wet buckskins, tightened about the horse's barrel as he
turned its nose.

He inclined his bare head at Anna. "Madam, good day." And without a
backward glance, he cantered off down the lane, the dog racing
beside him. In a moment, he was out of sight. In another, the sound
of hoofbeats had died.

Anna looked down.

Her basket lay in the puddle, its contents-her morning
shopping-spilled in the road. She must've dropped it when she dodged
the oncoming horse. Now, a half-dozen eggs oozed yellow yolks into
the muddy water, and a single herring eyed her balefully as if
blaming her for its undignified landing. She picked up the fish and
brushed it off. It, at least, could be saved. Her gray dress,
however, drooped pitifully, although the actual color wasn't much
different from the mud that caked it. She plucked at the skirts to
separate them from her legs before sighing and dropping them. She
scanned the road in both directions. The bare branches of the trees
overhead rattled in the wind. The little lane stood deserted.

Anna took a breath and said the forbidden word out loud in front of
God and her eternal soul: "Bastard!" She held her breath, waiting
for a thunderbolt or, more likely, a twinge of guilt to hit her.
Neither happened, which ought to have made her uneasy. After all,
ladies do not curse gentlemen, no matter what the provocation.

And she was, above all things, a respectable lady, wasn't she?

By the time she limped up the front walk to her cottage, Anna's
skirts were dried into a stiff mess. In summer, the exuberant
flowers that filled the tiny front garden made it cheerful, but at
this time of year, the garden was mostly mud. Before she could reach
it, the door opened. A small woman with dove-gray ringlets bobbing
at her temples peered around the jamb.

"Oh, there you are." The woman waved a gravy-smeared wooden spoon,
inadvertently flinging drops on her cheek. "Fanny and I have been
making mutton stew, and I do think her sauce is improved. Why, you
can hardly see the lumps." She leaned forward to whisper, "But we
are still working on dumpling making. I'm afraid they have a rather
unusual texture."

Anna smiled wearily at her mother-in-law. "I'm sure the stew will be
wonderful." She stepped inside the cramped hall and put the basket

The other woman beamed, but then her nose wrinkled as Anna moved
past her. "Dear, there's a peculiar odor coming from . . ." She
trailed off and stared at the top of Anna's head. "Why are you
wearing wet leaves in your hat?"

Anna grimaced and reached up to feel. "I'm afraid I had a slight
mishap on the high road."

"A mishap?" Mother Wren dropped the spoon in her agitation. "Are you
hurt? Why, your gown looks as if you've wallowed in a pigsty."

"I'm quite all right; just a bit damp."

"Well, we must get you into dry clothes at once, dear. And your
hair-Fanny!" Mother Wren interrupted herself to call in the general
direction of the kitchen. "We'll have to wash it. Your hair, I mean.
Here, let me help you up the stairs. Fanny!"

A girl, all elbows, reddened hands, and topped by a mass of carroty
hair, sidled into the hall. "Wot?"

Mother Wren paused on the stairs behind Anna and leaned over the
rail. "How many times have I told you to say, 'Yes, ma'am'? You'll
never become a maid in a big house if you don't speak properly."

Fanny stood blinking up at the two women. Her mouth was slightly

Mother Wren sighed. "Go put a pot of water on to heat. Miss Anna
will be washing her hair."

The girl scurried into the kitchen, then popped her head back out.
"Yes, mum."

The top of the steep stairs opened onto a miniscule landing. To the
left was the elder woman's room; to the right, Anna's. She entered
her small room and went straight to the mirror hanging over the

"I don't know what the town is coming to," her mother-in-law panted
behind her. "Were you splashed by a carriage? Some of these
mail-coach drivers are simply irresponsible. They think the entire
road is theirs alone."

"I couldn't agree with you more," Anna replied as she peered at her
reflection. A faded wreath of dried apple blossoms was draped over
the edge of the mirror, a memento from her wedding. "But it was a
single horseman in this case." Her hair was a rat's nest, and there
were still spots of mud on her forehead.

"Even worse, these gentlemen on horses," the older woman muttered.
"Why, I don't think they're able to control their animals, some of
them. Terribly dangerous. They're a menace to woman and child."

"Mmm." Anna took off her shawl, bumping her shin against a chair as
she moved. She glanced around the tiny room. This was where she and
Peter had spent all four years of their marriage. She hung her shawl
and hat on the hook where Peter's coat used to be. The chair where
he once piled his heavy law books now served as her bedside table.
Even his hairbrush with the few red hairs caught in its bristles had
long ago been packed away.

"At least you saved the herring." Mother Wren was still fretting.
"Although I don't think a dunking in mud will have improved its

"No doubt," Anna replied absently. Her eyes returned to the wreath.
It was crumbling. No wonder, since she had been widowed six years.
Nasty thing. It would be better in the garden rubbish pile. She
tossed it aside to take down later.

"Here, dear, let me help you." Mother Wren began unhooking the dress
from the bottom. "We'll have to sponge this right away. There's
quite a bit of mud around the hem. Perhaps if I applied a new trim ..."
Her voice was muffled as she bent over. "Oh, that reminds me,
did you sell my lace to the milliner?"

Anna pushed the dress down and stepped out of it. "Yes, she quite
liked the lace. She said it was the finest she'd seen in a while."

"Well, I have been making lace for almost forty years." Mother Wren
tried to look modest. She cleared her throat. "How much did she give
you for it?"

Anna winced. "A shilling sixpence." She reached for a threadbare

"But I worked five months on it," Mother Wren gasped.

"I know." Anna sighed and took down her hair. "And, as I said, the
milliner considered your work to be of the finest quality. It's just
that lace doesn't fetch very much."

"It does once she puts it on a bonnet or a dress," Mother Wren

Anna grimaced sympathetically. She took a bathing cloth off a hook
under the eaves, and the two women descended the stairs in silence.

In the kitchen, Fanny hovered over a kettle of water. Bunches of
dried herbs hung from the black beams, scenting the air. The old
brick fireplace took up one whole wall. Opposite was a
curtain-framed window that overlooked the back garden. Lettuce
marched in a frilled chartreuse row down the tiny plot, and the
radishes and turnips had been ready for a week now.

Mother Wren set a chipped basin on the kitchen table. Worn smooth by
many years of daily scrubbing, the table took pride of place in the
middle of the room. At night they pushed it to the wall so that the
little maid could unroll a pallet in front of the fire.

Fanny brought the kettle of water. Anna bent over the basin, and
Mother Wren poured the water on her head. It was lukewarm.

Anna soaped her hair and took a deep breath. "I'm afraid we will
have to do something about our financial situation."

"Oh, don't say there will be more economies, dear," Mother Wren
moaned. "We've already given up fresh meat except for mutton on
Tuesdays and Thursdays. And it's been ages since either of us has
had a new gown."

Anna noticed that her mother-in-law didn't mention Fanny's upkeep.
Although the girl was supposedly their maid-cum-cook, in reality she
was a charitable impulse on both their parts. Fanny's only relative,
her grandfather, had died when she was ten. At the time, there'd
been talk in the village of sending the girl to a poorhouse, but
Anna had moved to intervene, and Fanny had been with them ever
since. Mother Wren had hopes of training her to work in a large
household, but so far her progress was slow.

"You've been very good about the economies we've made," Anna said
now as she worked the thin lather into her scalp. "But the
investments Peter left us aren't doing as well as they used to. Our
income has decreased steadily since he passed away."

"It's such a shame he left us so little to live on," Mother Wren

Anna sighed. "He didn't mean to leave such a small sum. He was a
young man when the fever took him. I'm sure had he lived, he
would've built up the savings substantially."

In fact, Peter had improved their finances since his own father's
death shortly before their marriage. The older man had been a
solicitor, but several ill-advised investments had landed him deeply
in debt. After the wedding, Peter had sold the house he had grown up
in to pay off the debts and moved his new bride and widowed mother
into the much-smaller cottage. He had been working as a solicitor
when he'd become ill and died within the fortnight.

Leaving Anna to manage the little household on her own. "Rinse,

A stream of chilly water poured over her nape and head. She felt to
make sure no soap remained, then squeezed the excess water from her
hair. She wrapped a cloth around her head and glanced up. "I think I
should find a position."

"Oh, dear, surely not that." Mother Wren plopped down on a kitchen
chair. "Ladies don't work."

Anna felt her mouth twitch. "Would you prefer I remain a lady and
let us both starve?"

Mother Wren hesitated. She appeared to actually debate the question.

"Don't answer that," Anna said. "It won't come to starvation anyway.
However, we do need to find a way to bring some income into the

"Perhaps if I were to produce more lace. Or, or I could give up meat
entirely," her mother-in-law said a little wildly.

"I don't want you to have to do that. Besides, Father made sure I
had a good education."

Mother Wren brightened. "Your father was the best vicar Little
Battleford ever had, God rest his soul. He did let everyone know his
views on the education of children."

"Mmm." Anna took the cloth off her head and began combing out her
wet hair. "He made sure I learned to read and write and do figures.
I even have a little Latin and Greek. I thought I'd look tomorrow
for a position as a governess or companion."

"Old Mrs. Lester is almost blind. Surely her son-in-law would hire
you to read-" Mother Wren stopped.

Anna became aware at the same time of an acrid scent in the air.

The little maid, who had been watching the exchange between her
employers, yelped and ran to the pot of stew over the fire. Anna

Another burned supper.

FELIX HOPPLE PAUSED before the Earl of Swartingham's library door to
take stock of his appearance. His wig, with two tight sausage curls
on either side, was freshly powdered in a becoming lavender shade.
His figure-quite svelte for a man of his years-was highlighted by a
puce waistcoat edged with vining yellow leaves. And his hose had
alternating green and orange stripes, handsome without being
ostentatious. His toilet was perfection itself. There was really no
reason for him to hesitate outside the door.

He sighed. The earl had a disconcerting tendency to growl. As estate
manager of Ravenhill Abbey, Felix had heard that worrisome growl
quite a bit in the last two weeks. It'd made him feel like one of
those unfortunate native gentlemen one read about in travelogues who
lived in the shadows of large, ominous volcanoes. The kind that
might erupt at any moment. Why Lord Swartingham had chosen to take
up residence at the Abbey after years of blissful absence, Felix
couldn't fathom, but he had the sinking feeling that the earl
intended to remain for a very, very long time.

The steward ran a hand down the front of his waistcoat. He reminded
himself that although the matter he was about to bring to the earl's
attention was not pleasant, it could in no way be construed as his
own fault. Thus prepared, he nodded and tapped at the library door.

There was a pause and then a deep, sure voice rasped, "Come."

The library stood on the west side of the manor house, and the
late-afternoon sun streamed through the large windows that took up
nearly the entire outside wall. One might think this would make the
library a sunny, welcoming room, but somehow the sunlight was
swallowed by the cavernous space soon after it entered, leaving most
of the room to the domain of the shadows. The ceiling-two stories
high-was wreathed in gloom.

The earl sat behind a massive, baroque desk that would've dwarfed a
smaller man. Nearby, a fire attempted to be cheerful and failed
dismally. A gigantic, brindled dog sprawled before the hearth as if
dead. Felix winced. The dog was a mongrel mix that included a good
deal of mastiff and perhaps some wolfhound. The result was an ugly,
mean-looking canine he tried hard to avoid.

He cleared his throat. "If I could have a moment, my lord?"

Lord Swartingham glanced up from the paper in his hand. "What is it
now, Hopple? Come in, come in, man. Sit down while I finish this.
I'll give you my attention in a minute."


Excerpted from The Raven Prince
by Elizabeth Hoyt
Copyright © 2006 by Elizabeth Hoyt.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Widowed Anna Wren is having a wretched day. After an arrogant male on horseback nearly squashes her, she arrives home to learn that she is in dire financial straits.


The Earl of Swartingham is in a quandary. Having frightened off two secretaries, Edward de Raaf needs someone who can withstand his bad temper and boorish behavior.


When Anna becomes the earl's secretary, it would seem that both their problems are solved. Then she discovers he plans to visit the most notorious brothel in London for his "manly" needs. Well! Anna sees red-and decides to assuage her "womanly" desires - with the earl as her unknowing lover.

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Raven Prince (Princes Series #1) 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 166 reviews.
ldekalb2 More than 1 year ago
I liked this one best of the three Prince books. The story was good fast paced and orginial, as these go. But what I liked most about it was that the fairy tale within the book was written out separately at the beginning of the chapters, like Elizabeht Hoyt's Four Soldier's book are, instead of being enmeshed in the story. They serve as indicator of what the chapter is going to be about, but if you get anxious to finish the fairy tale you can go from chapter to chapter and read it. When it in the story that's hard to do besides having the story rushed as it was in the Serpent Prince.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! I have been reading historical romances for over 20 years now. Authors and styles come and go. I am always looking for the next great read and this one was a keeper! So many titles, covers and reviews seem good and then disappoint in person. This one stands up to the test. I especially like when an author does NOT make the hero and heroine perfect looking and having the perfect titles, homes, friends and valuables. These two had some good things but, by no means it all. They were two oddities just looking for each other but, didn't realize it until later. I liked that Anna seemed the simple, plain 30 somethng widower but, inside she was warm, smart, sexy and beautiful - but, only to one choosing to look deeper at her. In turn, Edward was scarred from disease and hurts in life and he too needed to be seen from the inside out before his warmth, charm and tenderness shown through. Loved the author choosing those routes instead of the usual perfect Earl and breathtaking Duke's daughter or something similar. The friendship that formed between the two as they worked on manuscripts was interesting. The passion and attraction that built as time went on was wonderfully drawn out. The intimacy that came by the middle of the book was hot and very sexy to imagine. Although I agree with one reviewer that I don't care for authors using the 'f' word, 'c' word or 'p' word in romance novels - this one was solid enough that I could over-look it without much difficulty. Plus, she did not use these words so often you would cringe knowing it was coming again. Would I choose other words - sure but, this book and story was good enough that it really didn't turn you off as some books do (like true erotic romance novels do). This was truely a historical romance with some seriously hot loving thrown in but, it was story appropriate if you get my meaning. If you are looking for a new and strong author who shines in the historical romance area then by all means give Elizabeth Hoyt a try and The Raven Prince. I plan on buying her newest book coming out in April 07' and will keep her on my future buying list. Hope she writes fast - I think she has people waiting for more great stories. I know I am. Happy reading!
Guest More than 1 year ago
We are not all what we seem, is one of the themes that pervades this story, as well as the delightful introductions to each chapter of the real fairy tale The Raven Prince, that make this story a delight and a book difficult to put down. Edward De Raff, the fifth Earl of Swartingham is a large, pox-marked man, and is the lone survivor of the horrible smallpox disease that took his entire family in his youth. He returns to his home estate plagued with memories of them and a past marriage that ended in the death of his wife in childbirth a wife who died unable to love him because of his scars. He plans to remarry the young, quiet, Lady Gerard, who continues to tell him (while always looking down at her hands) that the scars do not matter. But this man is also known for a temper and now has a more difficult situation because he is in need of a secretary one that will stay with him long enough to complete his manuscript. Anna Wren has lived in Little Battleford her entire life. A beautiful widow of good moral standing in the community, she has been living for the past six years with her mother-in-law and a young woman in need the two women took in. She has been hurting financially and emotionally, as when her husband passed, he not only left her to live with a financial burden, but with sad memories of a childless and unfaithful marriage. She is thinking through her situation and how she is to continue feeding her little family, when the Earl charges through town on his horse and nearly runs her over and unseats himself. As he rages out of the mud puddle he has fallen into, Anna sees this famous temper for herself, but also finds that she is intrigued by this large man. She soon learns the Earl's steward is looking for a secretary and asks for the position. Mr. Hopple is desperate and he hires Anna. When Anna arrives at the estate to begin her job it is the Earl's turn to be intrigued. He finds her beautiful and intelligent and soon finds himself overwhelmed by lust for her. He travels to London to visit a famous brothel, Aphrodite's Grotto to work off his lust and temptation for Anna. Anna is drawn to the Earl as well and becomes angry that he would lust for her and then turn to another woman. She wants to disguise and mask herself and request the Earl as her guest at Aphrodite's Grotto. At one time Anna rescued a prostitute, Pearl, from the side of the road, after she was beaten and left for dead. Anna turns to Pearl for help, as Pearl knows the owner of Aphrodite's Grotto. Edward and Anna meet for two nights of passion so intense that they are both haunted with the sensual pleasure afterward. Soon Edward finds out it was Anna he met with and once his anger subsides, he makes the decision to end the arranged marriage to Lady Gerard and marry Anna. Anna feels she is not good enough for Edward, especially because she feels she is childless, and the chase, continued lust, passion and love build to a delightful ending. The Raven Prince is truly a beautiful story with characters that are real and unforgettable. The love scenes are beautifully written. It is a story that makes you believe that true love conquers all. Elizabeth Hoyt is one of those authors that will not be able to write fast enough for her fans.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1760 the Earl de Raaf, Edward, returns home for the first time in two decades he has avoided this place he loved as a child because the deaths of his beloved family members made Ravenhill haunted. Still he knows it is time to move on.------------ Widow Anna Wren needs employment to support her mother-in-law, their ¿servant¿ and herself. She learns from Edward¿s estate manager Felix Hopple that he needs a new secretary as none stay very long out of fear of his bark. She applies and accepts the job though a female is normally considered unsuited. As she performs her duties exemplary, Anna falls in love with her employer, but he seems not to notice her except as his drudge. Instead he turns to Aphrodite¿s Grotto for his pleasure Anna vows to make him take notice that she is a woman in love even if it means meeting him at the brothel he seems to frequent.------------------ THE RAVEN PRINCE is a terrific Georgian romance starring a fascinating heroine who defies the era to bring bread on the table for her and the two females who depend on her. Edward is interesting also as his childhood tragedy still traumatizes his thinking until he falls in love with his secretary. Readers will enjoy their brothel courting.-------------- Harriet Klausner
carvanz More than 1 year ago
Audiobook: Narrator – Moira Quirk This was an excellent audiobook, the narrator bringing each character to life and giving voice to both male and females in a way that worked for me. The more sensual scenes were exquisite as she utilized a gruffer voice for the hero and I completely forgot this was a woman telling the story. This is the perfect grumpy, grouchy, rude and huge hero! I loved him! Anna is sweet and caring but strong and independent. Her past has left her with a dislike for marriage and having learned that dislike the hard way, she has no desire to experience it again. However, she would like to learn a bit more about her employer the Earl of Sartingham and disguising herself to do so will give her an insight that is quite scandalous. Edward is a proud man with a rich heritage. His main goal in life is to continue his family line. His own late wife taught him the hard truth of what to look for in a future wife and what he’s looking for was absolutely heartbreaking. He was such a brusque and grumpy man with everyone, even Anna, but as his heart gives way she finds a softer side to him. I loved the dynamic between Anna and Edward. Their give and take was entertaining as Edward came up against someone who would stand up to him. The fact that someone was a woman just added to the overall enjoyment of the story. I’ll definitely be moving on to the next one in the series.
fredalss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Writing fair to good, but fails due to lack of research re historical/location language and character behaviours. I was jerked out of time/place on many occasions. Characterisation was a mixed bag, some great, others not. Plot fell apart for me when heroine went to brothel in order to have sex with hero. Resolution was sloppy. A good editor could have saved this book.
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Anna Wren is nearly destitute, and the only solution she can think of is to find a job. Not an easy proposition in Regency England.She lucks out when Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, urgently needs a new secretary, his temper having rid him of his previous ones. The earl's steward is desperate, and hires Anna despite his misgivings.It's a sweet story--the tortured hero (he's scarred from smallpox, his entire family including wife and child have died) and the valiant heroine first fighting their attraction, then liking each other, then falling in love, culminating in a disguised Anna meeting Edward in a brothel where he'd gone to... er... work off his attraction to her.I don't have any real complaints, other than a vague feeling that the tone of the writing seemed rather more modern than I'm used to with a historical romance--there weren't any anachronisms or anything I can put my finger on, so maybe it's just my imagination or a taste issue. Mostly, the four stars is because it's a pleasant story that I enjoyed and am glad I read, but nothing extraordinary.
theshadowknows on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Considering my mixed feelings for the other two books in this series, I was less than enthusiastic in picking up The Raven Prince. I'm happy to say though that I was pleasantly surprised. The characters were interesting, and the romance compelling. A well written, fun book. The way in which Hoyt incorporated the fairy tale for this first installment of her series was, I think, much better here than in her subsequent books. Here, instead of having the characters themselves intermittently narrate installments of a fairy tale, each chapter is prefaced by excerpts from the story of the raven prince. Not only did this make for a more seamless parallel between the fairy tale and the events and characters in the novel itself, but I liked this fairy tale much more than the others found in the Leopard and Serpent Prince. While I guess the most obvious model for The Raven Prince is Psyche and Eros, my attention was really grabbed when I saw how closely the story went along with the fairy tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon (with some differences - a raven instead of a polar bear, for one.) Hoyt has also mixed in a little of Beauty and the Beast. Since East of the Sun and West of the Moon is one of my favorite fairy tales, I guess I'm a little biased, but this was my favorite aspect of the book. Edward de Raaf makes a good beast/enchanted prince, (even though I think more could have been done with him - he threw things once or twice and yelled a bit, but his shows of temper seemed random and pointless - they didn't add that much to or really seem a part of his character and just seemed to be thrown in every now and then because he was supposed to be a "beast"). Anna Wren is unusual in chasing after what she wants, (even if you have to allow for a great deal of coincidence to get her there). Though her plan to disguise herself and meet with Edward at a bordello stretches the imagination, the episode is very romantic and reflects an aspect of the fairy tale nicely. All in all, a good story.
mom2lnb on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Raven Prince was an enjoyable read which I thought had some rather unusual elements. As I read the first chapter or so of the book, I was reminded of one of my all-time favorite romances, Loretta Chase's Lord of Scoundrels. While The Raven Prince does bear some resemblance to Lord of Scoundrels, it is still very much it's own distinctive story. Much like their counterparts in Lord of Scoundrels, Edward can be rather temperamental and boorish, while Anna is very plucky and unconventional. They share a few moments of sharp, witty bantering, but I wouldn't have minded seeing them go toe-to-toe a few more times than they did. I can certainly appreciate attractive people, but the ratio of impossibly beautiful characters in romance novels to those found in the real world, is so disproportionately inflated, I can't help getting bored with them sometimes. I actually found it refreshing that Anna's very first impression of Edward was ¿ugly,¿ and Edward's first impression of Anna was ¿frumpy.¿ I think this allowed the author to send a subtle message that ¿beauty is in the eye of the beholder¿ and ¿love truly is blind,¿ because once these two started falling for one another, they were each thoroughly beautiful to the other, something to which I can really relate. I have only come across a couple of authors I can think of who have a tendency to write more mature characters, so having Edward and Anna be a little older was a very pleasant change as well. She was 31, and I initially had the impression that he was nearer 40 until it was revealed late in the story that he was 34, although I had to do the math to figure out his age.Elizabeth Hoyt has a slightly different writing style in that she doesn't seem to reveal all of her character's insecurities, vulnerabilities and motivations right away. Most authors have a tendency to let the reader in on these things up front, and then the story centers around them making peace with those things and finding healing if the pain is deep. With Edward and Anna, Ms. Hoyt leaves the reader with the sense that there are mysterious things lurking beneath the surface that can't be seen, but she takes her time, revealing them one-by-one when the situation seems ripe for it. This does give the story a more languid feel which may not work well for readers who prefer a faster pace, but I thought that it was an interesting approach. The story also has a very angsty quality to it, I think, in large part, because of Edward's intensity. I found a certain beauty to it though, an emotional depth that was somehow different from other stories I've read. Edward and Anna have both suffered emotional pain in their lives, yet both seem to be fairly comfortable in their own skin and not harboring major neuroses. Once again, I thought this was a unique blend which made the characters very complex and multi-dimensional.Edward had his moments of intensity, but I don't think that I would quite classify him as tortured. He had times of what I would characterize as personal reflection that would sometimes reach an emotional high, but he always came back down rather quickly. Edward was quite temperamental though, having scared away several male secretaries, before hiring Anna. He could occasionally be prone to throwing things in a fit of anger, but was probably equally likely to express himself with sarcasm. Some people don't want to be around him, not just because of his temper, but also because he is badly scarred from the smallpox, so he always respects anyone who doesn't mind his scars and can hold their own against his boorish behavior. It becomes readily apparent as the story progresses that Edward's bark is really worse that his bite. I really liked Edward's complexity of thinking, how he fell hard for Anna, but was conflicted both in his feelings for her, especially after he discovered her deception, and his sense of duty to his family line. Watching him try to figure things out and u
rainrunner on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a refreshing read. I really loved this one. It sure did prove that you don't have to be a "hottie" to be hot. I loved the fact that Edward was unattractive and Anna was considered plain. They really were different, but so similar in that they had both gone through past emotional upheaval, survived it, and had the capacity to love again. I smiled quite a bit during the entire course of this book. Hopple and his outrageous clothing made me laugh and the elderly butler, Davis, was a riot. Definitely recommend.
Readingfanatic1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After seeing my GR friend's reviews, I couldn't resist in reading this book. All I can say is THANK YOU! I stayed up until 4am reading this book (I started very late), and the second I woke up, I wanted to get back to the book. Love it and now I want book 2!Update- Added this book to my "favorite book not published in 2010" shelf.
reneebooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is Hoyt's debut novel and I was impressed with her style. However there were lots of events in the plot that I thought were implausible but Hoyt's writing was so smooth and superbly well written that I was able to completely overlook that. Anna Wren is financially strapped and seeks work as the secretary to Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, while he is away from home. She gets hired sight unseen and when Edward figures out who his new secretary is he is amazed. The sexual tension builds between them culminating in some very explicitly hot steamy sex. I have to admit I loved those scenes even if I didn't believe for second that they could actually happen that way. Edward was a wonderful hero, not handsome even unattractive from his small pox scars. I loved the way that Anna never sees him as ugly. This was a very sexy fast-paced read with great characterizations. (Grade: B+)
lina_em on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
edward was such a brute!!!! but the underlying passion between them was undeniable.
dkthain on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this book. The main characters Edward and Anna were both delightful. Edward is a grumpy, short tempered, rude earl - and he's adorable. Anna, a down on her luck widow manages to trick her way into a job as his secretary. They are very much drawn to each other but things manage to get in their way. It's delightful to see them spar with each other. I highly recommend this book!
Jenson_AKA_DL on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The widow Anna Wren is desperate to find a job to support her meager household. The Earl of Swartingham is in need of a secretary that won't run away when he loses his temper (which happens quite frequently). When the Earl and Anna agree to the business arrangement both are surprised to find themselves quickly enamored of each other. But each is afraid to reveal their feelings to the other as such a union is considered impossible because of social status. When Anna discovers the Earl is going to a exclusive bordello in London she concocts a plan to meet with him without revealing her identity knowing if she were to be discovered it may ruin her forever.In expanding my author base for historical romances I'm never sure if I will like a book or not. "The Raven Prince" was certainly one I don't regret reading. I enjoyed both Anna and the Earl. It was interesting how the author took pains to make the hero somewhat obnoxious, temperamental and not overly attractive and yet still managed to make him very likable at the same time. Even the secondary character of the Earl's dog was utterly charming in similar uncouth way. Another thing I found rather cute, although it will probably depend on what edition of this book you read, is that the author gave a little interview with the Earl at the end of the book which made me giggle. I thought that this romance was very enjoyable and plan to read more by this author.
rocalisa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Raven Prince by Elizabeth HoytAfter reviewing her somewhat precarious financial situation, Anna Wren comes to the conclusion that she needs a job. When she discovers that Edward de Raaf, the Earl of Swartingham, requires a new secretary, it seems like the perfect solution to her employment problem. Having already lost two secretaries because of his temper, Edward reluctantly agrees to give Anna a chance. Much to Anna's surprise, she finds she likes working for the often stubborn but unexpectedly kind Edward, and Edward soon realizes that Anna is not only an excellent secretary but also an extraordinarily intriguing woman.It's just long enough now that, given my awful memory, I don't remember a lot of the details on this one, but do have an overall impression. This was a good, solid but for me, average, read. With one significant exception, the story flowed nicely, and Anna and Edward worked well together.The love scenes were a bit more vulgar (not in a bad way, just that I can't think of a better word) than in many historical romances. I don't know if this is due to the author or the setting, as this is a Georgian-set rather than Regency-set novel. They work fine, but I did notice the difference.My main problem with this book was the whole "Anna in the brothel" aspect of it. How does a gentle and impoverished county widow end up, appropriately dressed, in London's classiest and most exclusive brothel, in the position to choose who she spends the night with? The coincidences required for this just stretched my suspension of disbelief too far. All the same, if the unliklihood of all this is ignored, the story is a decent one and I enjoyed reading it. I'm expect I'll also read the others in the series.The Raven PrincePrince Trilogy, Book 1Elizabeth Hoyt7/10
amf0001 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Delightful romance, moving, funny, sexual and sensual. A keeper. Anna Wren is an impoverished widow living iwth her mother-in-law when a series of circumstances lead her to become the new Earl's secretary. Shocking! And she's lovely, smart, funny, sexual. I liked Anna alot. Edward is interesting, sensitive about his pock marked features, devestated by the plague that took all his other family members.
BananaTricky More than 1 year ago
So, I read Ursula's review of The Serpent Prince and was intrigued, but of course I can't read the third book in a trilogy - because - so I started here, and what a lovely romance it was. Anna Wren is a childless widow living with her mother-in-law in a tiny cottage. Money is tight and she desperately needs a job. Edward de Raaf, Earl of Swartingham is a gruff man, scarred from the smallpox which killed the rest of his family, he is a keen agrarian and writer. Unfortunately his bad temper, shouting and tendency to throw things when in a rage has left him without a secretary to transcribe his scrawl for his latest book. While Edward is away in London formally proposing to Sir Richard Gerard's daughter, his steward hires Anna in desperation. A week later Edward returns home to find a plain little woman dressed in brown sitting in his secretary's office. Intrigued by her lack of fear and spiky conversation and impressed by her neat work the Earl allows her stay on. Slowly Edward and Anna develop a friendship, she shows an interest in his views on farming, she talks to him about gardening and his family. He seduces her with his swarthy looks and sexy voice, she seduces him with her intelligence, wit and erotic mouth that drew his from the first moment. Edward decides his obsession is merely because he hasn't had sex for a while, so he plans to get over his unseemly lust for a virtuous widow by going to a notorious brothel in London to relieve his urges. When Anna discovers his intentions she feels the double standards between men and women keenly. Why is it permissible for him, an unmarried man to slake his sexual urges but not for her? So she hatches a daring plan to travel to London and meet the Earl at the brothel in disguise. This was a raunchy, sexy historical romance with two fabulous characters. I loved grumpy Edward and Anna was another strong, caring, sexy woman. I can't wait to read the other books in the series!
BananaTricky More than 1 year ago
So, I read Ursula's review of The Serpent Prince and was intrigued, but of course I can't read the third book in a trilogy - because - so I started here, and what a lovely romance it was. Anna Wren is a childless widow living with her mother-in-law in a tiny cottage. Money is tight and she desperately needs a job. Edward de Raaf, Earl of Swartingham is a gruff man, scarred from the smallpox which killed the rest of his family, he is a keen agrarian and writer. Unfortunately his bad temper, shouting and tendency to throw things when in a rage has left him without a secretary to transcribe his scrawl for his latest book. While Edward is away in London formally proposing to Sir Richard Gerard's daughter, his steward hires Anna in desperation. A week later Edward returns home to find a plain little woman dressed in brown sitting in his secretary's office. Intrigued by her lack of fear and spiky conversation and impressed by her neat work the Earl allows her stay on. Slowly Edward and Anna develop a friendship, she shows an interest in his views on farming, she talks to him about gardening and his family. He seduces her with his swarthy looks and sexy voice, she seduces him with her intelligence, wit and erotic mouth that drew his from the first moment. Edward decides his obsession is merely because he hasn't had sex for a while, so he plans to get over his unseemly lust for a virtuous widow by going to a notorious brothel in London to relieve his urges. When Anna discovers his intentions she feels the double standards between men and women keenly. Why is it permissible for him, an unmarried man to slake his sexual urges but not for her? So she hatches a daring plan to travel to London and meet the Earl at the brothel in disguise. This was a raunchy, sexy historical romance with two fabulous characters. I loved grumpy Edward and Anna was another strong, caring, sexy woman. I can't wait to read the other books in the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Worth buying.
girlfromwvaKY More than 1 year ago
This is book #1 in the Prince Trilogy. It is the story of Anna and Edward. "THERE COMES A TIME IN A LADY'S LIFE WHEN SHE MUST DO THE UNTHINKABLE . . ." Anna is a widow who is always trying to make ends meet and keep everyone happy. Edward is the Earl of Swartingham. He is a bit arrogant, and has a bad temper. Anna is trying to get home when Edward nearly crushes her after being thrown from his horse. After she arrives home, she finds out she is in dire financial straits. Edward has returned home to find out he has lost his second secretary. He has to find someone who can withstand him and his sharp tongue. Anna is hired to be Edwards secretary, and it seems both their problems are fixed. He has a secretary and she has an income. As Anna spends time with Edward, she starts seeing a side of him that he hides behind his bad behavior. Edward usually goes for woman who fit a certain need. As Edward spends more time with Anna, he starts noticing how much she interests him. When Anna learns that Edward plans to visit a brothel in London, she hatches a plan to make sure he only sees her and no other woman. He has no idea at the time it is her. He has no idea that a lady such as Anna would ever do something as unthinkable as visit a brothel. I love this story. Anna learns to find what she truly wants in her life after her husband passes. She finds that she does have the strength to overcome an unloving marriage and go after the one who fills her with passion and desire.
WinterFairy More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. The main character Anna isn't the type of woman that needs a man & that's what I like about it. This is the first historical romance book I've read by Elizabeth Hoyt & after reading this book I will be reading more from her!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So well written with likable characters. And to the reviewer who couldn't get past the "ugly" main characters, even Tommy Lee Jones is considered adorable and handsome to some!
GoddessPhD1 More than 1 year ago
Fairy tales and sexuality **4.5 STARS** I read “The Raven Prince” by Elizabeth Hoyt because she gave a lecture about heroes. She mentioned there were very few ‘ugly’ heroes (true, most of them are handsome and rich…boring?) so she created Edward De Raff, the Earl of Swartingham, the only smallpox survivor in his family. Scarred on the outside lead to scars on the inside, because he doesn’t feel worthy of love and affection. Since his family died from smallpox and his wife from childbirth, he’s become practical: he plans to re-marry to produce an heir. Enter Anna Wren, a respectable widow and town local. Although, she’s steeped in social constraints, she nevertheless must find a job to support her mother-in-law and hired help. Like Edward, she feels unloved and a little low in the self-esteem department. Her past marriage left her doubting her ability to have children and she resents her past husband for being unfaithful. From the beginning of the book, Hoyt keeps us focused on Anna and I felt her struggles against societal constraints (e.g., “And she was, above all things, a respectable lady, wasn’t she?”). Little bit by little bit, Hoyt chips away at the binds around Anna’s ‘true self’; she yells at Edward, she fights back against staff and the doctor who say she shouldn’t help a prostitute, and she isn’t afraid to take control of her own sexuality. While some reviewers didn’t like Edward having sex with some anonymous woman (not knowing it was the heroine), I would argue Anna had sex with Edward with the understanding she would be an anonymous lover. She was an agent of her own pleasure and it fit with her character growth. In my opinion, Hoyt provides readers with a study of the double standard of sexuality. Bravo! This book was an excellent example of writing tight and strong female characters (e.g., Mother Wren, her mother-in-law, Fanny, the maid, Pearl & Coral, the prostitutes). Often, I thought her scenes ended too soon, but that’s my opinion. And when I think about it, Hoyt writes much tighter than I do (this is something I’m working on), so I’m also studying her works carefully. Another thing Hoyt does superbly is showing (and not telling) the reader goal, motivation, and conflict. Within a few pages, I knew what each character wanted and why they wanted it through the use of dialogue and action. Excellent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An unlikely hero leads this cast. I have always been a sucker for beauty and the beast type of storylines. Great romance about two people who feel unlovable for different reasons, yet find themselves loving each other and not letting the other know. I especially liked the brothel scenes. They were steamy, shocking and very enlightening.